Tyler Roberts back in business as Illan Meslier excels for Leeds United's under-23s
TYLER ROBERTS returned from nearly five months out with an outing for Leeds United’s under-23s who had the brilliance of goalkeeper Illan Meslier to thank for Monday’s goalless draw at Crystal Palace in the Professional Development League.
Wales international forward Roberts has not featured for Leeds since April with the 20-year-old struggling with a knee injury and having had minor surgery over the summer.
But Roberts returned to the fray for United’s under-23s as a second-half substitute at Selhurst Park as the most experienced member of a very young Whites side featuring several under-18s players with a number of players on international duty.
Leeds made a bright start with Oliver Casey and Niklas Haugland both going close but Palace’s Brandon Pierrick should have scored in the 21st minute only to completely mistime a free header.
Meslier then denied Palace’s Jason Lokilo and Gio McGregor with the lively Lokilo also narrowly wide with a fine free-kick.
Roberts was brought on for the excellent Liam McCarron at the interval and United immediately bombarded Palace with Roberts pulling the strings.
But Leeds were again left thanking Meslier two minutes before the hour as the France under-20s ‘keeper produced a fine save to keep out a penalty taken by Nya Kirby following a foul from Charlie Cresswell.
Leeds continued on the front foot with Roberts leading several Whites attacks and twice going close to scoring.
But Palace finished the game in the ascendancy with Meslier producing two more smart saves to deny Kirby before saving his best until last with one minute to go.
A rising drive from Kirby flew towards the top right corner but Meslier produced a quite brilliant one-handed save at full stretch to tip the ball wide.
Crystal Palace: Henderson, D Boateng, Trialist, Woods, Tavares, Riedewald, Kirby, Pierrick, Flanagan, McGregor, Lokilo. Subs: Henry, Mensah, M Boateng, Steele, Street.
Leeds: Meslier, Burlace, Davis, Casey, Strujik, Cresswell, McKinstry (Stanley 89), Jenkins, Haugland, Hudson (Kumwenda 80), McCarron (Roberts 45). Subs not used: Miazek, Chikukwa.