BY SAM SMITH
A stunning Kian Flanagan goal earned Crystal Palace U23s a 2-2 draw against Leeds United at Selhurst Park.
Luke Dreher’s first goal since his latest return from injury cancelled out an early goal, before Flanagan fired in late on after the Whites had regained the lead.
Leeds led on five minutes when Ryan Edmondson powered past Lucas Perri after Jack Clarke’s cross had been headed down to the big striker.
Jordan Ayew should have equalised moments later when he met Brandon Pierrick’s cross but somehow shot straight at Kamil Miazek from in front of goal. Sam Woods also headed wide as the young Eagles responded well to going behind early.
A watching Roy Hodgson would have been worried when Woods hobbled off after 20 minutes with a suspected ankle injury. The 20-year-old defender has been the first team’s third-choice centre-back in recent weeks with James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho both ruled out for the remainder of the season.
A fantastic challenge from Ryan Inniss denied Clarke a second Leeds goal on the stroke of half-time. The Whites youngster had been linked with a move to Selhurst in January after an impressive start to the campaign in Marcelo Bielsa’s senior side at Elland Road.
Richard Shaw’s team required only a few minutes to level the score in the second half. Levi Lumeka tricked his way down the left before pulling the ball back for Dreher to tap home from close range.
Jairo Riedewald and Ayew messed up an excellent chance when the Dutchman sprinted through on goal and teed up the latter, who somehow fired well wide of goal.
And Leeds took advantage, breaking after Palace lost possession on the halfway line. Mateusz Bogusz sprinted beyond Inniss, evading the defender’s tackle, and slotted past Perri.
But Palace would have the final say. Flanagan had only been on the pitch for a few minutes when he strode forward with the ball down the left-hand channel, and struck a wonderful drive into the bottom corner via the post.