Sam Hughes and Hamza Choudhury

U23s Suffer First PL2 Defeat In 11 At Chelsea

Leicester City’s Development Squad fell to defeat in Premier League 2 for the first time in 11 matches with a 1-0 reverse to Chelsea at EBB Stadium on Friday evening.

Despite a dominant display from the second-placed Foxes in Aldershot, Daishawn Redan struck for the Blues in the 53rd minute to leave the visitors three points behind leaders Liverpool.

Under-23s boss Steve Beaglehole handed a debut to Callum Wright, a 17-year-old midfielder signed from Blackburn Rovers this week, while Harvey Barnes also started.

George Thomas (inflammation), Alex Pascanu (ankle) and Admiral Muskwe (knee), meanwhile, were absent from the 16-man squad through injury.

In front of a lively crowd in Hampshire, Chelsea declared their intentions early on as Harvey St Clair galloped straight at Sam Hughes, although the Foxes defender stood tall and got it away.

Barnes, too, was impressive, sat behind lone striker Josh Gordon, and it was the Academy graduate’s free-kick that tested home goalkeeper Marcin Bulka after 12 minutes.

Connor Wood’s deliveries were asking tough questions of Chelsea’s backline and both Hughes and Darnell Johnson were unfortunate with headers wide of Bulka’s post in quick succession.

City’s early pressure continued and, at the half-way point in the opening 45, Lamine Kaba Sherif’s cross fell for Gordon to lash it towards goal, but it cannoned back off the post.

Next up, skipper Hamza Choudhury spotted Bulka off his line and, from 40 yards, elected to try his luck. The Blues ‘keeper, however, was somehow able to tip it onto the crossbar to keep it out.

Wright was making a fine impression on his debut, too, and his fearsome drive was spectacularly kept out by Bulka with seconds of the first half remaining.

Despite their dominance, City fell behind after 51 minutes. Redan turned inside the box, evading Josh Knight, to smash it into Daniel Iversen’s net against the run of play.

Hughes, Wood, Wright and Josh Eppiah all had chances in the latter stages, but the hosts were resilient to keep them at bay and end an unbeaten Foxes run that stretched back to September.

Major moment

Chelsea’s only goal was a real blow for the visiting Foxes after they had dominated the clash for large spells in an entertaining opening 45 minutes at EBB Stadium.

As the locals cried for a penalty, after Sam Hughes was accused of handling in the area, Daishawn Redan took matters into his own hands to give the Blues an unassailable lead.

Who impressed?

Connor Wood, a reliable figure for the Under-23s this season is level with Hamza Choudhury and Josh Knight among City’s highest appearance-makers on 26.

His deliveries were a constant source of panic for the Chelsea defenders in Aldershot, laying on opportunities for Sam Hughes and Josh Gordon with pinpoint accuracy.

Where do we stand?

The Development Squad currently sit in second place, three points adrift of leaders Liverpool having played two matches more than the Merseyside outfit.

Coming up…

City’s youngsters travel south on Tuesday night for a Premier League Cup clash against Portsmouth (7pm kick-off) before Arsenal visit Holmes Park in PL 2 on Monday 19 February.

The details…

Chelsea: Bulka, Sterling, James, Nartey, Chalobah, Sammut (c), Maddox (Scott 74), McCormick (Christie-Davies 74), Redan, St Clair, Castillo

Subs not used: Grant, Cumming, K. Hazard

Goal: Redan 53

City: Iversen, Johnson, Knight, Hughes, Wood, Choudhury (c), Wright (Martis 78), Kaba Sherif (Dewsbury-Hall 85), Barnes, Gordon (Ndukwu 70), Eppiah

Subs not used: Bramley, Touray

Referee: Christopher Pollard

Attendance: TBC




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