Leicester City's Development Squad

City’s Under-23s Put Four Past Blackburn To Extend Winning Run

Leicester City’s Development Squad won for the third consecutive home game by defeating Blackburn Rovers Under-23s 4-1 at King Power Stadium on Easter Monday.
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Terell Pennant, Chris Popov, Thanawat Suengchitthawon and Lewis Brunt all found the net in a five-goal thriller on Filbert Way, as the Foxes youngsters kept up their good recent form in Premier League 2 Division 1.

Four changes were made from Friday’s Filbert Way win over Derby County with Chituru Odunze, Sammy Braybrooke, Pennant and Tawanda Maswanhise coming into the XI.

It took 12 minutes for the first real opening - Wanya Marcal-Madivadua fed Joe Wormleighton out wide and his first-time cross picked out Pennant inside the area but the forward was unable to wrap his foot around the ball enough to direct it on target.

The home side came closer courtesy of a Maswanhise header from Braybrooke’s corner, which was headed off the line by Jay Haddow.

Rovers’ first effort on goal, meanwhile, a long-range strike from Adam Wharton, was always sailing over the crossbar even though he caught the ball sweetly on the half volley.

City largely remained in the ascendency and once Maswanhise’s curling strike was dropped by Blackburn ‘keeper Jordan Eastham, he had to get up quickly to recover and thwart Pennant, who was quick to pounce on the rebound.

The forward got himself into another good position minutes later, presented with an opportunity when the visitors gifted possession back midway inside their own half, but he blazed over the bar.

The Blues could have led themselves as Jared Harlock’s defence-splitting pass found Jack Vale, who controlled well but could not find the precise finish to match when attempting to place the ball into the bottom corner.

The deadlock was finally broken at the other end on 37 minutes. Wormleighton teed it up with an aerial cross that Pennant rose to meet, timing his jump to perfection and guiding the ball into the top of the net.

Rovers were still well in the game at this point and Odunze had to be alert to produce a stunning save, aided by the post, to deny Vale’s header when the Wales youth international forward was left unmarked from Georgie Gent’s cross.

Vale soon completed a hat-trick of missed opportunities in the first half. This time Harlock got to the byline, pulling the ball back for the youngster, who again could not test City’s shot-stopper.

The next goal was always going to be crucial, and it was the home side who grabbed it via a stunning set piece from Popov early in the second period. Taking aim from the edge of the Blackburn box, he curled his free-kick around the wall and past Eastham's outstretched arm, marking his first PL2 strike for Leicester.

Soon on the hunt for more, Will Alves dribbled his way into a shooting position, striking wide, before Popov was unable to get on the end of Maswanhise’s cross.

There was a then spell of Blackburn pressure, with Gent’s cross palmed away by Odunze and Jake Garrett’s shot blocked, ahead of Harlock teeing up Wharton, who hit a first-time effort that Brunt headed out of danger.

A crazy final few minutes followed. After Marcal-Madivadua and substitute Iestyn Hughes both saw shots blocked, there was no stopping a rocket from Suengchitthawon, who powered the ball home with three minutes remaining.

Blackburn pulled a goal back almost immediately via Harry Leonard, who got on the end of Luke Brennan’s cross to convert, but almost straight from the kick-off, Leicester were awarded a penalty by referee Steven Copeland when Eastham was adjudged to have taken down Popov as he chased a long ball into the box.

The visiting ‘keeper was shown a straight red card, leaving outfield player George Pratt in goal for the final minutes. Brunt duly stepped up to slot the spot-kick into the corner and wrap up another home triumph for City’s Under-23s.

Major moment… 

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Chris Popov
Chris Popov

Chris Popov celebrates his debut Premier League 2 strike for the Foxes.

With just one goal separating the sides at the break it was key for City to assert their dominance by doubling their advantage against a Blackburn Rovers side who were unbeaten in nine. They managed to do just that seven minutes after half-time via a sensational Chris Popov free-kick.

Who impressed?

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Terell Pennant
Terell Pennant

The opening goal came from Terell Pennant.

The front line of Tawanda Maswanhise, Terell Pennant and Chris Popov were particularly impressive, causing all sorts of problems for the Blackburn backline. Unfortunate not to claim a clean sheet by conceding late on, it was an all-round solid display.

Where do we stand?  

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Thanawat Suengchitthawon
Thanawat Suengchitthawon

A sweet strike from substitute Thanawat Suengchitthawon.

City remain fifth in Premier League 2 Division but are now just one point behind Manchester United Under-23s in the table, on 37 points from 24 matches.

Coming up...  

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Lewis Brunt
Lewis Brunt

Captain Lewis Brunt rounded off the scoring from the spot.

Another home game is coming up next Monday as Leicester’s Under-23s tackle Liverpool at LCFC Training Ground in their penultimate league fixture of 2021/22 (7pm BST kick-off).

The details...


City: Odunze, Brunt (c), B. Nelson, Flynn; Wormleighton (Hughes 86’), Alves (Cartwright 83’), Braybrooke, Marcal-Madivadua; Popov, T. Pennant (Suengchitthawon 69’), Maswanhise.

Subs not used: Chibueze, R. Nelson.

Goals: Pennant 37’, Popov 52’, Suengchitthawon 87’, Brunt (Pen) 90+2’.

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