PJT Report: Tranmere Rovers 3-5 Leeds United U21

Whites claim three points in eight-goal thriller.

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Papa John’s Trophy

Tranmere Rovers 3 (Lewis 12’, Hughes 19’, Byrne 45’)

Leeds United 5 (Perkins 26’, Gelhardt 27’, 30’, Joseph 56’, Drameh 64’)

Tranmere: Hewelt (GK), O’Connor (C), Merrie, McAlear, Nolan, Rhys Hughes, Jameson, Byrne, Nevitt, Lewis (Taylor 78’), Burton (Lomax 61’). Subs not used: Murphy (GK), Bristow, Hemmings, Hockenhull, Simeu.

Leeds: Klaesson (GK), Perkins (McCalmont 72’), Gyabi, Gnonto (Allen 90’), Gelhardt, Drameh (Snowdon 90’), Greenwood, Joseph (C) (Miller 79’), Moore, Spencer (Debayo 79’), Sutcliffe. Subs not used: Christy (GK), McGurk.

Venue: Prenton Park

Attendance: 816 (80 away)

Referee: Martin Woods

Booked: Lewis, Jameson, Nevitt, Nolan (Tranmere) Greenwood, Gyabi, Gnonto (Leeds)

Sent-off: Greenwood (Leeds)

Leeds United’s Under-21s began their Papa John’s Trophy campaign away at Sky Bet League Two side, Tranmere Rovers, under the midweek lights at Prenton Park and claimed an impressive three points from a thoroughly entertaining game.

Playing in Northern Group B of the competition, Tranmere had already faced off against Bolton Wanderers - a match that ended in a 2-2 draw before Rovers won on penalties - whilst Michael Skubala’s side had yet to play due to the recent postponement against Crewe Alexandra.

Despite seeing plenty of the ball in the opening moments of the match, the Whites would go two goals behind early on. A freak opener for the hosts saw Paul Lewis cross from the right-hand-side, which went over everyone and into the back of the net off the post.

Just a few minutes later and with just their second attack inside the opening 20 minutes of the game, the hosts impressively doubled their lead. This time it was a clear effort on goal, as Rhys Hughes curled in left-footed from just outside the box.

However, as quickly as they had gone behind, a four minute blitz was soon to not only bring Skubala’s side back on terms, but put them ahead in the match.

Sonny Perkins started the comeback and in doing so kept up his 100 per cent goalscoring record this season, by volleying home right-footed after Mateo Joseph’s initial effort had been parried.

Within a minute of the restart, Darko Gyabi won the ball back and played the ball to Joe Gelhardt in the middle of the pitch. He took a couple of touches, before unleashing a rocket into the top corner from 25-yards or so out, to level the scores!

Leeds weren’t satisfied with the two goals, and quickly went after another. Gyabi won the ball back again and this time played Perkins, who in turn slipped Gelhardt through on goal with a clever pass. Joffy rounded Mateusz Hewelt in the Tranmere goal before sliding home to put the Whites ahead!

Despite a quieter 15 minutes or so before the interval, Tranmere would again the find the net before the break and send the teams in level. A free-kick from the wing into the box initially saw Kristoffer Klaesson make a good save, but Neill Byrne was there to fire home the rebound at close range.

HALF TIME: Tranmere Rovers 3-3 Leeds United U21

Neither team made a change for the second half, as a thoroughly entertaining match got back underway - however there was to be another early change to the scoreline.

Great work from Willy Gnonto to win a free-kick and then take it quickly to Greenwood, allowed him to dazzle his way into the box before pulling the ball back to Mateo Joseph, who controlled then fired into the back of the net to get United’s fourth of the night.

Both teams then exchanged attacks as the chances kept coming, but it was Skubala’s side who were largely in control, meaning the fifth goal of the night wasn’t far away.

A brilliantly crafted team move saw Perkins flick the ball centrally to Gyabi, allowing the midfielder to claim yet another assist as he played in Cody Drameh, who controlled well before finishing into the bottom corner.

With 20 minutes remaining, it would now be the numbers of players that changed. Greenwood committed a foul in the middle of the pitch and was dismissed, reducing the Whites to 10 players.

Skubala made changes to ensure that his side remained in control, bringing on Alfie McCalmont, James Debayo and Amari Miller from his bench, for the final 15 minutes or so of the match.

Until the 90th minute, the match then became very stop-start with multiple yellow cards issued and more changes. Charlie Allen and Joe Snowdon were the latest to enter the pitch for the Whites, in place of Gnonto and Drameh.

Seven minutes of added time was shown by the fourth official meaning the 10-player visitors still had to be alert to see the game out, which they did brilliantly to claim the three points from this Papa John’s Trophy Northern Group B fixture.

FULL TIME: Tranmere Rovers 3-5 Leeds United

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