Tawanda Maswanhise

City’s Under-23s Earn Blackburn Point On The Road

Leicester City's Development Squad earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw in their Premier League 2 Division 1 contest with Blackburn Rovers Under-23s on Friday night.

The Foxes lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Tawanda Maswanhise, Will Alves and Kasey McAteer behind Jake Wakeling up top.

Midfielder Alves was the one change from the side that drew 2-2 away at Manchester United Under-23s on matchday one, replacing Khanya Leshabela, who has joined Shrewsbury Town on loan.

The first shot on target fell the home side’s way as Luke Brennan’s low effort was comfortably saved by Brad Young, who was able to hold on.

Young had more work to do soon after, clawing Sam Burns’ attempt back off the line after the Rovers forward wriggled his way into a shooting position.

The spell of pressure continued when Joe Nolan went for goal from distance and his strike deflected onto the roof of the Leicester net.

Meanwhile at the other end, Lewis Brunt headed over Sammy Braybrooke’s corner, as the visitors searched to test Jordan Eastham for the first time.  

But it was Blackburn who broke the deadlock on 22 minutes. Burns beat the offside trap and rounded the onrushing Brad Young before slotting the ball into an open net.

The hosts came close to doubling their advantage as Burns, Joe Nolan, and Jake Garrett all fired in shots at Young’s goal, but a succession of deflections and blocks kept Rovers out.

And then, on 41 minutes, a stunning goal from Maswanhise drew the Foxes back level. It was an unbelievable strike from the 18-year-old, who found the top corner from the edge of the area.

Leicester might have even taken the lead swiftly after their equaliser, with Alves capitalising on a defensive mistake, but couldn’t beat Eastham.

Blackburn also went close to a second. Jack Vale was sent through on goal but was unable to find the far corner, firing narrowly wide of the post, before the Wales youth international crossed for Burns, whose strike rose just over the bar. 

Burns also had the first effort of the second half, with the outstretched arm of Young preventing the ball from nestling into the bottom corner. From there on in it was a case of both sides largely cancelling each other out as the two defences stood strong.

Zak Gilsenan did however strike over the bar for Rovers and then tried to turn provider, crossing for Burns, whose shot flashed past the face of goal in what was a great opportunity for the home side to re-establish their lead.

A late chance from a tight angle for Foxes substitute Wanya Marcal-Madivdua went behind for a goal-kick, meanwhile, and Blackburn also had an opportunity all of Gilsenan’s creation, who dribbled his way into the box and forced Vontae Daley-Campbell to head the ball behind after Young got a hand to the effort.

Vale's header from a Brennan corner proved to be the final opportunity for the Blues in the closing stages, but again it was off target, as both teams settled for a point apiece.

Major moment…

 

Blackburn were beginning to establish some control over proceedings after opening the scoring and it took a moment of magic from Tawanda Maswanhise to restore parity in the first half. From there on in it was a very equal contest with neither side able to find the winner.

Who impressed?

 

Tawanda Maswanhise was a constant threat for the Blackburn defence and Joe Rankin-Costello in particular, who was engaged in a battle with the winger during the first half.

The 18-year-old’s pace and direct running created several opportunities, but it was simply a stunning strike for his goal, which Jordan Eastham had no chance of saving.

Where does it leave us?

 

After getting another point on the board, the young Foxes are 10th in the early standings, having played two Premier League 2 Division 1 matches in 2021/22.

Coming up…

 

Leicester City’s Development Squad switch their attention to the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday 31 August when they travel to face Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium for their opening group stage game in the competition (7:45pm BST kick-off).

The details…

City: Young; Daley-Campbell (c), Brunt, R. Nelson, Hughes; Hulme, Braybrooke (Fitzhugh 73), Alves (Marcal-Madivadua 53), McAteer, Maswanhise; Wakeling (T. Pennant 90).

Subs not used: Odunze, Ewing.

Goal: Maswanhise 41’

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