Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leeds 1

United manager Simon Grayson included another new trialist in his squad for the trip to Sheffield Wednesday, Hungarian international Boldiszar Bodor being named among the substitutes.

Alex Mendy, who impressed as an un-named trialist at Rochdale in midweek, was again included in the starting line-up while former Aston Villa youngster Isaiah Osbourne was also in the squad once again.
The game marked a first outing for United's new black pin-striped away kit, and a huge travelling support was present to see the players emerge with Leeds fans filling the majority of the upper tier of the Leppings Lane end at Hillsborough.
But that support was almost stunnined inside three minutes when the woodwork came to United's rescue after a long throw-in was hooked into the danger zone and Chris Sedgwick planted a header against the bar.
United responded almost immediately, Mendy releasing Max Gradel, whose strike was deflected over the top for a corner.
It was the home side who were in front on eight minutes, though, when former White David Prutton cut inside from the left before delivering a superb strike which left Paul Rachubka with no chance at all.

There was more disappointing news for Leeds moments later when Ben Parker was on the wrong end of a hefty challenge, and was forced into limping out of the action. Parker's departure paved the way for trialist Bodor to make his entrance.
United had looked a little off the pace, but there were still some neat passages of play, Mendy and Adam Clayton both linking up well in one attack with some intelligent movement.
But Prutton, whose Leeds career ended under Grayson, was playing like a man with a point to prove and he won a free-kick on the edge of the box when he threatened again with the ball at his feet. Jermaine Johnson's strike was deflected for a corner and the same man had a shot blocked as the Owls pressed again from the set-piece.
United were next to go close, on the half-hour, when Ramon Nunez tried his luck from distance with a dipping shot which beat Nicky Weaver, but went just over the top.

At the other end, a Jermaine Johnson header was deflected for a corner and Padraig Amond went close as the hosts tested Leeds. in reply, Mendy fired into the sidenetting and Gradel whipped in a teasing cross which was scramled away for a corner.
Billy Paynter also sent a shot wide of the mark after Mendy pulled the ball back from the right wing and in the moments leading up half-time, Weaver hammered a clearance straight at Michael Brown, but the ball bounced to safety.
Grayson only made two changes at the interval this time with Ross McCormack replacing Paynter and Lloyd Sam coming on form Nunez.
McCormack's first touch was to send a shot skidding wide of the mark, but as he let fly he slipped to the turf and immediately called for assistance from physio Harvey Sharman. Thankfully, the Scot was swiftly back on his feet.
And United were almost level on 51 minutes when Paul Connolly picked out Gradel, who in turn released Sam, whose low angled strike rattled against the base of the post after flying past Weaver in the Owls goal. Moments later, McCormack curled a free-kick over the bar.

Tempers flared shortly before the hour when players from both sides became involved in a melee that ended with Gradel and Jermaine Johnson receiving a lengthy talking-to from the referee. United were awarded the free-kick, and Clayton could consider himself unfortunate to see a powerful shot blocked.
But Wednesday responded immediately and Jermaine Johnson made an advancing run without being challenged before tucking his shot just wide of the upright.
There was an undercurrent to the game, though, and Brown and Jose Semedo were next to have an altercation and the referee was again handing out lectures with United captain Paddy Kisnorbo in the throng.
As the game headed towards it final quarter, Gradel forced a good block from Weaver as he cut in from the left and Jermaine Johnson was also called upon to head clear when Mendy put the ball back into the box. Julian Bennett also made a timely intervention when the ball was swung in again.
But it was the hosts who went close again in the 75th minute when Jermaine Johnson fired across the outside of Rachubka with an effort that flew just wide of the mark. Johnson also sent another effort over the top after capitalising on a lost ball in midfield.
With eight minutes left on the clock, United had a chance to get back in the game. Gradel was forced to the ground while looking to get on to the end of a high, looping cross, and the referee pointed straight to the spot. The Ivorian dusted himself down, and promptly smashed home the resultant penalty with aplomb.
The strike ensured that honours ended even from the game, making it four unbeaten for Leeds in pre-season, and United boss Simon Grayson left with food for thought regarding his trialists as he finalised his squad in readiness for Tuesday's trip to Norway to face Sandefjord.

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