LEICESTER CITY 2 (Schlupp 2)
STOKE CITY 1 (Alabi)
STOKE CITY'S Under-21s were denied what would have been a valiant point at the King Power Stadium on Monday evening when they succumbed to a last minute goal from Leicester’s Jeffery Schlupp.
The young Potters were the side who looked the mostly likely to claim all three points after James Alabi had cancelled out Schlupp’s first half effort, but the striker grabbed his second of the night to break Stoke’s hearts.
Leicester made a positive start to proceedings when Michael Cain found space midway inside the City half and unleashed a low shot which Daniel Bachmann gathered at the second attempt.
The Foxes continued on the front foot and grabbed the opening goal after just six minutes. First-team player Schlupp raced onto Tom Hooper’s flick and kept his composure to coolly finish past Bachmann from eight yards.
Stoke responded and were unlucky not to level when Adam Thomas narrowly curled his free-kick wide of the far post after Brek Shea had been fouled on the corner of the box.
Leicester almost replicated their opening goal on 10 minutes when Hooper once again flicked the ball into Schlupp’s path, but Elliot Wheeler was on hand to block the striker’s shot for a corner.
From the resulting set-piece the ball was worked out to Jak McCourt who delivered his cross deep inside the box and Rob Paratore headed narrowly off target.
It was the hosts who continued to dominate and Hooper was allowed time and space to force Bachmann into a smart save, before the striker got a flick to George Taft’s long throw but it failed to trouble the ‘keeper.
The Potters eventually managed to gain a foothold in the game and almost drew level. Good work down the left between Shea and Kevin Gomez released the full back but his effort was saved, before Shea tried his luck from range but the winger’s shot went just wide.
Leicester almost grabbed a second on the stroke of half-time, but Schlupp was unable to keep his effort on target from 10 yards.
It was the Potters who were quickest out of the blocks after the interval and Shea almost pulled the Potters level. Jamie Ness played the ball inside the full back for the American international to run onto and he forced the keeper into a smart save at his near post.
The Foxes were still causing City problems and had two great chances to extend their advantage, but Bachmann was on hand to deny Cain’s powerful shot before Schlupp fired wide when clean through.
Alabi was in the thick of the action moments later when he bore down on goal and forced Smith into a great save, before he grabbed the equaliser on 77 minutes.
The ball was worked into the box by the visitors and Shea’s knock down was clinically poked home from six yards by the powerful striker.
Glyn Hodges’ side were the team who seemed the more likely to grab a winner and they went close through long-range efforts from Ness, Karim Rossi and Maurice Edu.
It was the hosts however who went on to steal the winner in the final minute of normal time. After Stoke failed to clear their lines from a Taft long-throw, Bachmann made two fantastic reaction saves but he could nothing from the third effort as Schlupp fired into the roof of the net from two yards.
Leicester City: Smith, Watson, Bakayogo, McCourt, Sesay (c), Taft, Cain, Paratore (Panayiotou, 75), Schlupp, Hooper, Dodoo (Dawson, 84). Subs: Frempah, Sharpe, Dawson, Panayiotou, Anton.
Stoke City: Bachmann, Wheeler, Gomez, Edu, O’Reilly (Grant, 80), Keane (c), Thomas, Ness, Alabi, Rossi, Shea. Subs: Eve, Grant, Watkins, Ward, Barrington.