U21s: Manchester United 2-3 Leicester City

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By Ashley Turner

Barclays Premier League Under-21s
Manchester United vs. Leicester City
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Date: Monday, 3 November 2014
Kick-off: 19:00 GMT

Manchester United’s unbeaten run at U21 level came crashing to an abrupt end, courtesy of a 92nd minute strike from ex-Red Jack Barmby, released in the summer, as Leicester City prevailed 3-2 at Leigh Sports Village.

James Wilson had given United the lead on eight minutes (Vine of Wilson’s goal), before Leicester went in at half-time 2-1 up after goals from Joe Dodoo and Marc Albrighton.

An early second half own goal from Alie Sesay got United back into the game (Vine of United’s second goal), before Tom Lawrence, another former Red, set up Barmby, son of Nick, to win the game in stoppage time.

The opening goal of a pulsating encounter came after Andreas Pereira brought the ball out from the back and found Wilson, just inside the Leicester half, who then laid the ball off to Saidy Janko and made a surging run through the Leicester defence, received the ball back off Janko, rounded the onrushing Adam Smith, and slotted the ball into the back of the net, to give United the perfect start.

But Leicester looked eager to draw level sooner than later, with Anthony Knockaert cutting in onto his left foot and having a shot blocked behind for a corner, which caused problems in itself and hit Tyler Blackett and out for another corner, with Tom Hopper’s flick from the second corner falling wide.

Dodoo’s cross was tipped away by Ben Amos, with the ball falling as far as former United player Danny Simpson, whose shot into the ground fell to Hopper, who nicked in ahead of Amos, only for the ball to fall wide once more.

Captain Tom Thorpe hit the post with a header from Pereira’s corner before Albrighton saw a left-foot shot fly over the bar at the other end.

The Foxes continued to test Amos with Lawrence, who had already scored at this ground for United this season, setting up his new teammate Jak McCourt, whose first time effort was parried away by the United keeper.

Wilson then saw a shot over and a flick from a Pereira free-kick held, before the visitors were back on levels terms.

Knockaert found Dodoo, who expertly slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the goal from inside the penalty area.

Albrighton’s cross from the right-hand side was volleyed into the ground by Hopper, and superbly tipped over by Amos, as Leicester looked the most likely to take the lead before half-time.

They did just that.

Knockaert saw his free-kick tipped onto the bar, and as the ball came back down, hit the falling Amos on the back and out for a corner.

United failed to deal with the loose ball, and ultimately paid the price, as former Aston Villa man Albrighton smashed the ball home from close range.

Seven minutes after the interval and Ben Pearson’s surging run forward led to him spreading the ball to Keane, who cut onto his stronger right-foot, and his shot, heading goalwards, came off of Sesay as he lunged into the ball, and it found the back of the net, as Smith had already dived in the other direction.

This should have set the home side up to go on and win the game but Leicester kept on knocking at the door, with Albrighton seeing a shot deflected behind, Lawrence shooting wide and Dodoo having a shot parried by the impressive Amos.

Pereira saw a free-kick held; likewise Lawrence had a shot held at the other end of the pitch five minutes later.

Substitute James Weir had a shot blocked, but Joshua Harrop’s header back across goal on the rebound was flicked goalwards by Keane, but he failed to find any decent connection to trouble Smith.

Bar a Sesay shot over the bar, the game looked headed for a draw, only for the curse of the ex-players to strike in additional time.

As United pressed for an unlikely winner, Leicester broke away with speed as Barmby’s pass forward was chased down by Lawrence. He ran at the United defence before switching the ball across the edge of the box to find Barmby, whose left-footed strike found the back of the net, as the hosts were left to rue what might have been.

Leicester made it two wins out of two against Manchester clubs, after beating City 6-2 last time out, whilst United failed to hold onto the point that would’ve seen them leapfrog City at the summit.

A trip to Stamford Bridge looms large next Sunday for the young Reds, as Warren Joyce’s side look to bounce back in one of the toughest fixtures of the season.

Manchester United: Amos; Vermijl, Thorpe, Blackett, James; Janko, Pearson, A. Pereira (Rothwell 65); Harrop; Wilson (Weir 63), W. Keane.

Subs: Weir, J. Pereira, Rothwell, Grimshaw, Love.

Manager: Warren Joyce

Leicester City: Smith; Simpson, Sesay, Kennedy, Barmby (Panayiotou 90+3); McCourt (Chilwel 76); Knockaert, Lawrence, Dodoo; Albrighton, Hopper.

Subs: Chaudry, Maddison, Chilwel, Panaylotou, Scott.

Manager: Steve Beaglehole

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