By Scott Taylor
Cameron Brannagan scored an 88th minute winner as Liverpool U21s beat Leicester City 2-1 at Langtree Park on Monday evening. Jerome Sinclair opened the scoring in the 29th minute with his third goal in two games, before Harry Panayiotou equalized for the Foxes. Captain Brannagan then scored an unlikely winner, when the ball went in off his boot as he closed down a clearance to seal the Reds’ first win of the season.
Liverpool manager Michael Beale named a strong side for the clash, with both Jose Enrique and Joao Teixiera in the starting XI. Joe Maguire was also making his first appearance since returning from a loan spell at Leyton Orient.
The Reds started the game strongly, and thought they had taken the lead in the 22nd minute, but Dan Cleary’s headed effort was ruled out for offside. Jerome Sinclair then went close for Liverpool moments later, but the striker was denied by Leicester goalkeeper Jonny Maddison.
However, nine minutes later, he made no mistake. Jose Enrique had plenty of time and space on the left wing and the Spaniard found Sinclair in the area. The striker, who had contract issues in the summer, made no mistake to score his fourth goal of the season. Liverpool were inches away from doubling their lead on the stroke of half-time, but Tom Brewitt’s was miraculously stopped on the line by Maddison.
After half-time, Leicester were a rejuvenated side. Joe Dodoo, who scored in Leicester’s Capital One Cup win over West Ham, went close from inside the penalty box. The striker tested Fulton from range moments later, and the Liverpool goalkeeper saved well from Layton Ndukwu as the visitors dominated the opening ten minutes of the half.
Fulton’s strong performance continued in the 55th minute, when he brilliantly saved a penalty from Panayiotou after he was fouled by Cleary. When Michael Cain smashed the crossbar from the rebound, Leicester knew that it wasn’t there day in front of goal. However, their fortune turned when Panayiotou headed home from close range in the 63rd minute.
Teixeira produced a fine save from Maddison seven minutes from time when the score was 1-1, but five minutes later, Brannagan found an unlikely winner. The Reds’ midfielder closed down a clearance from Joe Davis, and the ball looped into the top corner. Dodoo curled a long-range free-kick over the bar in injury time as the Reds picked up their first win of the season.
Liverpool rise to ninth in Division One, whilst Leicester fall to bottom and are still searching for their first win of the season.
Liverpool U21s: Fulton; Maguire, Cleary, Brewitt, Enrique (Randall 45’); Chirivella, O’Hanlon; Madger Gomes, Branngan, Teixeira (Hart 90’); Sinclair.
Leicester U21s: Maddison; Sesay, Chilwell. McCourt (Rowe 75’), Davis; Moore (Ndukwu 45’), Miles; Cain, Blyth (King 84’), Panayiotou; Dodoo.