'We didn't dominate enough' - Leeds United's Under-23s earn hard-fought West Ham point at Thorp Arch

Leeds United's Under-23s earned a hard-fought Premier League 2 point in a 2-2 draw with West Ham on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, 11th September 2021, 3:50 pm
Updated Saturday, 11th September 2021, 3:54 pm
Leeds United Under-23s boss Mark Jackson. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

The Whites welcomed the Hammers to Thorp Arch as Mark Jackson's men returned to action following the September international break.

A host of development regulars were welcomed back into the fold and Leeds handed a debut to summer signing Leo Hjelde, who began on the left side of defence.

United had to weather an early West Ham storm at the club's training ground in what was a hotly-contested meeting that saw six bookings evenly split.

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Goalkeeper Kristoffer Klaesson was forced into a strong save before referee Steve Copeland waved away a penalty claim as Charlie Cresswell tangled with Jamal Baptise inside the box.

Leeds, though, settled into the game as the opening period moved on and took a deserved lead through 17-year-old striker Max Dean.

Lewis Bate found Stuart McKinstry on the left hand side and the Scot saw his cross deflected to Dean who produced a well-timed diving header from inside the six-yard box.

The hosts led at the interval but were left trailing just nine minutes into the second half following a hectic restart.

West Ham levelled through thanks to a stunning free-kick from Harrison Ashby before Baptise lost his man at a corner to power a header home and put the visitors in front.

Jackson's side were forced to dust themselves down and start again, which they did to good effect.

Baptise was involved again 20 minutes from time, seeing his lunge on Joe Gelhardt inside the box punished as set-piece specialist Sam Greenwood stepped up to make no mistake and restore parity.

It was Leeds who looked the better in the closing stages and Dean almost put his side in front after a brilliant run from Hjelde - who had earlier produced a stunning last-ditch tackle to deny Keenan Appaih-Forson - but saw his effort fall the wrong side of the post.

Nohan Kenneh then struck the bar in the first minute of added time from a corner and it was as close as either side would come to finding a winner with the points shared.

"We didn't dominate enough periods of the game," Jackson told the YEP post-match.

"It was a proper game of football. Physical, strong and it had quality in it as well. That's what these players need to have week in and week out. I don't think as a team we will be happy about certain periods.

"The positive for us is that we got back into the game after going down and we finished the game really strong. We didn't want the final whistle to come and I think they did. But it's another good point for us."

Leeds United: Klaesson, Drameh, Hjelde, Bate, Cresswell (McCarron 45), Kenneh, Dean, McKinstry, Gelhardt, Greenwood, Miller (Summerville 60). Subs not used: Van den Heuvel, Allen, Summerville, Moore.

West Ham: Hegyi, Ashby, Longelo, Baptise, Laing, Alese, Cheshers, Ekwah, Swyer (Dju 81), Appaih-Forson, Oko-Flex. Subs not used: Rosa, Kinnear, Diallo.

Referee: Steve Copeland