Darnell Johnson

City's Under-23s Up To Second Following Everton Victory

Darnell Johnson fired Leicester City's Development Squad to a third Premier League 2 win in a row with a 1-0 success over leaders Everton at Holmes Park on Monday night.
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City’s line-up included two changes from their 2-1 victory over Chelsea in Whetstone just before Christmas, with trialist Ali Regbha earning an opportunity to impress.

There was also an inclusion for Tunisian Yohan Benalouane as an otherwise youthful Foxes line-up strived to further climb up the Division 1 standings after ending 2018 with consecutive wins.

Opportunities were few and far between for large swathes of the opening 45 minutes with neither side being able to break free from a congested midfield quagmire.

Development Squad

In Brief: Leicester City U23s 1 Everton U23s 0

Watch the best of the action from Holmes Park as the Under-23s overcame Premier League 2 leaders Everton on Monday.

While the 22 players were exhibiting plenty of industry in the middle, breakthroughs into the final third were rare occurrences as the defenders ruled supreme – until the 31st minute.

The deadlock was broken from a set-play as Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s corner was met by Johnson in the 18-yard box, with the young defender neatly cushioning it into the bottom corner.

David Unsworth’s visitors emerged from the interval with more attacking intent as substitute Josh Bowler twice forced City goalkeeper Viktor Johansson into comfortable stops.

Shortly after, Harry Charsley also tried his luck with a curling free-kick from 20 yards out, but Johansson was able to watch on as it flew over the crossbar.

A second half substitution from the hosts saw Lamine Kaba Sherif replace Regbha, providing the Foxes with more steel in the middle, in preparation for the tough final 30 minutes.

With Everton continuing to cause problems, the introduction of Ryan Loft, replacing Callum Wright, was a move which gave City height and power at both ends of the pitch.

Development Squad

Petty: City's Under-23s Were Terrific

Development Squad coach Ben Petty speaks to LCFC TV following the Under-23s' win over Everton on Monday.

Khanya Leshabela, meanwhile, joined Kaba Sherif and Loft on the Holmes Park turf to provide fresh legs over the course of the final 15 minutes.

A low drive from Bassala Sambou had Leicester worried with eight minutes remaining, but Johansson did exceedingly well to make a save down at his near post.

Bowler, too, found a pocket of space in the latter moments, shooting straight at City's Swedish 'keeper.

An 89th minute stop to keep out Fraser Hornby's effort, however, was a considerably tougher feat, but one he nonetheless achieved by racing out of his goal and saving at his feet.

With the Toffees throwing everything in five minutes off added time, the hosts did all they could to head or clear anything that came their way to seal a fourth win in a row in all competitions.

Who impressed?

In a relatively new position, in the heart of City’s midfield, Josh Knight, who usually plays in defence, was once again an impressive and valuable figure for the home side.

With their opening fixture of 2019 coming against leaders Everton, Knight, 21, was essential in keeping David Unsworth’s visitors at bay, providing the foundations for successes.

Where does it leave us?

Leicester climb up to second place in Premier League 2 Division 1 on 24 points, one behind leaders Everton, who are just one point better off.

Coming up...

A busy week awaits with two fixtures. Next Monday, they face on Swansea City in Landore, before Exeter City head to Holmes Park in the PL Cup on Wednesday (both 7pm GMT kick-offs).

The details…

City: Johansson, Johnson (c), Ughelumba, Knight, Pascanu, Benalouane, Wright (Loft 70), Dewsbury-Hall, Muskwe, Shade (Leshabela 75), Reghba (trialist) (Kaba Sherif 59)

Subs not used: Bramley, Tee

Goal: Johnson 31

Attendance: 209

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