Development Squad

The U23s In 2019/20: Excellent Winning Runs & EFL Trophy Progress

The 2019/20 season has so far included several fine sequences of form and individual moments of brilliance for Leicester City's Development Squad.

The campaign began with an away clash with reigning Premier League 2 Division 1 champions Everton at their Merseyrail Community Stadium home in Southport.

New faces Ali Reghba and Mitchell Clark made their full debuts for the Foxes, but a 54th-minute red card for defender Darnell Johnson curtailed the visitors' chances of victory.

Nonetheless, Leicester's youngsters held on to secure a valuable 0-0 draw with the Toffees, ahead of the visit of Blackburn Rovers to King Power Stadium.

Inside just two minutes, a smart turn and pass from ex-Rovers midfielder Callum Wright freed Reghba through to slot home and score City's first goal of the season.

Joe Grayson's second-half equaliser for Blackburn, though, denied Leicester all three points with a second Filbert Way outing in a week on the horizon.

The wait for a win went on as Brighton & Hove Albion emerged from King Power Stadium with a 3-0 success, as Aaron Connolly, Peter Gwargis and Bojan Radulovic netted.

Development Squad

Goals: Wolves U23s 0 Leicester City U23s 2

Watch back the goals as Leicester City's Development Squad sealed their opening win of the 2019/20 season at Wolves.

However, Leicester ended August with a hard-fought success at Wolves with a strike from Admiral Muskwe and George Hirst's late penalty nudging them up to seventh in Premier League 2.

"There have been some fantastic performances," said Sean St Ledger on LCFC TV. "Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall has worked hard and put in his best performance of the season so far."

While September began with a 2-1 loss to Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, with Reghba scoring again, it would kick-start a sensational unbeaten run which lasted until mid-December.

It was a sequence of results which started frustratingly as the Foxes were held to a 2-2 draw in a lively encounter with Liverpool at Holmes Park in Whetstone.

With the score at 1-0 with three minutes of the first half to go, after a Curtis Jones opener, Muskwe and George Thomas hit back, before Luis Longstaff's 90th-minute leveller for the Reds.

Before another late 2-2 draw, with Chelsea at Holmes Park, including a brace from Hirst, City were next due at Scunthorpe United for their first appearance in the Leasing.com Trophy group stage.

Development Squad

Goals: Scunthorpe United 1 Leicester City Development Squad 1 (1-3 Pens)

Watch the goals and penalties from a successful night for the Club's Development Squad in the Leasing.com Trophy.

As one of 16 teams invited to enter an Under-21s side into the competition, it was a chance for the Club’s youngest stars to test their skills against Sky Bet League 1 and League 2 opposition.

Dewsbury-Hall's 87th-minute effort appeared to have won it for City, until an even later Ryan Colclough strike sent the clash to penalties, with a bonus point up for grabs for the winners.

While Muskwe's spot-kick was saved, following misses by Colclough, George Miller and Levi Sutton, Dewsbury-Hall, Josh Eppiah and Luke Thomas all found the net in a 3-1 shootout triumph for the Foxes.

Following that 2-2 draw with Chelsea, City truly started to find their winning touch, especially in PL2, leading to an exhilarating surge up the league standings over the winter months.

Wright and Hirst sealed a 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur in October, a month which also included a 3-0 triumph over Southampton, courtesy of goals from Khanya Leshabela, Wright and Eppiah.

Ending the month on a high, Belgian forward Eppiah continued his own rich form with a brace at Grimsby Town in the Leasing.com Trophy to overturn Moses Ogbu's opener at Blundell Park.

Development Squad

Sunderland 1 Leicester City Development Squad 2

Watch extended highlights as the young Foxes took a 2-1 victory over Sunderland's first team in the Leasing.com Trophy at the Stadium of Light.

A fourth consecutive victory was then sealed at Manchester City's Academy Stadium, with Hirst and Thomas on the scoresheet, before a magnificent performance in the North East.

City needed three points against League 1 promotion hopefuls Sunderland to guarantee safe passage from Northern Group A in the Leasing.com Trophy, but the odds were against them.

Nonetheless, after Chris Maguire's free-kick put the Black Cats ahead, Leicester hit back, first through an assured penalty from Hirst and then a thunderbolt from Dewsbury-Hall at Stadium of Light.

The winning run stretched into a sixth game in late November with a stunning 4-1 victory over Derby County at Holmes Park - Hirst, Eppiah, Muskwe and Thomas all scoring.

