Iestyn Hughes

First Defeat In Seven For City’s Under-23s At Spurs

Leicester City’s Development Squad fell to a Premier League 2 Division 1 defeat on Friday evening as Tottenham Hotspur Under-23s ran out 3-1 winners at Lamex Stadium.

The Foxes side showed five changes from the one which drew at Derby County last weekend, with Brad Young returning between the sticks after being involved in the first team squad against Arsenal. Oliver Ewing missed out through injury, meanwhile, handing a start to Ethan Fitzhugh.

Iestyn Hughes came in at right-back, with Khayna Leshabela slotting into the midfield and Terell Pennant starting in attack, replacing Joe Wormleighton, Sammy Braybrooke and Will Alves, who all played 90 minutes for the Under-18s in midweek.

Starting in a 4-3-3 system, Tawanda Maswanhise and Fitzhugh provided the width either side of Pennant, with Wanya Marcal-Madivadua and Leshabela anchoring the middle of the park alongside Thanawat Suengchitthawon.

City were six games unbeaten coming into this one, while Spurs had not triumphed this calendar year, but although the visitors started brightly in Stevenage, it was Tottenham who mustered the first attempt and soon took control of proceedings.  

Captain Jamie Bowden tried to place the ball rather than go for power, but was unable to test Young, blazing his early effort way over the crossbar. Pennant got a sight of goal at the other end, but likewise fired off target, albeit from a tight angle.

Jamie Donley had a chance of his own within the opening 10 minutes, this time calling Leicester’s shot-stopper into action as he claimed the curling strike at the second attempt.

An early injury to Shane Flynn led to a reshuffle as Hughes switched across to left-back, with substitute Zach Booth slotting in at right-back. The hosts looked to take advantage of City’s changes as Yago De Santiago Alonso rose highest at the back post, glancing a header wide from Marcel Lavinier’s cross.

And the Lilywhites would take the lead on 24 minutes when Alonso flicked the ball over Lewis Brunt, taking a neat touch to get it back under control on the edge of the area, before slotting home into the far bottom corner.

Just eight minutes later, the home side doubled their advantage. Donley evaded Booth’s challenge and threaded a pass through for Alfie Devine to run onto and finish, first time, past Young.

Devine turned provider for Tottenham’s third with six minutes to go until the break, sending in a dangerous low cross that Donley tried to divert in at the near post, though Brunt got the touch to send it past his own 'keeper.

A huge turnaround was required in the second half for Leicester to get anything out of the game and Ben Petty tried to aid their cause with two half-time changes. Ronny Nelson was brought on for Marcal-Madivadua as the away side moved to a back three, while Will Russ replaced Pennant up top.

City’s coach got the desired response with a much brighter opening from City, with Suengchitthawon’s free-kick from distance kept out by Thimothée Lo-Tutala, the first time he had made a save. The Frenchman was soon needed again to stop two low efforts from Hughes.

Fitzhugh picks up a loose ball, finding Maswanhise on the left and the winger cut inside before unleashing a powerful strike that didn’t quite dip in time to trouble Lo-Tutala.

A golden opportunity fell Russ’ way with just under a quarter of an hour to play as Brunt played through to Russ, who beat Tobi Omole before chipping his effort past the onrushing ‘keeper – but also the post.

Seventeen-year-old forward Amani Richards was introduced in place of Maswanhise for his Leicester Under-23s bow, reigniting the visitors’ attacking play. Brunt did well to weave his way into a shooting position before appearing to be brought down, but referee Robert Massey-Ellis was unmoved.

Shortly after, the Foxes found the goal that their second half display deserved. It was a lovely pass over the top from Leshabela and Fitzhugh stayed onside, coming off the shoulder to dink the ball past Lo-Tutala.

With six minutes still to play, Leicester put the pressure on in search of further goals but it was Spurs who held on to claim the points.

Major moment…

Expand photo
Lewis Brunt
Lewis Brunt

Captain Lewis Brunt was unfortunate to steer the ball into his own net in the first half.

Conceding three goals within 15 first-half minutes was a setback that City’s patched-up team were unable to recover from, ending their six-game unbeaten run in the league. Ethan Fitzhugh’s late goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation.

Where do we stand? 

 

Leicester remain eighth in the Premier League 2 Division 1 table, with 28 points from 21 games played, sitting one point behind Liverpool in seventh.

Coming up... 

 

After next week’s international break, City’s Under-23s host Manchester United in Premier League 2 on Monday 4 April. The fixture is a 7pm BST kick-off at LCFC Training Ground.

The details...

City: Young, Hughes, Brunt (c), B. Nelson, Flynn (Booth 13’), Suengchitthawon, Marcal-Madivadua (R. Nelson 45’), Leshabela, Fitzhugh, Maswanhise (Richards 79’), T. Pennant (Russ 45’).

Sub not used: Chibueze.

Goal: Fitzhugh 84’.

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