A strong Manchester United drew 1-1 against Leicester City with goals from Harry Panayiotou and Sean Goss.
While the result is probably a fair reflection of the game given the calibre of players in the United starting lineup, it is a disappointing outcome which may have an impact on where the Barclay’s U21s Premier League trophy ends up.
Robin van Persie was involved for the first time since he picked up an injury in February in a quest to build up minutes on the pitch ahead of the Premier League run in. The Dutchman was joined by fellow first team squad members Rafael, Jonny Evans, James Wilson, Adnan Januzaj and Tyler Blackett.
There was early danger when Sean Goss picked out Bolton loanee Andy Kellett. Kellett’s pull back to Wilson in the Leicester penalty area proved dangerous and the Foxes were fortunate that the striker’s effort was deflected just wide of the goalpost. Ex-United youth Jack Barmby, who scored against United at this level earlier this season, came close but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
Leicester’s Harry Panayiotou opened the scoring from just four yards out after poor defending from a United defence with significant first-team experience. Wilson had another shot which forced a save from Adam Smith. Wilson was involved in more good play with Rafael on the right flank but he couldn’t find an opening. Goss however as on hand to level the scores, claiming a loose ball from van Persie before passing into the bottom corner of the net. That was Goss’ first goal at U21s level.
The second half was a quieter affair with chances few and far between for both sides. Rafael was substituted just before half time with a knock to his ribs and early in the second half Adnan Januzaj was replaced after rolling over his ankle. Van Persie played just over an hour on his return from injury.
Leicester looked the more likely to claim the three points and created a couple of dangerous openings in front of United’s goal with the ball rolling across the face of goal on two occasions and the Reds fortunate that no one got on the end of the ball to claim a simple tap in.
In extra time it seemed that United would claim an unlikely victory when Wilson fired point blank at the Leicester goal but Adam Smith was equal to the effort. Weir tried to score from the rebound but Wilson was unable to get out of the way and blocked the chance.
The draw sees United stay top of the u21 Premier League table with 31 points but as things are quite tight in the league dropping two points may prove critical in relation to which team clinches the top spot come the end of the season.
Manchester United: J. Pereira, Rafael (Grimshaw 44′), J. Evans, Blackett, Kellett, Love, Thorpe, Goss, Januzaj (Harrop 54′), Wilson, van Persie (Weir 62′).
Unused substitutes: O’Hara, A. Fletcher.