Under-21s: City 3 Leeds 0
Young striker Jacob Blyth scored two and made another for second-year scholar Michael Cain in a comfortable night’s work for the Foxes’ young professionals, while first team stars Richie Wellens and Zak Whitbread also completed the 90 minutes on a productive night on Filbert Way.
In front of the watching Nigel Pearson, City’s youngsters, with the experience of the fitness-seeking duo of Wellens and Whitbread in their ranks, always looked the stronger side against a less-seasoned Whites outfit.
And having now taken seven points from their opening four games in the newly-established Under-21 format, development coach Steve Beaglehole can be pleased with the players’ endeavours in the early stages of the new season.
Beaglehole was given the opportunity to field three of a permitted four over-age players, with Conrad Logan, Whitbread and Wellens all given the opportunity to pick up match minutes in a competitive environment.
And against a young Leeds side with far less experience, the Foxes dominated the early exchanges.
Logan had to make a smart save from United’s Chris Dawson early-on, but from there it was all City as the hosts dominated possession, giving Wellens the chance to feel his way into the game on only his second appearance of any kind since knee surgery in the summer.
Jeff Schlupp and Harry Panayiotou worked the channels dangerously around the centrally-placed Blyth and the summer signing from Leamington should probably have done better with an early headed chance.
But Blyth redeemed himself with the opening goal on 38 minutes – wriggling away from two defensive challenges before firing a well-struck shot over Paul Rachubka from 25 yards.
Leeds briefly threatened through Charlie Clamp before half-time – the young midfielder dragging an effort wide of Logan’s goal from 25 yards.
But it was a fleeting assault on City’s control on proceedings. With the excellent Cain full of energy in the middle of the park and Blyth a focal point for several attacks, the young Foxes proceeded to take the game out of the visitors’ reach.
Cain forced a decent save from Rachubka on 47 minutes before the Whites ‘keeper denied substitute Joe Dodoo at point-blank range.
But he could do nothing to prevent Cain sweeping City into a two-goal lead on 52 minutes – the talented second-year scholar tucking Blyth’s lay-off tidily into the corner from 18 yards.
The lead was extended just three minutes later as the hosts poured forward. Wellens’ determined run to the by-line produced a clever low centre from the right, Panayiotou’s attempt to convert was cleared off the line and the grateful Blyth buried the rebound for his third goal in two Under-21 games.
Logan had to be on his toes to maintain his clean sheet moments later as he reacted well to tip over a swerving drive from Leeds substitute Luke Parkin.
But while Leeds, to their credit, continued to push forward in search of something to show for their evening’s work, it was the Foxes that looked more likely to add to the scoring – Blyth, Dodoo and Panayiotou all going close to adding a fourth late-on.
After two wins and a draw from their opening four games, the Under-21s return to action at Barnsley in 10 days’ time.
City (4-3-3): Logan; Pearson, Sesay, Whitbread, Taft; Cain, Wellens, Jones (Paratore 79); Schlupp (Dodoo 46), Blyth, Panayiotou.
Unused subs: Maduako, A. Smith, S. Smith.
Goals: Blyth 38, 60, Cain 52
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