Calvin Ughelumba

Ten-Man Foxes Hold Everton In PL2 Opener

Leicester City's Development Squad battled with 10 men for much of the second half as they opened their Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign with a 0-0 draw at champions Everton on Monday.
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City’s line-up in Southport included two new faces as Irish forward Ali Reghba and defender Mitchell Clark made their full debuts for the Club’s Under-23s outfit.

There were also returns for Darnell Johnson and George Thomas, who enjoyed loan spells with Hibernian and Scunthorpe United respectively last season.

Wales international Thomas, 22, skippered the Foxes for their league opener after making 38 appearances for the Iron in Sky Bet League 1 throughout the 2018/19 campaign.

Johnson, meanwhile, carved out Leicester’s first opportunity of the clash, firing wide from distance, as the visitors made an assured start.

Development Squad

Thomas: Happy With The Result

Leicester City's George Thomas caught up with LCFC TV following the Development Squad’s stalemate at Everton in Premier League 2 on Monday.

City imposed themselves on the game early on with Reghba and Admiral Muskwe, a full Zimbabwe international, going into full-blooded challenges in the early stages.

Just after the half-hour mark, Reghba thought he was through after a sublime pass from Thomas on the right wing, but the linesman’s flag was raised to curtail their hopes of opening the scoring.

In the latter moments of the first half, the Foxes asked for a penalty when Nathan Markelo felled Muskwe in the 18-yard box, but the official was unmoved by their protests.

Elsewhere, with seconds of four minutes added time to go, Everton's Dennis Adeniran broke and fired a powerful drive at goal, only to be denied by a brilliant stop from Viktor Johansson.

Leicester were comfortable for the first 10 minutes of the second period, too, but their chances of victory were about to be cut considerably as Johnson was shown a red card.

Development Squad

Watch City's Under-23s Live On LCFC TV!

Leicester City Development Squad fixtures will be available for free on LCFC TV throughout the 2019/20 season.

As Fraser Hornby appeared to have plotted a path through in on goal, the Scot found Johnson in his way and the tangle which ensued led to City being reduced to 10 men.

As a result, Sam Hughes was instantly introduced to the action in response to the set-back, replacing Callum Wright and filling the hole in Leicester’s defence for the final 30 minutes.

Naturally, the Toffees applied greater pressure with a numerical advantage and Johansson was required to make a fine save from close range to deny Kyle John on 64 minutes. 

He had to be there again with 10 minutes to go as well when Hornby unleashed a fearsome effort at goal, but the Sweden Under-21s goalkeeper got a firm hand to it.

City hearts were in mouths at the very end when Ryan Astley's cross landed at the feet of Anthony Evans. However, Evans missed the ball and Leicester survived with a point. 

Major moment…

Expand photo
Callum Wright
Callum Wright

The clash was slowed by several stoppages throughout.

While the match may have already been waiting for a moment to spark life into it, the dismissal of Darnell Johnson 10 minutes after the break did not help matters.

Even before that moment, the clash regularly got stuck in a rigid midfield quagmire and, with City digging in to seal a point, they were pleased to stifle their hosts further. 

Who impressed?

Live Snippet

Johansson Saves Well Late On

One of several saves made by Viktor Johansson during Monday's PL2 meeting with Everton in Southport.

Former Fox and LCFC TV pundit, Sean St Ledger said: "I thought Johansson was absolutely fantastic today. He’s made some really important saves at crucial times.

"His handling from crosses has been superb, as has his kicking. He’s picked up from where he left off last season and I think he’s instilled confidence into Leicester’s back four."

Where does it leave us?

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Leicester City's Development Squad
Leicester City's Development Squad

City's team strength showed in the latter moments of the clash.

The early Premier League 2 Division 1 standings see Leicester sit in seventh place following their maiden point of the campaign.

Coming up…

Expand photo
Callum Wright
Callum Wright

Callum Wright looks to create an opening for the Foxes.

Blackburn Rovers are the visitors to King Power Stadium next up in Premier League 2 Division 1 next Monday (7pm BST kick-off) – a clash which is available live and free on LCFC TV.

The details…

City: Johansson; Clark, Johnson, Pașcanu, Ughelumba; Leshabela (Shade 66’), Thomas (c), Dewsbury-Hall, Wright (Hughes 56’); Reghba (Daley-Campbell 89'), Muskwe

Subs not used: Davies, Tavares 

Red card: Johnson 54’

Images: Dan Hill

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