Youthful Leeds United Under-23s edged out by Wigan Athletic in Premier League Cup opener

A young Leeds United Under-23s outfit were edged out 2-1 by Wigan Athletic in the club's Premier League Cup opener on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 10:46 pm
Leeds United Under-23s boss Mark Jackson. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

The Whites selected a youthful side for the clash at the LNER stadium in York - with just three Under-23 squad regulars in Sean McGurk, Dani Van den Huevel and Charlie Allen involved.

United have been drawn in Group E of this year's competition alongside the Latics, Sunderland and Mansfield Town.

Leeds got off to a dream start with captain Kris Moore converting from close-range after Jermiah Mullen hooked a corner back into the six-yard box.

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Wigan - who fielded a strong development side - quickly turned the game on its head and were leading on the 20-minute mark.

A cross to the back post found Divin Baningime before Harry McHugh broke loose to fire underneath Van den Huevel to put the visitors in front.

United pressed and forced a number of chances but it was Wigan who went closest in the second period.

Leeds saw a Harry Sutcliffe header fly over the bar, though McHugh then struck the frame of the goal at the opposite end.

Moore cleared off the line before the Wigan front man fluffed another great chance to give his side a two-goal cushion from underneath the posts.

United threw caution to the wind with a number of substitutes - one of which almost made an immediate impact, as Keenan Carole saw his low shot fall the wrong side of the post.

Wigan, though, held on for all three points to hand Leeds a battling defeat in the opening game of Premier League Cup action.

"We knew it was going to be a tough challenge," head coach Mark Jackson told the YEP post-match.

"We had it in our minds at the start of the year that this could potentially be a competition we could utilise to challenge the Under-18s players. I think it proved tonight we have players who are young and hungry to play the Leeds United way."

Leeds United: Van Den Heuvel, Sutcliffe, Ferguson, Spencer (Thomas 65), Moore, Mullen, Hughes (Carole 60), Allen, Andreucci (Littlewood 79), Gray, McGurk. Subs: Christy, Bradbury, Littlewood, Thomas.

Wigan Athletic: Tickle, Lloyd, Carragher, Long, Robinson, Smith, Adeeko, Pinnington (Lomax 90), McHugh, Baningime (Sze 69), Costello. Subs: Mooney, Hughes, Welsh.

Referee: Daniel Middleton