Cameron Brannagan scored the winner as Liverpool Under-21s came from a goal down to beat Leicester City 2-1 at Chester’s Deva Stadium on Monday afternoon. Joe Davis had put the Foxes in front in the 39th minute with a looping header. However, Liverpool avenged their 3-1 defeat to the Foxes earlier in the year when Cleary and Brannagan sealed the points for Michael Beale’s side, who moved to the top of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.
After a slow start, Sheyi Ojo had a half chance in the 14th minute, but the former MK Dons midfielder hit the side netting. Shortly after, the game burst into life midway through the first half. Danny Ward, who just returned from a loan spell at League Two side Morecambe, somehow kept the scoreline goalless. After a ball wasn’t dealt with by the Liverpool defence, Harry Panayiotou looked likely to score when he shot towards goal from six yards out. However, Welsh international Ward reacted brilliantly to tip his shot around the post.
Liverpool again had to thank their goalkeeper in the 28th minute. Another cross into the box wasn’t cleared and this time it fell to Panayiotou’s strike partner Simonas Stankevicius, but yet again Ward’s reaction were superb as he stuck out a hand to deny the Lithuanian’s header which looked to have given his side the lead.
The Reds started to grow into the game, and Ryan Kent had a penalty claim turned down after he went down as he was being challenged by Joe Dodoo. He wouldn’t have been happy with what happened moments later. Leicester went forward and for the third time in the match put a dangerous ball into the box. This time, Jack Barmby, the son of Nick was the provider. Again the Reds went second best and Davis rose above Connor Randall to finally beat Ward to give the visitors the lead in front of the BT Sport cameras.
Beale’s side recovered after half-time, and soon had their rewards two minutes before the hour mark. Alex O’Hanlon whipped in a free-kick towards the back post, and it was met by his Ireland Under-19 team-mate Dan Cleary who powered a header into the roof of the net.
Just seven minutes later, the comeback was complete. Ben Hamer punched an O’Hanlon cross straight to the Under-21s captain Brannagan, who took a touch before blasting home beyond the reach of the Leicester goalkeeper. Replays showed that Jerome Sinclair had tripped Hamer in the build up to the goal but it still stood and Liverpool were 2-1 up.
Ojo had plenty of half chances throughout the game, but the former Wigan loanee was denied a goal of his own when Hamer made a smart stop late on. It didn’t matter as the young Reds temporarily moved to the top of the Under-21s table with the victory.
Liverpool XI [4-2-3-1]: Ward; Randall, Cleary, Maguire, Hart; Brannagan (c), O’Hanlon; Wilson (Whelan 73′), Ojo, Kent (Canos 84′); Sinclair (Yesil 88′).
Leicester XI [4-4-2]: Hamer; Pearson (c), Chilwell, McCourt, Davis; Sesay, Dodoo, Rowley, Barmby; Stankevicius, Panayiotou.