Khanya Leshabela

Liverpool Defeat For City Under-23s In PL2

Leicester City's Development Squad went down 2-0 to Liverpool Under-23s in a closely fought encounter at LCFC Training Ground on Monday.
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The Premier League 2 Division 1 season finale pitted the Foxes against the same opposition as on matchday 23, when it finished all square in Merseyside a week ago.

Three changes were made to the City side, with Iestyn Hughes, Ben Nelson and Callum Hulme coming in for Vontae Daley-Campbell, Cole Dasilva and Tyrese Shade. But Shade was soon into the action, replacing the injured Sidnei Tavares, who went off with an injury.

Liverpool started brightly and created the first attempt when Luis Longstaff twisted and turned in the box before his low effort was deflected wide by Nelson. Tom Clayton headed the resulting corner wide as the visitors enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.

And the away side went even closer when captain Ben Woodburn shifted the ball across for Leighton Clarkson, whose shot had to be parried away at point-blank range by Jakub Stolarczyk.

Fidel O'Rourke then capitalised on a defensive mix-up to race through on goal, but his attempt was brilliantly blocked by Mitch Clark, before Clayton headed another Longstaff corner wide of target.

The Reds continued to cause problems for Leicester's backline as Elijah Dixon-Bonner skied the ball over from a Longstaff cross. Some neat interplay on the edge of the area then allowed O'Rourke to get another shot away and this time Clark got back to clear the effort off the line.

City's first sightings of goal came at the end of the half from Shade's header, which deflected off Owen Beck from Shane Flynn's cross. The golden opportunity came moments later when Shade beat the offside trap and opted to square the ball to Kasey McAteer, who was unable to hit the target from close range.

Into the second period it was more of the same from Liverpool, as Beck cut inside onto his right foot and fired an effort into the side-netting. Stolarczyk then had to pull off another smart save to hold on to Longstaff's strike after O'Rourke's attempt came back off the post.

At the other end, substitute Will Russ brought the ball down for Khanya Leshabela, who played it across to Thanawat Suengchitthawon, but Jakub Ojrzynski was equal to his shot.

That moment would prove costly as Liverpool quickly broke away and opened the scoring, just ahead of the hour mark. Woodburn fired the ball home, beating Stolarczyk at his near post.

The away side had the ball in the net again soon after as Dixon-Bonner found Longstaff and he slid the ball across for O'Rourke to tap in from an offside position.

Liverpool still looked more likely to find a second when Longstaff went for goal himself after carrying the ball from the half-way line, seeing his powerful strike cannoned back off the crossbar.

Chances were few and far between for City, though Flynn was presented with an opportunity from Hulme's cross, which landed at his feet inside the area, but he scooped the ball over the bar from a tight angle.

Flynn went even closer when he arrived at the back post to meet Wakeling's cross and headed narrowly wide of target.

As Leicester pushed more bodies forward, it was always going to leave gaps at the back and so it proved as substitute Kaide Gordon fired in a second in the final minute of normal time.

Major moment…

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Thanawat Suengchitthawon
Thanawat Suengchitthawon

Thanawat Suengchitthawon went close for the Foxes in the second half.

The contest was finely poised at 0-0 but once Liverpool got their noses in front it was always going to be a difficult task for Leicester to turn the game around and find two goals in the last half an hour. 

Who impressed?

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Mitch Clark
Mitch Clark

Mitch Clark produced a solid performance at the heart of the young Foxes' defence.

Mitch Clark prevented several near-certain goals for the visitors in the first half, including making two last-ditch tackles and a goal-line clearance. Vital headers and blocks were also made in the second period. Playing alongside Ben Nelson, the 22-year-old used his experience to great effect, although he was unable to prevent Liverpool going ahead in the end. 

Where does it leave us?

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Callum Hulme
Callum Hulme

Callum Hulme battles to win the ball back at LCFC Training Ground.

Leicester City's Development Squad have finished 12th in the Premier League 2 Division 1 table on 22 points from 24 games.

The details...

City: Stolarczyk; Hughes (Dasilva 57'), Clark, Nelson, Flynn (c), Tavares (Shade 12') (Russ 46') Hulme, Leshabela; McAteer, Suengchitthawon; Wakeling.

Subs not used: Odunze, Ewing.

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