Leeds United 2 Shrewsbury Town 1: Trial and errors reinforce Daniel Farke's best options

In a season where games are being stretched out more than ever, Leeds United must be wishing theirs started at half-time.

For the second game running, the changes Daniel Farke made at the interval markedly improved his team, this time enough to turn a deficit into a 2-1 victory.

As against Cardiff City on Sunday, the Whites lost the first half of their League Cup first-round tie against Shrewsbury Town. But whereas against the Bluebirds they were only able to claw back a point, they went on to beat the League One visitors.

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Games at the start of this cup competition tend to have an experimental feel and although injuries and insufficient transfer business meant Farke only felt able to make six personnel changes, a lot of Sunday's lessons were reinforced by what went wrong in the opening half.

TURNAROUND: Pascal Struijk puts Leeds United in front for the first time this fledgling seasonTURNAROUND: Pascal Struijk puts Leeds United in front for the first time this fledgling season
TURNAROUND: Pascal Struijk puts Leeds United in front for the first time this fledgling season

Sam Byram is a better left-back than Leo Hjelde, who deflected the opening goal in when he ought to have been close enough to smother it, or rather cut it out at source, and 45 minutes away from the positions they occupied at the weekend underscored just what former and current wunderkinder Ethan Ampadu and Archie Gray bring as a midfield combination.

Meanwhile, Ian Poveda produced a performance demanding consideration at St Andrew's on Saturday.

But until the reshuffle there was a sloppiness about Leeds which took its time to be punished but they simply refused to get the message.

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When debutant Karl Darlow finally kicked long in the 33rd minute, it met with an ironic cheer from a Kop sick of seeing their team dice with death faffing around at the back and eventually beaten by Tyler Perry.

EQUALISER: Joe Gelhardt levels for Leeds UnitedEQUALISER: Joe Gelhardt levels for Leeds United
EQUALISER: Joe Gelhardt levels for Leeds United

Quite a few times the build-up broke down because of a misplaced pass or poor touch but with five at the back, the visitors seemed too hard-wired for defence to take advantage. Eventually they realised what was on offer and took it.

In the 28th minute Tom Bayliss picked out Tyler Perry with space to dribble into. When he got within range, his shot hit Hjelde and bounced in off the post.

It was the third shot on target Leeds had conceded in the opening week of the season and the third goal, all from running at the full-backs or, in the case of Cardiff's opener, where they ought to be.

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With Ampadu dropping into centre-back and Gray pushing into the hole, Jamie Shackleton, a midfielder who can play right-back, was a more natural choice to drop in when Luke Ayling bombed on, but unsurprisingly could not match the passing of the special player he filled in for.

Darko Gyabi looked a lot less hungry for the ball than the excellent Ampadu-Gray partnership had. It was restored by the half-time changes, with both looking positively ravenous, and Hjelde was replaced by Byram for the second game running.

Captain for the night Ayling's place might be secure for a little longer with reports a move for former Farker Max Aarons had fallen through at the 11th-and-three-quarters-hour. With Liam Cooper injured, centre-back Joe Rodon is expected to join on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.

Shrewsbury's confidence grew in direct relation to the home fans' frustration once they led, Darlow saving a Morgan Feeney effort from a corner on the line, then dropping onto a Joe Anderson long-ranger.

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Leeds created chances, but not enough for their 71 per cent first-half possession, with Shrewsbury challenging them to break down a solid wall. When they did it was usually by shifting the ball from side to side in front of it until a crack appeared.

Dan James was unable to get over a header from Ayling's chipped ball, and missed the target after cutting inside, Hjelde, Ayling and Joe Gelhardt also dragged wide.

At least Poveda and James – after that overdue hoof – forced saves.

The impressive 35,129 crowd helped Farke's changes by injecting intensity and the difference was immediately obvious.

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Having shot wide in the first minute, Gelhardt saw Marko Marosi’s save from Poveda bounce in off him in the 52nd minute.

Substitute Pascal Struijk stabbing in at a corner seven minutes later did not burst the dam but nor were leaks a worry, Leeds able to control the game with some ole football.

A Gelhardt backheel teeing up Poveda to shoot against the post holding up the back of the net was gorgeous, former Leeds player Noah Kenneh's long-range effort for Shrewsbury optimistic.

Poveda got the ovation he deserved when substituted in the 87th minute as being taken off went back to being the compliment it often is in these ties.

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More signings – and departures – will hopefully muddy the waters but the picture is becoming clearer. Now Farke needs to get his players performing at their best from the start.

Leeds United: Darlow; Ayling, Cresswell, Ampadu, Hjelde (Struijk 46); Shackleton, Gyabi (Byram 46); Poveda (Sinisterra 87), Gray, James (Drameh 90); Gelhardt (Bate 90). Unused substitutes: Meslier, Klaesson, Perkins, Moore.

Shrewsbury Town: Marosi; Winchester (Watts 71), Feeney (Sobowale 71), Flanagan, Anderson, Benning; Perry, Kenneh; Bowman (Udoh 59), Hernes (Shipley 55), Bayliss (Sraha 71). Unused substitutes: Burgoyne, Dunkley.

Referee: S Stockbridge (Tyne and Wear).