Josh Eppiah

Saints Win Keeps City's Under-23s Second In PL2

Leicester City’s Development Squad stayed in touch with Chelsea at the top of Premier League 2 Division 1 with a hard-fought 3-1 away victory over Southampton at a freezing cold Staplewood Training Ground on Monday.

First-half goals from Callum Wright and George Hirst, followed by Conor Tee's late strike, secured the comeback victory which keeps City's youngsters within three points of leaders Chelsea.

Leicester came into this game off the back of a 3-2 win against Tottenham Hotspur two weeks ago and made just one change to that line-up, with Ali Reghba coming in for Darnell Johnson.

That change almost paid dividends within the first 10 minutes - Reghba played in Hirst, but the striker’s left-footed effort was saved at his near post by Saints 'keeper Harry Lewis.

Khanya Leshabela then came within inches of making the breakthrough when he drove forward and struck the outside of the post with his driven strike from the edge of the area.

However, it was the home side who made the breakthrough against the run of play.

Saints’ first-team duo Oriel Romeu and Che Adams combined, with the former sliding the ball through for Adams to slot the ball past Viktor Johansson. 

Leicester were behind for all of five minutes. Wright met Luke Thomas’ corner at the near post and flicked the ball home, scoring his sixth of the season in the process.

And after Adams fired just wide looking for his second of the evening, the game turned in Leicester’s favour. Leshabela was brought down in the box and Hirst stepped up to confidently convert the spot-kick, sending the 'keeper the wrong way.

There was a reminder of the threat Adams posed as he sliced another shot wide shortly before the break.

Back at the other end, Calvin Ughelumba was denied a special goal on the stroke of half-time when his mazy run was eventually ended by a smart low save from Lewis.

There was still time for Josh Eppiah to race through on goal - but again Lewis was on hand to get down and thwart the Foxes.

City could once again call on the experience of Matty James in midfield, with his presence proving a calming influence for those around him in the middle of the park.

Leicester looked to make the game safe in the second-half and Hirst almost doubled the lead with a vicious free-kick from the edge of the area that Lewis was forced to tip over the bar.

There was a nervy moment for the Foxes when Johansson spilled a high free-kick, but Southampton were unable to take advantage.

Enzo Robise’s shot was tthen cleared off the line by substitute Darragh O’Connor, but the offside flag had gone up.

Leicester’s penalty shouts were waved away by referee Lee Collins when Sam Ledwidge nudged Leshabela off the ball, before the lively Hirst very nearly added another spectacular goal to his tally as he cut inside onto his right foot and narrowly missed the far corner.

The visitors were almost made to pay for those missed chances late on. Adams rattled the post with a powerful strike that had Johansson beaten. 

But it would Leicester who had the final say, with Conor Tee wrapping up the three points deep into injury time. The Foxes won possession high up the pitch and substitute Tee slotted the ball into the bottom corner with his first touch, in what proved to be the last kick of the game. 

Major moment… 

The young Foxes side could have struggled after going behind early on, but Callum Wright epitomised their fighting spirit, the visitors level soon after falling behind.

And they never looked back once the midfielder had scored his sixth goal of the campaign.

Who impressed?  

Former Foxes forward James Scowcroft said: “I’m going to give it to George Hirst. “I think he’s battled away up there alone all night, he scored the all important penalty. Leicester got a very good no.9 in their ranks in George Hirst.”

Where does it leave us? 

Second-placed Leicester’s victory has kept the pace with top-of-the-table Chelsea, who were also in action tonight.

The Londoners beat Everton 1-0 to remain three points clear with four games to go.

Coming up…  

City’s youngsters have another two-week break until the visit of Manchester City to Holmes Park in Premier League 2 Division 1 on Monday 16 March (7pm GMT kick-off).

LCFC TV’s live coverage of the clash will be available live and for free on

The details…

City: Johansson, Daley-Campbell (O’Connor 32’), Thomas, James, Hughes (c), Ughelumba, Eppiah (Tee 90+3’), Leshabela, Hirst, Wright, Reghba.

Subs not used: Stolarczyk,, Shade, Ndukwu.

Goals: Wright 29’, Hirst pen 35’, Tee 90+5'

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