Wanya Marcal-Madivadua

Leicester's Under-23s Snatch Late PL2 Winner In Seagrave

Leicester City’s Development Squad completed a stunning second half turnaround to claim a 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion Under-23s on Monday evening.

Eight changes were made from the side that were defeated by Chelsea in their last Premier League 2 Division fixture last weekend, as they looked for a response to that disappointment in the capital.

Ben Nelson, Sammy Braybrooke and Will Alves were all included after featuring in Friday’s FA Youth Cup Fourth Round victory, meanwhile.

Although the Foxes created the game’s first opportunity at LCFC Training Ground, it was the visiting Seagulls who broke the deadlock inside the opening 10 minutes. After building the play on the left, the ball came out to Cameron Peupion, who hammered it home into the roof of the net.

Leicester were not deterred by going a goal down and searched for an instant response via Will Russ, who broke free – but Fynn Talley rushed out to block, before Shane Flynn was unable to turn the rebound home. Braybrooke then tried to whip a free-kick up over the wall and into the top corner but was unable to hit the target.

At the other end, Brighton pressed for a second with Seagulls skipper Jack Spong shooting over and Lorent Tolaj teeing up Ben Wilson, who fired wide of the target. Jakub Stolarczyk had to be alert to deny Tolaj from a tight angle, too.

Marcal-Madivadua, meanwhile, had his fierce attempt saved in one of the final opportunities of the first half.

It continued to be an even contest after the break. Ayo Tanimowo crossed for goalscorer Peupion to head over, while the warning signs were also there for Brighton’s defence when Tawanda Maswanhise went down under a challenge in the penalty area, only for referee Aaron Jackson to wave away the protests.

Alves soon worked his way into the box and fired over the crossbar in a sign of things to come from the youngster. There was also an instant impact from half-time substitute Thanawat Suengchitthawon, who aimed low towards the corner and forced a diving save out of Talley, shortly before the equaliser arrived.

Marcal-Madivadua played the ball into Alves’ feet and he did the rest, driving to the edge of the box and curling an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner, out of the ‘keeper’s reach.

The 16-year-old went for goal again just a few minutes after, with his powerful strike blocked on its route. A flurry of chances followed, including Maswanhise being denied and Alves turning in the box before Talley held on to his latest low attempt.

It could have been the visitors who nicked it late on, though it would have been harsh on City had Tolaj managed to hit the target under pressure from Nelson or found the bottom corner with a diving header that landed wide of Stolarczyk’s far post.

And after Suengchitthawon tested Talley once more, the Foxes continued to stay on the front foot. They got their reward three minutes from time.

Alves flicked the ball down the line for Marcal-Madivadua to chase and he strode forward with pace and purpose, taking aim from a tight angle and seeing his unstoppable strike find the roof of the net via the crossbar. It was a sensational goal worthy of winning any game and a timely three points for City’s Development Squad.  

Major moment…

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Wanya Marcal-Madivadua
Wanya Marcal-Madivadua

Wanya Marcal-Madivadua celebrates his stunning late strike.

The equaliser was deserved and kept Leicester on the front foot for the rest of the second half, allowing the opportunity for a winner, which arrived in stunning fashion from Wanya Marcal-Madivadua - his fourth Premier League 2 goal of the season. 

Who impressed?

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Will Alves
Will Alves

The 16-year-old impressed once more, scoring the equaliser and then assisting the winning goal.

Former Foxes captain Matt Elliott, watching on in Seagrave, said: “It was classy execution for the first goal from Leicester’s star man (Will Alves) tonight. They had numerous good performances, but he was the standout figure, the one who looked capable of producing something different and so it proved to be the case.”

Where do we stand?

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Leicester City's Development Squad
Leicester City's Development Squad

City's youngsters were able to celebrate their first victory of 2022.

Leicester’s youngsters rise up to 10th in the PL2 standings, level on 19 points with ninth-placed Liverpool. They’ve played at least one game fewer than the teams around them and will be hoping to climb the table further in the coming weeks.

Coming up...

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Wanya Marcal-Madivadua & Will Alves
Wanya Marcal-Madivadua & Will Alves

The pair that made the difference in Seagrave.

City’s Development Squad meet West Ham United Under-23s at Rush Green on Monday 24 January (4pm GMT kick-off) in their next Premier League 2 Division 1 clash.

The details…

City: Stolarczyk, B. Nelson, Godsmark-Ford (Suengchitthawon 46’), Spencer-Adams; Marcal-Madivadua, Braybrooke, Ewing, Flynn; Alves; Maswanhise, Russ (Wormleighton 55’).

Subs not used: Young, I. Hughes, Fitzhugh.

Goals: Alves 60’, Marcal-Madivadua 87’.

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