Tranmere Rovers were on the wrong end of an eight goal thriller at Prenton Park in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night as Leeds United U21s claimed a 5-3 victory.
Rovers opened the scoring on the 12th minute through Paul Lewis. The midfielder turned smartly on the right wing before curling a cross which actually crept in at the far post after coming off the inside of the post to give Tranmere an early lead.
Just seven minutes later and Micky Mellon’s side doubled their advantage. A lovely sweeping move resulted in Rhys Hughes finding space on the right, he cut inside and bent a left footed shot into the far corner giving the keeper no chance from 20 yards.
The visitors fought back almost immediately. A fortunate ricochet fell into the path of Drameh inside the box who forced a reaction save from Hewelt but Sonny Perkins was on hand to cooly place the rebound into the top corner.
Moments later and Leeds were on level terms. Gelhardt, with Premier League experience to his name, drove forward, twisting and turning, before rifling a shot into the top right corner beyond Hewelt who stood no chance.
The quick fire turnaround was complete for the away side when Gelhardt again broke the offside trap and rounded Hewelt to slot into an empty net during a crazy five minute period.
On the verge of half time, Tranmere drew level. Rhys Hughes’ free kick from the left was met by Nevitt which the Leeds stopper reacted to but there was Neill Byrne to prod home from close range.
It was a slower start to the second half but Leeds edged in front once again on the 56th minute. Sam Greenwood, another player with first team experience, beat his man in the box before cutting back to Joseph who couldn’t miss inside the six yard box.
On the 65th minute, Leeds increased their advantage. Cody Drameh was allowed the freedom of the right hand side of the pitch before beating his man and poking the ball past Hewelt and in off the post.
Sam Greenwood was sent off for Leeds with 20 minutes to go for a rash challenge on Paul Lewis but ultimately this wouldn’t make a difference as Leeds managed the game well with Rovers not able to break them down.
Leeds would stand strong and take all three points in Northern Group B of the Papa John’s Trophy
Tranmere team: Hewelt, O’Connor, Byrne, Jameson, Merrie, McAlear, Nolan, Hughes, Lewis (Taylor 78’), Burton (Lomax 60’), Nevitt