Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Falkirk 0 Leeds 2

United manager Simon Grayson used the majority of his squad for the opening game of the summer, Davide Somma, Andy O'Brien, Luciano Becchio, and Fede Bessone missing through injury.The boss planned to play almost two seperate XIs, and his first half side included summer signings Michael Brown and Paul Rachubka, along with Paddy Kisnorbo and the returning Ben Parker.The opening exchanges saw United play some decent football against the Scottish first division outfit and there were useful touches by the likes of Ramon Nunez and Lloyd Sam.In typical pre-season fashion, there were no real chances early doors although United goalkeeper Paul Rachubka did get down well to stop a Kallum Higginbotham effort inside the opening 15 minutes.United did come close on 25 minutes when Robert Snodgrass curled a free-kick into the side-netting and moments later Billy Paynter shot just wide after great work by Nunez.The lively Sam also went close when he saw his shot turned for a corner, but Leeds did go ahead on 36 minutes when a Nunez cross was turned in by Falkirk defender Thomas Scobbie.All in all it was a useful 45 minutes against a side who looked like quite lively, and as predicted Grayson made a number of changes at half-time, although not the predicted wholesale re-shuffle.There were six changes with Alex Bruce, Leigh Bromby, Aidy White, Jonny Howson, Max Gradel, and Ross McCormack were all introduced.United started the second half with some crisp passing, and it was 2-0 on 53 minutes when Aidy White fed Lloyd Sam who crossed for Snodgrass to head home from close range.Snodgrass almost repaid that favour moments later when his cross from deep found Sam, but the Falkirk keeper was equal to the header.Grayson made another raft of changes on 63 minutes and almost immediately United were denied a third goal by a goal-line clearance after McCormack swung the ball into the middle.The changes prompted a mass re-shuffle that saw Zac Thompson and Nathan Turner in the middle of the park, Lewis Turner at right-back, White moved to the right side of the midfield, and Tom Lees returned to the fray at left-back.The final 20 minutes or so saw the fluency disappear slowly with both sides have made so many changes, but Leeds still had some decent possession at times and showed good movement.With around six minutes left on the clock, Gradel was withdrawn after taking a knock and United headed into the final moments with just 10 men on the field.In the final minute, Falkirk did have a couple of opportunites when Higginbotham came within inches with a strike from distance before Scobbie headed into the arms of Cairns.
And that proved to be the final action as United picked up a 2-0 win to kick-off pre-season.

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