First team

Hearts 0-1 Leeds United

30 July 2023

Hearts’ pre-season campaign came to an end at Tynecastle on Sunday afternoon as Leeds United ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a first half strike from Luke Ayling.


There were two debuts in the Hearts ranks as Calem Nieuwenhof and Frankie Kent both started for the men in maroon.


It was the visitors who started the better of the two teams without seriously testing Zander Clark in the Hearts goal.


The Whites were looking to get the ball wide at any opportunity and Luis Sinisterra was giving Nathaniel Atkinson plenty to think about in the early exchanges.


It was the Colombian that had the first shot on goal after ten minutes. Some nice build-up play from Leeds saw the ball worked through to Sinisterra but his left-foot shot was beaten away by Clark.


It was the visitors who continued to dominate possession as they racked up the corner count, but the men in maroon dealt with everything the Yorkshire side threw at them in the opening half hour.


The visitors opened the scoring seven minutes before the interval. An overlap down the Leeds right saw Stephen Kingsley exposed and Sinisterra laid the ball off to Luke Ayling, to finish low past Clark.


The Hearts stopper was again called into action moments later when Patrick Bamford tried to double the Whites lead, but after taking the ball round Clark, his effort was tipped over.


Half-time: Hearts 0-1 Leeds United


It was a lively start to the second period, as the game threatened to open up. It was the visitors who were first to go close as Sinisterra continued to cause problems, but Kent was on hand to block a vicious drive from inside the box.


Dan James thought he had doubled the visitors’ lead moments later, but the goal was ruled out for offside.


Five minutes after the restart, Hearts had their best chance of the afternoon. A quick break saw Oda find space down the right, but his effort was beaten away by Ivan Meslier, before Jorge Grant’s effort was deflected behind for a corner.


Leeds substitute, Wilfried Gnonto was next to go close as he headed wide from fellow sub, Ivan Poveda’s cross, meanwhile up the other end, a well-worked Hearts corner saw Shankland volley over at the back post.


The changes began to flow in the closing stages as both sides continued to get minutes in the legs of squad members ahead of the start of both respective leagues next weekend.


The men in maroon continued to work away and they came close when Kent headed wide from a Cochrane free kick, but it was the Whites who held on for the win.


Hearts: Clark, Atkinson (Sibbick, 69), Kingsley, Kent, Rowles, Haring (Halliday, 80), Oda (Cochrane, 60), Nieuwenhof (Smith, 74), Shankland ©, Forrest (Wilson, 84), Grant (Devlin, 60)


Subs: McGovern, Stone, Sibbick, Devlin, Neilson, Halliday, Cochrane, Smith, Denholm, Wilson


Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling (Shackleton, 63) Hjelde (Byram, 55), Strujik, Cooper, Ampadu, Gray, Summerville (Poveda, 55), Sinisterra , James (Gnonto, 63), Rutter (Bamford, 25, Joseph, 80)


Subs: Klaesson, Darlow, Cresswell, Byram, Shackleton, Gyabi, Poveda, Bamford, Gelhardt, Joseph, Gnonto