Shane Flynn

Late Drama As Arsenal Defeat City In PL2

Leicester City's Development Squad were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal Under-21s in a pulsating Premier League 2 Division 1 encounter at LCFC Training Ground on Monday evening.
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Khayon Edwards netted the opener for Arsenal, ahead of Will Alves restoring parity during a frantic second half. But a Matt Smith penalty ensured the Gunners would head back to the capital with three points. 

Beaten by Sheffield Wednesday in the Papa Johns Trophy last Tuesday, two changes were made from that side, as captain Lewis Brunt and Sammy Braybrooke returned from injury, replacing Joe Wormleighton and Shane Flynn.

After a stop-start opening to the contest, the Gunners broke the deadlock a quarter of an hour in when Nathan Butler-Oyedeji's low centre from the right was bundled home by Edwards, despite the best efforts of Chituru Odunze to prevent the ball crossing the line.

Clear-cut chances remained few and far between in the first half, though, with Chris Popov's shot blocked and Butler-Oyedeji blazing over at the opposite end. Amario Cozier-Duberry came closer, though Odunze held his strike.

A trademark Alves run then sparked Leicester's latest opportunity, but when the 17-year-old opted to shoot from distance, rather than play in Popov or Tawanda Maswanhise, visiting 'keeper Karl Hein got down quickly to thwart him. 

Catalin Cirjan saw his shot deflected wide before Taylor Foran headed straight at Odunze from the resulting corner, but the score remained at one. 

And City might have levelled matters right near the end of the half when Popov sprayed a pass out to Alves, who carried the ball into the box before a cute pass through the eye of a needle back to Popov, who angled his shot just past the post. 

With Kasey McAteer and Flynn brought into the action for the second half, the home side carried added impetus and almost immediately from kick-off fashioned an opportunity. Maswanhise had to be kept out twice - firstly forcing Helm into a diving save, before Arsenal skipper Smith cleared off the line.

Despite Cozier-Duberry volleying over from Reuell Walters' cross, City remained on the front foot and got their reward courtesy of a superb solo goal from Alves. Carrying the ball forward with confidence, he unleashed an unstoppable curling strike that nestled into the corner, far out of Helm's reach. 

Booth came within a whisker away of edging Leicester ahead with a fierce strike from range and it was his last involvement, replaced by Terell Pennant while Kian Pennant also came on for Maswanhise.

The latest changes did little to disrupt the hosts' rhythm and both were involved in the build-up to creating another opportunity for Popov to flick the ball wide from an acute angle. 

Popov would be involved in the game's third goal, but not how he would have wanted, adjudged to have handled Cozier-Duberry's corner. The referee pointed to the spot and Smith smashed the resulting penalty into the roof of the net, despite Odunze diving the right way. 

City picked themselves up and Braybrooke kept Helm busy with a curling drive that had to be pushed wide, before a stoppage-time onslaught led to 'keeper Odunze almost claiming an unlikely assist, but somehow both Terell Pennant and Tom Wilson-Brown were both denied when Paul Appiah recycled the ball in the box. 

Major moment – Late drama

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Chituru Odunze
Chituru Odunze

The Foxes came close to a stoppage-time equaliser when Chituru Odunze went forward for a set piece.

The Gunners may have shaded the first 45 minutes but after the break it was a dominant display from Leicester, who grabbed an equaliser and looked set to take all three points. A dubious late penalty led to Arsenal heading back south with victory, however. 

Who impressed? – Braybrooke back in the middle

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Sammy Braybrooke
Sammy Braybrooke

The England youth international took the captaincy in the second half.

Sammy Braybrooke was back at the heart of everything that City did and created. His presence in the centre of the midfield has been missed in recent games. 

Where do we stand? – 12th in PL2

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Will Alves
Will Alves

The 17-year-old scored a stunning equaliser.

The Foxes sit 12th in Premier League 2 Division 1 after nine matches, with eight points on the board. 

Coming up – Wolves (A)

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Henry Cartwright
Henry Cartwright

The Foxes battled back into the game and were unfortunate to come out on the losing side.

City's youngsters are straight back in Premier League 2 Division 1 action in a week's time, travelling to face Wolverhampton Wanderers Under-21s at Aggborough Stadium in Kidderminster next Monday (7pm GMT kick-off).

The details...

City: Odunze; Brunt (c) (McAteer 45'), Appiah, Wilson-Brown, Lindsay; Cartwright (Flynn 45'), Braybrooke; Alves, Booth (T. Pennant 63'), Maswanhise (K. Pennant 63'); Popov.

Sub not used: Doherty. 

Goal: Alves 52'.

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