Pre-season begins with a 1-1 draw...
HARROGATE 1 (Nyoni 32), UNITED 1 (Morison 49) (7.30pm)
Harrogate team: Crook, Ellis, McGurk, Pell, Colbeck, Nyoni, Thirlwell, Turner, Daniels, Clayton, Thewlis. Subs. Bloomer, Coates, Cadman, Worral, Bower, Emmett, Speight, Hunter, Johnson.
United team (first half): Silvestri, Byram, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper, Phillips, Mowatt, Ajose, Antenucci, Erwin, Wood.
United team (second half): Silvestri (Horton 74), Berardi, Bamba, Killock, Taylor, Sloth, Bianchi, Cook, Doukara, Morison, Sharp.
United subs: Horton, Walters, Drury, Coyle.
United began their pre-season schedule with a visit to local outfit Harrogate Town, and Uwe Rosler, taking charge for the first time, named different sides for each half on a glorious summer’s evening at a near-capacity CNG Stadium.
The first half saw summer signings Chris Wood and Lee Erwin both handed their first United starts in attack, while Nicky Ajose also returned for his first game in Leeds colours since last August having spent the second half of 2014/15 on loan at Crewe Alexandra. Trialist Adam Drury, formerly of Manchester City, was named among the substitutes.
The hosts gave Rosler’s men two early warnings that they weren’t just there to make up the numbers, with Marco Silvestri forced into fine saves to deny Cecil Nyoni from close-range and then Joe Colbeck from a goal-bound free-kick.
Leeds soon started to assert their authority, though, as Erwin saw his penalty appeal waved away following a mazy run, before Liam Cooper’s downwards header was held by Peter Crook and Wood drilled an effort into the side-netting after a powerful burst forward.
But it was Silvestri who was the busier of the two goalkeepers during the opening exchanges and he pulled Leeds out of danger again with a low block at his near post after Jordan Thewlis had managed to sneak beyond the defence. The Italian then pushed away a header from the resulting corner in an end-to-end start to proceedings.
Mirco Antenucci forced Crook into a smart, low stop after turning into space on the edge of the area, while Wood threatened again but could only drag his effort wide after being found by Erwin inside the box.
But it was the hosts who managed to break the deadlock on 32 minutes after a deflected free-kick from the right fell kindly into the path of Cecil Nyoni to tap home the simplest of finishes.
Antenucci then threatened twice after working his way into space, but Crook was there to hold his attempts on both occasions in what was becoming an increasingly frustrating first half for the visitors.
Only Silvestri kept his place as the teams returned for the second half, with United now lining up in a 4-3-3 formation as they looked to get back on level terms.
And Leeds did just that within four minutes of the restart, Steve Morison meeting Casper Sloth's inch-perfect cross from the right with a flying header beyond the goalkeeper from close-range.
Leeds were starting to get a hold on the game and could have gone ahead on the hour-mark, but a loose ball inside the area which cannoned off the unassuming Ross Killock from three yards out somehow bounced behind for a goalkick.
Billy Sharp was then denied by an acrobatic, one-handed stop from the hosts’ goalkeeper after connecting sweetly with a half-volley from inside the area, while Gaetano Berardi dragged a left-footed effort wide after striding forward down the right.
Both sides exchanged half-chances in the closing stages, but there proved to be no further goals as United's pre-season opener ended all square.