Match Reports

Under-21s forced to settle for a draw

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Chances squandered at both ends as Albion and Leicester City draw 0-0 in Premier League 2.

By Matthew Bishop • 16 December 2023

By Bennett Dean
Samy Chouchane attacks the space as Albion look for a breakthrough.

Albion’s men’s under-21s were forced to settle for a point in Premier League 2 on Saturday as Leicester City held Shannon Ruth’s side to a 0-0 draw.

Jamie Mullins came closest to securing Albion victory but had two good chances in as many first-half minutes well saved by Leicester goalkeeper Brad Young.

But it wasn’t all one-way traffic as Amani Richards hit the bar for the Foxes midway through the second half and Tom Wilson-Brown missed from two yards with Killian Cahill stranded in the home goal.

Both teams struggled to keep possession during the early stages as light Lancing drizzle made for a greasy surface, but it was Albion who had the first real sight of goal ten minutes in.

Imari Samuels and Luca Barrington were the creators, combining well on the left to free the latter inside the box, but when the ball eventually fell to Mullins his low-half volley was deflected straight at Young.

By Bennett Dean
Ben Jackson strides forward in the first half.

The Foxes responded nine minutes later, but Arjan Raikhy smashed his first time shot from 18 yards over the bar following a well-worked corner, while at the other end Mark O’Mahony could only direct his shot straight at Young after a smart swivel on the edge of the area.

Raikhy went close again for Leicester just before the half-hour mark when Cahill palmed the midfielder’s deep free-kick behind, and from the resulting corner Harvey Godsmark-Ford headed straight at Albion’s goalkeeper from five yards.

The Leicester defender should have scored, and five minutes before the break, Mullins was also denied what seemed to be two certain goals in as many minutes.

By Bennett Dean
Mark O'Mahony runs at the Leicester defence.

Casper Nilsson created the first chance by accelerating down the right and clipping a cross into the box which Mullins met with a first time shot straight at Young, and then the Irishman saw his effort from a similar position kept out by a combination of the post and the Leicester’s ‘keeper following good work by Joshua Duffus. 

Albion were well on top as half-time approached with another Duffus delivery testing Young, and then O’Mahony lost control of the ball as he attempted to round the ‘keeper with the last action of the first 45.

The second half started in similar fashion with Albion still on top, and after Jack Hinchy’s shot from distanced failed to get through a crowd of bodies, Nilsson found space in the corner of the box but fired well over.

But while Albion had the upper hand, Leicester posed a threat on the break and Ruth’s side had Ben Jackson to thank for blocking Silko Thomas’s angled shot with a last-ditch lunge in the area.

By Bennett Dean
Jack Hinchy bursts away from his marker.

The Foxes were dangerous again just after the hour mark when Thomas got to the byline and slipped a low cross into the six-yard box, but substitute Richards was on the stretch and his shot at goal came back off the bar.

Albion’s goal began to live a charmed life as the drizzle became heavier, and Leicester should have scored in the 70th minute but Wilson-Brown missed from two yards in the slick conditions.

Richards was causing Albion problems following his introduction and soon after Wilson-Brown’s glorious chance, he ran at the heart of the home defence before shooting straight at Cahill.

Samuels was pushed further forward as Albion attempted to regain some attacking impetus and the former Reading full-back curled wide and then Nilsson came close again, smashing a volley inches past the post from 12 yards.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, both teams would have fancied their chances of stealing a winner but Richards fired into the side netting for Leicester and Ruari McConville headed Luca Barrington’s corner over.

In the end, both sides had to settle for a point and Albion now look forward to International Cup action against Lyon on Wednesday night.

Albion: Cahill, Nilsson, Samuels, McConville, Jackson, Hinchy, Chouchane (Knight 90+1), Mullins (Flower 77), Duffus, (Slater 70), O’Mahony, Barrington.

Subs not used: Reid, Atom.