Development Squad

Three-Goal Young Foxes Sink Saints In Whetstone

Khanya Leshabela, Callum Wright and Josh Eppiah all netted to send Leicester City’s Development Squad to a 3-0 win over Southampton at Holmes Park on Friday – a second successive victory for the Club’s youngsters in Premier League 2 Division 1.

In came goalkeeper Eldin Jakupović, as one of the permitted overage players, for shot-stopper Viktor Johansson, who travelled to St. Mary’s Stadium with the first team, while winger Khanya Leshabela also replaced Tyrece Shade in City’s starting line-up in Whetstone.

In torrential rain, combined with swirling winds, the Foxes were brightest in the early stages, defying the conditions to assert their clear dominance over the Saints from the off.

After eight minutes, the home side carved out their first chance of the match as Leshabela sent a low drive just wide, while Wright was denied by visiting 'keeper Jack Bycroft four minutes later.

The weather worsened midway through the half as, on one occasion, a corner even swooped up into the air and out for a goal-kick without finding its intended target.

In-form striker George Hirst, meanwhile, was able to meet a cross in the box from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, on the left wing, but his arrowed header flew narrowly over the crossbar.

Just before the half-hour mark, though, Leicester’s youngsters were deservedly in front as South Africa Under-23s international Leshabela cut inside his man and blasted past Bycroft.

After the interval, City continued in the same manner and they got their rewards after just six minutes as Wright collected the ball on the edge of the area, before firing back in the direction it came, into the far corner to net for the second time in as many games for the Under-23s. 

While mostly a quiet affair after the second, there was still time for substitute Eppiah to score his first goal since returning from injury with two minutes to go with an excellent finish in the area.

Major moment

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Josh Eppiah
Josh Eppiah

Back from injury and firing, Josh Eppiah made a key impact when he came on.

Despite having dominated for the majority of the encounter, a second goal evaded them until the 51st minute – providing a cushion which allowed them to play more comfortably later on.

Following last week’s 2-0 success at Tottenham Hotspur, sealing another cleansheet will have been high on the agenda for coach Steve Beaglehole, while Josh Eppiah added a touch of gloss late on.

Who impressed?

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Luke Thomas
Luke Thomas

England youth international Luke Thomas is making a name for himself in City's Under-23s.

Once again, young Luke Thomas, an England Under-19s international, was excellent at left-back for the Foxes, posing both an attacking threat and providing defensive solidity at the back.

Special mentions must be reserved for goalscorers Khanya Leshabela and Callum Wright who, aside from finding the net in Whetstone, also performed admirably for long spells.

Where does it leave us? 

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Darnell Johnson
Darnell Johnson

Defender Darnell Johnson was an assured presence in centre-back on Friday.

A second successive victory – and third success of the season – sends Leicester up to fifth in Premier League 2 Division 1 on 13 points, with the other 10 sides yet to play this weekend. 

Coming up… 

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Filip Benković
Filip Benković

Croatian defender Filip Benković was in the City Under-23s line-up for the second week running.

City’s youngsters travel to Blundell Park on Tuesday evening to continue their Trophy group stage campaign at Grimsby Town (7:45pm BST kick-off) 

The details… 

City: Jakupović; Clark, Johnson, Benković, L. Thomas; Dewsbury-Hall, G. Thomas; Wright (Ughelumba 85’), Muskwe (Eppiah 62’), Leshabela; Hirst (Tee 75’)

Subs not used: Stolarczyk, Arlott-John 

Goals: Leshabela 28’, Wright 51’, Eppiah 88’

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