Barclays Premier League Under-21s
Leicester City vs. Manchester United
Venue: Kings Power Stadium
Date: Monday, 20 April 2015
Kick-off: 19:00 BST
Manchester United U21s came from behind to draw 1-1 with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
The in-from Foxes, who beat United in stoppage time in the reverse fixture, took an early lead through the U21 Barclays Premier League’s Player of the Month for March, Harry Panayiotou, before Sean Goss equalised just after the half hour mark.
Goss’ goal was assisted by the returning Robin van Persie from injury, whilst Rafael, Tyler Blackett, Jonny Evans, Adnan Januzaj and James Wilson also received starts, in what was a strong United team.
The first action of the game came via a quick free-kick on the halfway line taken by Goss, who played Andy Kellett in on the left-hand side, and the full-back’s pull-back found Wilson, but his shot deflected off of Joe Davis and behind for a corner.
The opposition left-back Ben Chilwell saw a testing cross headed clear by Evans, but the ball fell to former Red Jack Barmby, and his left-footed shot from the edge of the area fell just over the bar.
Leicester’s number nine then made it nine goals in nine appearances as Panayiotou finished off Anthony Knockaert’s delightful cross, after being allowed space to deliver from Kellett’s slip.
Chilwell had the beating of Rafael once more and he saw his low cross cleared by Tyler Blackett, allowing Jak McCourt to get a shot away, which was scooped behind for a corner by Joel Pereira.
A subdued Van Persie then teed up Wilson and the latter shifted the ball onto his favoured left foot, and his curling effort was parried by Adam Smith in the Leicester goal.
Blackett brought the ball out of the defence, playing a through ball to Van Persie, whose touch allowed Goss to burst through from the midfield, taking three touches into the box and firing the ball past Smith, to get United back on level terms.
Netherlands captain Van Persie then saw a shot blocked and the loose ball fell to Wilson, but a rush of blood to his head saw him slice a shot wide of the goal.
The impetus really was with United at this stage and Kellett’s pull back fell to Goss, who saw his shot blocked behind for a corner.
Rafael then took an accidental knee to the ribs, as he and Knockaert went up for a header, leaving United with 10 men as he received treatment off the pitch. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he was unable to carry on, as Liam Grimshaw came on in his place and moved into the midfield as Donald Love slotted into the right-back position.
Evans’ header from a Januzaj corner produced a fantastic save by Smith, as the teams ended the first half all square.
Grimshaw saw a shot deflected wide early after the interval and at the other end, goalscorer Panayiotou laid off Joe Dodoo who took on the shot, put it fell into the path of the former, and Pereira was forced to make a smart save from close range.
Januzaj was the next to be forced off with injury, after rolling his ankle and his replacement Josh Harrop saw a shot fly wide.
Love’s low cross from the right found Wilson, who took a touch to set, before his shot was deflected behind.
Harrop then found James Weir, on for Van Persie, and Weir’s shot from the edge of the area went just over the bar.
Knockaert saw a free-kick held with ease before Panayiotou’s ball across the goal was missed by Dodoo as the ball rolled out of play.
Captain Tom Thorpe played a ball into the left-hand channel for Wilson, and the pacey striker ran at Liam Moore, before dragging his shot wide of the target.
Wilson then played in Kellett, and the latter’s pull back returned the favour, but Wilson’s shot forced a point blank save out of Smith, and the game drew to a close with honours even.
An even first half, with United edging the second, but coming from a goal down away from home against a team that had lost just once in nine games beforehand, will please Warren Joyce.
Another 1-1 draw at this level, down at Carrow Road, saw Everton also come from behind to earn a point against Norwich City, a result that sees United remain top of the league.
Fulham away awaits next Tuesday at Craven Cottage, with Manchester City and Southampton to come at home, as the U21 season nears its conclusion.
Manchester United: J. Pereira; Rafael (Grimshaw 44), J. Evans, Blackett, Kellett; Love, Thorpe, Goss; Wilson, Van Persie (Weir 62), Januzaj (Harrop 54).
Subs: Grimshaw, O’Hara, Weir, Harrop, A. Fletcher.
Manager: Warren Joyce
Leicester City: Smith; Sesay, Davis, Moore, Chilwell; McCourt, Hammond (Stankevicius 68); Knockaert, Barmby (Rowley 75), Dodoo; Panayiotou.
Subs: Miles, Maddison, Rowley, Scott, Stankevicius.