Joe Wormleighton

City's Pre-Season Underway With Notts County Encounter

Leicester City's first pre-season fixture of 2022 saw 22 players in action during a 2-1 defeat by Notts County at LCFC Training Ground on Saturday afternoon.
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A well-taken opener from Harvey Barnes had the Foxes ahead on 31 minutes, however Notts County scored in either half through Kairo Mitchell and Aden Baldwin as City's first pre-season match ended in a narrow loss.

For the opening fixture of Leicester's 2022 friendly schedule, manager Brendan Rodgers fielded two separate starting XIs for each half, with the second including two Development Squad trialists, as the Club's stars continue to filter back after the summer break.

Among those to feature in the opening 45 minutes were France youth international Wesley Fofana, Academy graduates Barnes, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Hamza Choudhury and Zambia striker Patson Daka, while the side was captained by Ricardo Pereira

Leicester enjoyed plenty of the ball in the opening moments, with Dewsbury-Hall whipping an inviting cross into the box that couldn't be met by a team-mate. At the other end, youngster Shane Flynn produced a timely challenge to halt an attack from the visitors.

Next to threaten, this time down the right flank, was forward Callum Wright, however his tempting delivery avoided everyone and Notts County were able to tidy up. More positivity down that wing led to Ricardo and Wright combining before the latter picked out Barnes, who drilled narrowly wide of the far post. 

The Foxes No.7 threatened again on the half-hour mark, this time taking his opportunity. A well-weighted through-ball from Daka released Barnes, who took a touch before slotting beyond Sam Slocombe to net City's first goal of pre-season.

However, the visitors restored parity just before the break, when former Fox Mitchell hooked a loose ball beyond Daniel Iversen. In the closing stages of the first period, Wright struck the post as City went close to regaining their lead, and then Slocombe had to be on hand to gather the ball on the line after the midfielder made a direct run into the box.

After the interval, an all-new XI took to the field, with Nigeria frontman Kelechi Iheanacho captaining a youthful side for the second 45 minutes in Seagrave. Three minutes into the half, Tawanda Maswanhise had a shot cleared off the line, and then curled high and wide during what was a bright start from the Development Squad attacker.

Both outfits were showing their attacking intent, and at the other end, Brad McGregor side-footed narrowly wide of Jakub Stolarczyk's left-hand post as Lewis William's side tested the Leicester defence. Stolarczyk then made a lovely two-handed save from a Kyle Cameron header.

The Poland youth international was there again after the hour mark, producing a brilliant save on his line to prevent Tobi Adebayo-Rowling from converting Adam Chicksen's delivery. 

The visiting outfit did, however, beat the defiant Stolarczyk when Baldwin rose highest to an incoming free-kick to nod his side in front. Only a superb save from substitute goalkeeper Tiernan Brooks stopped Ethan Fitzhugh from drilling into the bottom corner after the midfielder was teed up by Iestyn Hughes

Then came a crashing attempt from Iheanacho, who curled the ball onto Brooks' right-hand post with around five minutes to play. That signalled the last major moment of the game, though, with City's stars gathering valuable minutes during their first game back.

Major moment – Notts County's winner

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Jakub Stolarczyk

Jakub Stolarczyk twice saved well after coming off the bench at half-time.

Although City looked good value for their lead when Harvey Barnes struck on 31 minutes, two Notts County goals, with the winner coming from Aden Baldwin, meant the visitors emerged victorious. Second-half substitute goalkeeper Jakub Stolarczyk, meanwhile, made two impressive saves despite Baldwin's header.

Coming up – OH Leuven (A)

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Iestyn Hughes

Iestyn Hughes forced Sam Slocombe into a good, low save in the second half.

In a week's time, the Foxes will head to King Power at Den Dreef Stadion to tackle OH Leuven in their second fixture of pre-season.

All times BST.

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