Under-23s Held To Manchester United Stalemate
In front of a 3,425-strong crowd at King Power Stadium, Steve Beaglehole’s men continued where they left off after a four-week break from action to deliver a spirited, determined and defensively solid display which gives them a sound foundation to build upon going into their final three matches of the season.
Both sides fought out a competitive opening 45 minutes with few chances. Josh Gordon and Raul Uche Rubio linked up well for the hosts while Bartosz Kapustka and Hamza Choudhury gave them a spark of creativity but the Red Devils held firm to deny them any clear-cut openings.
The Foxes went into this encounter on a sun-drenched Filbert Way unbeaten in four and they had all the confidence of a side in such rich form. Alex Pascanu and Conor Wood, too, were providing an attacking threat on the break while also racing back to manfully cover their colleagues at the back.
However, Nicky Butt’s visitors, who had only won once in their last five outings, were proving to be a stern test. On occasions, the action got lost in an intense midfield battle. City, though, came out after the break with a newfound intent about them and Uche almost gave them the lead inside 60 seconds.
But for a superb save from visiting goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who got down well to knock a powerful effort behind for a corner, the hosts may have had a goal to show for their attacking endeavours.
Young midfielder Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, recently promoted from the Under-18s set-up, came on for Leicester at the interval to provide some extra steel in the middle of the park. City continued to surge forward in the latter stages. First Dewsbury-Hall’s long-range effort was deflected inches over the bar.
Then, just minutes later, Elliott Moore headed it across goal but, despite a neat flick-on from Gordon, it was somehow scrambled off the line. For the Foxes, one win may be enough to preserve their top-flight status but Beaglehole will hope for even better as the season hurtles towards its conclusion.
It was a case of what could have been for City. Despite having the better of the chances on Filbert Way, Steve Beaglehole’s men couldn't quite see off a stubborn, well-organised Manchester United outfit. Chances were proving hard to come by and so it was vital for either side that they made the most of them when they came along.
Spanish forward Raul Uche Rubio was a constant menace for the Foxes until being replaced by Layton Ndukwu with a little over 20 minutes still to play. After a frustrating first half, Leicester came out with their tails up and two chances fell to Uche in quick succession.
United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, however, was in fine form and managed to get a hand to both efforts. On a night of fine margins, it wasn't to be for City. They showed enough threat in the final third, however, to give them confidence ahead of the visit of Liverpool to Holmes Park on Easter Monday.
It’s been a landmark year for Leicester captain Elliott Moore and this display further adds to his growing reputation as a powerful, assured centre-back with a bright future in the game. With United sitting back and inviting pressure, it fell to City's defenders to remain alert to danger on the counter attack.
Whether it be at the back, cutting in and stealing possession, or going forward, Moore continues to prove his worth at both ends of the pitch. On a fraught evening with precious Premier League 2 points up for grabs at this late stage in the season, the occasion called for a mature head to calm the nerves.
Luckily for the Foxes, Moore is a composed figure in defence. With Josh Knight alongside him at the back, City have improved defensively in recent months. This latest rear-guard action at the back further proves how far they’ve come this season and gives them a springboard to build upon.
Where do we stand?
With just three matches remaining, Leicester sit outside the bottom two in the Premier League 2 Division 1 standings in 10th place. Following defeat for Derby County at the weekend, the Foxes climbed out of the relegation zone. It remains to be seen how many points will be required to secure survival but if they pick up three against Liverpool in seven days, they will be on the right track.
After this draw, City next welcome Liverpool to Holmes Park before a double-header of away trips to Reading and Tottenham Hotspur at the Madejski Stadium and White Hart Lane respectively. Following results at the weekend, which elevated Leicester out of the bottom two, Steve Beaglehole’s men know their fate is in their own hands as the season reaches its climax.
CITY: Iversen, Pascanu, Moore (c), Knight, Wood, Martis (Dewsbury-Hall 45), Hammond, Choudhury, Kapustka, Uche (Ndukwu 67), Gordon (Mitchell 85).
SUBS NOT USED: Bramley, Kaba Sherif.
UNITED: Henderson, Scott, Mitchell, Tuanzebe (c), Borthwick-Jackson, Boonen (Ercolani 28), Harrop, Willock (Makela 51), Redmond, McTominay, Diedrick-Roberts
SUBS NOT USED: Dunne, O’Hara, Spratt.
REFEREE: Simon Barrow
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