Under-21s battle back to draw with Foxes
Leicester City 2-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Mon 08 August 2022, 21:59|Tottenham Hotspur
Malachi Fagan-Walcott and Nile John were on target as our Under-21s twice came from a goal down to claim a point from our Premier League 2 season opener at Leicester City on Monday evening.
Trailing to Charlie Sayers' own goal inside 10 minutes at the Foxes' training ground, we showed good character to level through Fagan-Walcott shortly afterwards, the defender peeling away from the pack to convert a corner from the lively Romaine Mundle, who himself went close with a couple of efforts as we grew into the first half.
Leicester started the second period purposefully and reclaimed the lead through Tawanda Maswanhise's deft close-range finish, but back we came once again and midfielder John was on hand to fire home after Jamie Bowden's rasping shot from distance had been clawed out by goalkeeper Chituru Odunze. We looked more likely to find a winner after that, but Bowden's deflected shot was claimed by Odunze and Alfie Devine's near-post header from a corner flew into the side netting in stoppage time, ensuring honours ended even at 2-2.
Leicester forced a series of early corners and on the second phase of play from one of them, Maswanhise's ball back across goal from the left was headed into his own net via the underside of the crossbar by left-back Sayers. The hosts' lead lasted only six minutes, though, as after Mundle's deflected effort looped onto the roof of the net, the same player's resulting corner was met by Fagan-Walcott, who lost his marker and guided a first-time shot down into the ground and up into the far top corner.
A couple more menacing deliveries into the box from Mundle caused Leicester problems as the half went on while he also latched onto a loose ball in midfield and forced a sharp low save from Odunze with a shot from distance, debutant Tyrell Ashcroft also going close from similar range after breaking forward swiftly from right-back and exchanging passes with Devine.
But it was the Foxes who came out for the second half with renewed vigour and within three minutes of the restart they were back in front, Iestyn Hughes picking out Kasey McAteer down the right flank with his low centre nonchalantly slid home by Maswanhise from six yards out.
Summer signing Josh Keeley was kept busy for a spell after that, rushing off his line to dispossess the Leicester attackers and seeing a lot of the ball at his feet, but he largely kept our opponents at bay on his first competitive appearance in our colours and it was at the other end that the next goal came, John alive to the situation and applying a precise finish after Bowden's thumping strike from 20 yards was repelled by the flailing left arm of Odunze. Bowden himself nearly found a winner with a deflected shot that Odunze gratefully collected as we entered the last quarter-of-an-hour, with Devine left kicking himself after heading wide late on. The hosts still carried a threat, though, and substitute Marqes Muir was on hand deep into stoppage time to ensure they had no way through.
Reaction on SPURSPLAY
'We didn't start well enough'
Under-21s Coach Wayne Burnett was frustrated at the manner in which we started both halves. He told SPURSPLAY after the game: "In spells we played some decent football but I was very, very disappointed with the start, the first 10 minutes of the first half and the first five or 10 minutes of the second half... we didn't start well enough and gave Leicester two goals so that was disappointing, but we showed good character to come back from that. This group of players has got real drive, they've got personality, they have character and they kept going right until the end. We probably didn't play as well as I know we can, but we've come up against a good Leicester team so being a goal down and then being a second goal down and coming back, you've got to give the players some credit."
Highlights on SPURSPLAY
Leicester City 2-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Leicester City: Odunze, Hughes, Brunt (c) (Wormleighton 46), Braybrooke, Appiah, Flynn, Fitzhugh (K Pennant 77), McAteer, Maswanhise (T Pennant 77), Alves (Ewing 57), Marcal-Madivadua. Substitute (not used): Doherty.
Spurs: Keeley, Ashcroft, Craig, Fagan-Walcott, Sayers (Donley 60), Bowden (c) (Muir 84), Mundle, Cesay, John, Devine, Santiago (Mathurin 64). Substitute (not used): Maguire.
Goals: Leicester - Sayers (OG) 10, Maswanhise 48; Spurs - Fagan-Walcott 16, John 66.
Yellow cards: Leicester - Braybrooke 89, T Pennant 90+2; Spurs - Fagan-Walcott 39, Ashcroft 45.
Referee: Wayne Cartmel.
Venue: Leicester City Training Centre.
Weather: Bright sunshine, 23 degrees.