U21s Report: City 2 Sunderland 3

City stars Anthony Knockaert, Ignasi Miquel and Zoumana Bakayogo all got 90 minutes under their belts in Monday night’s last-gasp 3-2 defeat to Sunderland in the Barclays U21 Premier League.

Youngsters Joe Dodoo and Ryan Watson were both on target for City in what turned out to be a well supported and hugely entertaining first Future Foxes fixture to be played at King Power Stadium this season.

Steve Beaglehole’s side were made to do things the hard way at King Power Stadium after Billy Knott had fired Liam Marrs’ cross into the net on 16 minutes to give the visitors a half time lead.

However after the break City looked to have all but secured three points - substitute Dodoo guided Bakayogo’s left wing cross into the corner with his first touch before just six minutes later, young trialist Watson drove a left footed effort into the same corner to make it 2-1.

But with four minutes to play Jordan Laidler leveled the match from the penalty spot and just as three minutes of stoppage were indicated, Mickael Mandron fired low into the corner to win it for Sunderland.

Next up for City’s U21s is a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Saturday before they play host to Liverpool’s U21s in the next Future Foxes at King Power Stadium on Monday 2 September at 7pm.

It was a strong side for The Foxes to start the match, boasting nearly 500 first team appearances between them and lining up in a familiar 4-4-2 system that saw Harry Panayiotou partner Tom Hopper in attack.

City were quick to show their intent to take the game to their visitors, when in the second minute Alie Sesay’s ball from the right was met by Ben Marshall with a right foot volley, which whistled wide at the far post.

It was another cross from the right that gave City their next opening too – good work from Panayiotou in the corner allowed trialist Archange Nkumu to put a well-placed ball onto Hopper’s head in the middle, but with Sunderland ‘keeper Joel Dixon beaten, it rattled the crossbar.

Despite their impressive play with the ball it was in fact the visitors who surged into the lead on 16 minutes through young striker Knott, as he raced into the box and fired home a Liam Marrs cutback past Conrad Logan for 1-0.

The opening period was certainly a lively one though – just a minute after the goal Panayiotou forced an excellent save from Dixon with a low shot while at the other end, Adam Mitchell’s curling effort brought about an acrobatic stop from Logan to tip the ball over.

City continued the pressure on the half hour mark with a flurry of chances. First Knockaert’s powerful shot was blocked, as was Panayiotou’s follow up before a drive from Sesay disturbed the side netting.

Academy Player of the Season, Michael Cain was then introduced for Hopper in City’s first change while the chances still kept coming – Marshall shooting wide from 18 yards and Panayiotou blazing a good chance over after his backheel had fooled the defence. They just couldn’t make the breakthrough though and as a result went into half time 1-0 down.

Beaglehole replaced trailist Nkumu with Dodoo at half time, and it proved to be an inspired substitution as the youngster made an immediate impact - scoring with his first touch.

Bakayogo burst down the left wing and put in a wonderful low cross that fell into the path of Dodoo. The England youth international then calmly opened his body up to steer the ball into the far corner from eight yards out, leveling the scores at 1-1.

The goal certainly livened up an already impressive City, who were then able to take the lead on 53 minutes through trialist Watson. The youngster picked up the ball on the edge of the area before working it nicely onto his left foot and finding the same bottom corner as Dodoo had minutes earlier to make it 2-1 to The Foxes.

The excellent and lively Marshall then made way for youngster full back Callum Elder with ten minutes left in a match that City were seemingly unable to put to bed.

It soon looked like they might do just that though, albeit with a helping hand from the hosts, but after a woeful back pass, Black Cats ‘keeper Dixon was quick off his line to deny Dodoo a second.

With just four minutes to play, all City’s hard work was undone, as the referee pointed to the spot when Sunderland midfielder Duncan Watmore was adjudged to have been tripped by Bakayogo inside the area.

Substitute Laidler stepped up to the mark and sent Logan the wrong way, firing low into the bottom left corner to level the scores at 2-2.

It was to get worse for The Foxes though, as in the first minute of stoppage time, Mandron twisted and turned inside the box and unleashed an unstoppable low shot into Logan’s bottom corner to snatch a last gasp 3-2 victory for his side.

City (4-4-2): Logan, Sesay, Bakayogo, Nkumu (Dodoo 46), Miquel, McDonald, Marshall (Elder 79), Watson, Hopper (Cain 28), Panayiotou, Knockaert

Subs not used: Taft, Smith

Goals: Dodoo 47, Watson 53

Sunderland (4-4-2): Dixon, Marrs, Ferguson, Agnew, McNamee, Harrison, Watmore, Gorrin (Laidler 74), Mandron, Knott, Mitchell (Honeyman 63)

Subs not used: Stryjek, Cartwright, Holland

Goals: Knott 16, Laidler pen 86, Mandron 90

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