Gelhardt brace helps Whites to victory.
Premier League 2
Leeds United 4 (Drameh 8, Gelhardt pen 45, 56, Dean 83)
Crystal Palace 1 (Flanagan 50)
Leeds: Caprile, Drameh, Huggins, Casey (Davis 45), Cresswell, Kenneh, Dean (Galloway 90), Jenkins, McMillan (McCarron 63), Gelhardt, McKinstry. Subs not used: Van Den Heuvel, Gibbon.
Booked: McKinstry Jenkins (Leeds)
Venue: Thorp Arch
Mark Jackson’s Leeds United side comfortably secured three points over Crystal Palace, with a 4-1 victory, sending Leeds up to second in the PL2 table.
It took just eight minutes for the first goal of the match to arrive. Cody Drameh was causing problems for the Palace left-back from the first whistle and it came as no surprise when he was heavily involved in the first goal. The Leeds number two crossed into the box and his deflected delivery found its way into the back of the Palace net.
The visitors looked to hit back immediately, with Elia Caprile making a solid save to deny Reece Hannam an equaliser.
As the half went on, the combination play between Joe Gelhardt, Max Dean and Drameh down the wing was creating further issues for the visiting defence, with Stuart McKinstry and Niall Huggins doing just as much damage down the opposite flank.
After another dangerous Drameh cross clipped the top of the cross bar, just moments later Dean would refuse to give up on a loose ball and won the Whites a corner. McKinstry floated it in and won a penalty via a handball from Palace’s Scott Banks. Gelhardt would make no mistake from the spot right on the stroke of half-time, giving his Leeds side a two-goal advantage at the break.
Half time: Leeds United 2-0 Crystal Palace
Jackson would introduce Leif Davis during the interval. The full-back came on to replace Olly Casey, in a change that would see a slightly different approach for the following 45 minutes.
Palace - who looked to come out and get back into the match instantly - would reduce the deficit within five minutes of the restart. The first half substitute, Flanagan picked up the ball from all of 30 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top corner. Caprile was at full stretch diving to his left, but couldn’t do anything to stop the ball cannoning in the off the post.
That goal would spur Leeds into getting back on the front foot. The ever-lively Huggins went close, shooting narrowly wide of the post, before moments later the lead was extended.
Gelhardt showed class once again by picking the ball up roughly 25 yards from goal. He instantly looked to show his close control and did just that by weaving round four Palace defenders, then firing into the bottom corner. A stunning solo effort to finish a flowing team move, making the score 3-1.
That goal had dented Palace hopes of getting back into the game. The visitors picked up a number of yellow cards in what turned into a bit of scrappy period of play. A 20 minute or so spell of both teams looking to attack didn’t result in any major chances, until the Whites did extend their lead even further with just under 10 minutes to play
Davis had the ball out wide and crossed into the box. The delivery fell kindly to an ever-alert Dean, only to see his left-footed strike come back off the crossbar. However, just as alert to the rebound as he was to the first chance, there was no mistake from the second attempt as he coolly headed home to make it 4-1.
The final whistle sounded and confirmed a comfortable three points for Leeds, following an impressive display at Thorp Arch.
Full time: Leeds United 4-1 Crystal Palace