Speaking live on air, former Foxes captain Matt Elliott said: "Josh Eppiah – he was dynamite. Both central midfielders were great too and Thomas grabbed himself a goal which he created himself."

The Club's Under-23s were up to fourth in PL2, but their next appearance would see them park their league campaign to return to duties in the Leasing.com Trophy, now at the Round 2 stage.

Development Squad

Goals: Leicester City U23s 2 Villarreal B 1

All the goals from Holmes Park as Leicester City's Development Squad opened their account in the Premier League International Cup on Wednesday.

Another away clash, at Doncaster Rovers, stood between them and equalling their deepest run in the competition. A Muskwe double and another goal for Hirst secured a 3-0 victory at Keepmoat Stadium.

A vintage run of eight successive wins also included the determined 2-1 triumph over champions Everton at Holmes Park, despite Toffees shot-stopper Nico Hansen saving Muskwe's first-half penalty.

The Zimbabwe international made amends with a stylish 58th-minute finish before, just 60 seconds later, Clark's cross found Wright in the area to seal all three points for the home side.

While the Foxes were beaten 3-1 at Blackburn in December, they headed into a festive break from action on a winning note, as they commenced their Premier League International Cup campaign.

Villarreal were the visitors to Holmes Park with Hirst and Eppiah finding the net before a consolation effort from visiting forward Alejandro Millán Iranzo to narrow City's advantage on the night.

Meanwhile, 2020 began with Leicester's biggest league victory of the season to date, dispatching of Wolves in style with a 5-1 success in Whetstone to propel them up to second in the table.

Development Squad

Goals: Tranmere Rovers 1 Leicester City Development Squad 2

Watch the goals from the Leicester City Development Squad's 2-1 Leasing.com Trophy success at Prenton Park on Tuesday night.

Matty James and Bartosz Kapustka enjoyed valuable playing time with the Under-23s, while defender Darragh O'Connor made his debut, as both George and Luke Thomas registered goals.

A brace from Muskwe and Darnell Johnson's header four minutes from time sealed what former Foxes manager Micky Adams labelled an 'outstanding' performance on LCFC TV.

January's next test for the Club's youngsters was the Leasing.com Trophy Round 3 visit to Prenton Park to face Micky Mellon's Tranmere Rovers and City sealed an 11th win in 12 matches.

It was a 5-3-2 stratagem deployed by Leicester in Birkenhead and Hirst and Muskwe combined to confirm a brilliant 2-1 victory for the Foxes as they continued to impress against Football League opposition.

In spite of torrential rainfall at Brighton's AMEX Elite Football Performance Centre, meanwhile, a fourth successive triumph was secured courtesy of Eppiah's solitary strike on the South Coast.

The Premier League International Cup was then back on the agenda and, despite their 3-0 reverse at Arsenal being just City's second defeat in 16 outings, it had damaging permutations.

Development Squad

Chelsea U23s 2 Leicester City U23s 2

Watch extended highlights from Leicester City’s dramatic last-gasp draw at Chelsea in Premier League 2 Division 1 on Friday.

Leicester recovered with a 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb at Holmes Park - thanks to two efforts from Wright - but it wasn't enough to seal safe progress from Group A.

That disappointment was followed quickly by an away game at Aldershot's EBB Stadium against PL2 leaders Chelsea, a game which looked like it could get away from the visitors.

Despite being 2-0 down with 15 minutes to play, Tyrese Shade's composed finish and then a bullet header from Johnson in added time rescued a point for Leicester to keep them within three points of the Blues.

Speaking on LCFC TV, ex-City striker James Scowcroft picked out one young Foxes player for praise: "I like the look of Luke Thomas - his delivery into the box was superb and he really stood out for me."

City's most recent outing, on the other hand, paid witness to another valiant effort in the Leasing.com Trophy quarter-finals, but a place in the last-four eluded them in south Wales. 

Following an earlier postponement of the fixture, the Foxes tackled League 2 outfit Newport County at Rodney Parade and impressively went toe-to-toe with their more experienced hosts.

However, a single goal from Scot Bennett in the 13th minute settled the tie, although Leicester can take pride in the fact that they were the last remaining youth team in the competition.

Next up for City is a 7pm GMT home encounter with Spurs on Friday 14 February - the same night as the first team's trip to Wolves - with them sat second in PL2, three points off the summit.

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