Leicester City Development Squad

City's Youngsters Secure EFL Trophy Bonus Point At Scunthorpe

Leicester City's Development Squad followed a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe United with a 3-1 shootout success to seal a bonus point from their Leasing.com Trophy opener on Tuesday evening.
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City are one of 16 teams invited to enter an Under-21s side into the competition, which is a chance for the Club’s youngest stars to test their skills against Sky Bet League 1 and League 2 opposition.

Following last Friday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Holmes Park in Premier League 2 Division 1, Senior Professional Development Phase Coach Steve Beaglehole made three changes.

Goalkeeper Eldin Jakupović, 34, and Filip Benković, 22, came in as City’s two eligible overage players, while striker Ali Reghba was also included in Leicester's starting line-up in Lincolnshire.

The Foxes began the encounter on the front foot with midfielder Callum Wright rushing on a loose ball and looking to play in George Hirst, but his through-ball just had too much weight on it.

Seven minutes in, it opened up for Admiral Muskwe and then Calvin Ughelumba on the edge of the 18-yard box. Jacob Bedeau and Kgosi Ntlhe were there to block each effort though.

At the other end, the Iron were unfortunate not to take an early lead through Ntlhe’s scooped effort on the turn, only kept away from goal by the outstretched leg of Muskwe.

Development Squad

Preparation Key To Shootout Success, Says Eppiah

Striker Josh Eppiah reflects on the Development Squad's 3-1 penalty shootout victory at Scunthorpe United in the Leasing.com Trophy.

Despite that scare in front of Jakupović’s goal, an otherwise youthful Leicester side were more than holding their own against Football League opposition and were playing ambitiously.

Deploying a fluid 4-3-3 system which afforded Wright and Khanya Leshabela with a licence to attack, it was the visiting Foxes who impressed during the early exchanges.

However, George Miller twice tested Jakupović with 20 minutes on the clock, first from the left and then more centrally, but the Foxes ‘keeper saved comfortably on both occasions.

Scunthorpe’s best opportunity of the first half came in the 36th minute, meanwhile, as Jordon Clarke floated a cross in for Miller. The Barnsley loanee’s header, though, flew over the bar.

The home side posed a more significant threat after the interval and Jakupović was required to make a top stop to deny John McAtee’s low drive 10 minutes into the second period.

McAtee perhaps should have made it 1-0 to the Iron shortly afterwards as well when Ryan Colclough crossed low into the box, but the 20-year-old’s attempted tap-in glanced just wide.

City’s youngsters soon settled back into the match following a period of dominance from the hosts as first Wright and then Benković saw half-volleys blocked in the penalty area. 

Wright's long-ranger, after galloping into a pocket of space just in front of Scunthorpe's 18-yard box, certainly had the locals worried, but the former Blackburn Rovers man hit it over.

With just three minutes to play, an excellent away performance, against the odds at the home of a professional Football League side, appeared to have paid off in dramatic fashion for the Foxes.

Substitute Tyrese Shade, who had just moments earlier replaced Wright in midfield, burst into the penalty area and eventually found Dewsbury-Hall, who sent a fearsome drive into the net.

However, just as it seemed City would win out in normal time, the home side retaliated as Colclough collected the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box and powered it beyond Jakupović.

After ending 1-1 over 90 minutes, a bonus point was on offer to the victor of a penalty shootout at Sands Venue Stadium, a rule unique to the Leasing.com Trophy in English football.

While Muskwe's spot-kick was saved, following misses by Colclough, Miller and Levi Sutton, goalscorer Dewsbury-Hall, Josh Eppiah and Luke Thomas all found the net to secure a second point.

Major moment

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Luke Thomas
Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas makes no mistake from the penalty spot in Lincolnshire.

Up stepped Luke Thomas to take City's fourth penalty of the night, with the England Under-18s international knowing a successful spot-kick would seal an extra point for his side.

With supporters behind the goal doing their upmost to cause a distraction, the young left-back showed admirable composure to gently nestle the ball into the left corner.

Who impressed?

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Mitchell Clark
Mitchell Clark

Mitchell Clarke was among many City players who impressed on Tuesday.

Summer signing Mitchell Clarke, acquired from Aston Villa’s academy, cut a composed figure at right-back for the Foxes, before taking up a more advanced position after the break.

The 20-year-old Wales youth international, who starred 40 times for Port Vale on loan last season, regularly showed his Football League experience with several crucial interventions.

Where does it leave us?

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Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall initially put Leicester ahead before full-time, before Scunthorpe levelled it.

Leicester are second in Northern Group A, below Scunthorpe who have already defeated Grimsby Town, with two points points from their opening fixture.

The standings could have changed before both sides’ next outings, however, as Sunderland host Grimsby at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday 8 October (7:45pm BST kick-off). 

Coming up…

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Leicester City Development Squad
Leicester City Development Squad

The Foxes squad watches on during the penalty shootout.

With their Leasing.com Trophy campaign now underway, City’s next outing in the competition is a trip to Grimsby Town on Tuesday 29 October (7:45pm GMT kick-off). 

However, the Club’s youngsters return to Premier League 2 Division 1 action this Saturday as they entertain Chelsea at Holmes Park (12pm BST kick-off) – live and free on LCFC TV.

The details

City: Jakupović; Clarke, Johnson (c), Benković, Ughelumba; Leshabela, Dewsbury-Hall, Wright (Shade 83'); Reghba (L. Thomas 57’), Hirst (Eppiah 75’), Muskwe

Subs not used: Stolarczyk, Daley-Campbell, D. Gyamfi, Tee

Goals: Dewsbury-Hall 87'

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