Roles outfoxes Leicester as Under-23s win
Leicester City 1-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Fri 08 March 2019, 21:34|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-23s came back from a goal down to secure their first Premier League 2 win of 2019 on Friday night with a 2-1 triumph over Leicester City thanks to a second-half brace from Jack Roles.
The Foxes had taken lead at Holmes Park through Khanya Leshabela on 20 minutes after he fired in from the edge of the box, but we were level four minutes into the second period as substitute Roles poked home. Then, with just eight minutes left, Roles popped up again in the box to secure an important win.
We had started on the front foot on what was a chilly night under the lights in Leicester and we were close to taking the lead with just two minutes gone but Harvey White could only steer his curling free-kick narrowly wide of the near post.
No sooner had the ball been put back into play though, the home side were straight up the other end and had a chance of their own. The creative Leshabela turned to tee up Lamine Kaba Sherif, who smashed the moving ball towards goal, only to be thwarted by a superb save from Brandon Austin. That would set the tone for the night as the game quickly became an end-to-end encounter, with both sides pushing to get themselves in front.
On 16 minutes, we again came agonisingly close to taking the lead as J’Neil Bennett’s fizzing shot was deflected just inches wide of goal, but it was the Foxes who would strike first as four minutes later, Leshabela fired through a sea of bodies in the box to break the deadlock. The goal had followed a spell of sustained pressure from Leicester, who were pressing high – a period that wasn’t halted until the introduction of Roles on 34 minutes.
The midfielder entered the fray and moved into a central role, allowing the pace of Bennett and Shilow Tracey to be utilised on the wings and to cause the Foxes’ full-backs a few issues. The substitution began to force the home side backwards and started to deliver a few openings for us.
After the restart, we continued in the same manner in which we had finished the first period and it immediately paid dividends. Getting himself into the box, Roles put us back on terms as he squeezed the ball home from close range with 49 minutes gone. That leveller certainly turned up the heat on a cold night as both sides were pressing hard to get that next, crucial goal. Chances, however, started to become few and far between.
In the space of three minutes late in the game, though, each side would have a golden opportunity to win, but only one would take it. The first chance on 79 minutes fell to the home side – a gilt-edged opening that they squandered. Callum Wright was released down the right-hand side of the box and after making it to the byline, the winger cut the ball back for Admiral Muskwe, who, with the goal at his mercy, sent it over the crossbar.
The second opportunity fell to the feet of Roles and the midfielder would make no mistake from seven yards out. He once again was in the right place at the right time and as the ball came across the box, he tapped it in to secure our win.
In the final seconds of the game tempers started to flare, which saw Calvin Ughelumba dismissed for an off-the-ball incident.
The introduction of Roles changed the game and the midfielder offered us another attacking outlet.
Constantly putting himself into the centre of the box, he continued to get into dangerous areas and that saw him get both goals on the night.
Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett said: “I felt that we didn’t play particularly well in the first half. We lacked energy, we lacked bravery and we lacked a little bit of belief, but it was a completely different game in the second half. On reflection, we slightly edged it and probably deserved the win.
“We weren’t getting much success (in the first half) in the way we were playing so we put Jack (Roles) on and moved Shilow (Tracey) out wide, which enabled us to build a little better. Jack not only came on and helped with that, but Jack did what he does and scored two goals.
“I said to the the players that we really have to believe. We have to create this mentality, this will, this want and this desire in order to be successful and they certainly showed that in the second half so credit to them. I think (our position in the league table) looks a lot healthier. We’ve got three games remaining and we'll be going out, as we always do, to try to win those matches.”
Leicester City 1-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Leicester City: Jakupovic, Sherif, Ughelumba, Dewsbury-Hall, Hughes (c), Pascanu, Wright, Leshabela, Muskwe, Ndukwu (Loft 80), Allen (Shade 76). Substitutes (not used): Heaven, Johansson, Tavares.
Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Cirkin, White, Lyons-Foster, Dinzeyi, Oakley-Boothe (Roles 34), Marsh (c), Tracey, Maghoma (Duncan 84), Bennett (Walcott 90+2). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Markanday.
Goals: Leicester – Leshabela 20; Spurs – Roles 49, 82.
Yellow cards: Leicester – Ndukwu 69; Spurs – Bennett 61, Tracey 90.
Red card: Leicester - Ughelumba 90+4.
Referee: Peter Gibbins.
Venue: Holmes Park, Leicester.
Weather: Cloudy, seven degrees.