Harrison Male’s red card gave 18-year-old goalkeeper Joshua Rae his debut for Leeds United’s Under-23 side in the second string’s biggest game of the season – and Leeds fans have heaped praise on the youngster for his display.
Male was caught in possession inside his own six-yard box. Before Jayden Harris could poke the ball into the net, Male brought him down. Leeds were reduced to 10 men and Fulham were given a penalty.
Rae came on in the 49th minute, with Ryan Edmondson going off. He was tasked with immediately saving a penalty, and preserving Leeds’ 1-0 lead in the Under-23 Premier League Cup last 16 clash.
He failed to do so. Fulham equalised and quickly scored again, but Izzy Brown found the net for 10-man Leeds inside the last 15 minutes. The match went to extra-time, and the penalties.
65' A busy 20 minutes at Nethermoor. Harrison Male is sent off, Josh Rae makes his debut in net, whilst O'Riley and Santos-Clase score for Fulham to make it 2-1
— Leeds United (@LUFC) March 14, 2019
Rae, who joined Leeds from Celtic’s youth academy in the summer of 2017, saved Fulham’s first penalty. Brown, Mateusz Bogusz, Pascal Struijk and Jack Clarke all scored, but Jordan Stevens missed.
Fitting, then, that it was fan favourite Gaetano Berardi to take the winning penalty. He calmly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way, and Rae was mobbed by his teammates at the full-time whistle.
In a whirlwind night for Rae, he would have been forgiven for looking nervous. But he showed excellent decision making from corners, and made two excellent one-on-one saves – as well as his penalty save.
Certainly, Leeds look to have another superb up-and-coming goalkeeper in the ranks. Marcelo Bielsa will have noticed as he was in attendance at Nethemoor Park. Leeds fans gave their verdict on Rae’s display.
Get in Lad! Congratulations on your u23 debut!! Came in to the game and did well, as did all the boys👏👏👏
— Olliejk92 (@olliejk92) March 14, 2019
Well done pal we’ll see you and Coops playing for Scotland yet 😁
Congratulations on a superb result buddy
— Bielsa’s cheese wedge ultras (@ColinCarmichae2) March 15, 2019
Great debut mate. At a time when it was least expected then you pull out that crucial stop just before full time and then that penalty. Top player, huge future
— Wilson 💙💛 (@LUFCWilsonn) March 14, 2019
awesome Josh, keep working hard and become a Leeds legend #lufc
— Dobie Carajo!! 💙💛 (@sportsfandays) March 14, 2019
— Rodrigo H. García (@rodri10garcia) March 15, 2019
Well done Josh, you played well once you had warmed up.
How come you weren’t dressed in the first place? No socks or shorts on ???
— Julie Trimble (@trimble1959) March 15, 2019