Chelsea’s development squad finished the fixtures for 2018 with an away defeat having levelled the scores against Leicester before half-time, but then conceded the winner shortly after the restart.
It was a fairly balanced opening 45 minutes, with Charlie Brown scoring for the Blues just past the half-hour mark with one of the best pieces of football of the night. Leicester, who had taken the lead 10 minutes earlier, took the initiative in the second period and were worthy of their win.
Coming into this match at the Foxes’ Holmes Park venue, Joe Edwards’ side were on a run of two wins and a draw from their past three PL2 games, all London derbies.
Up in the Midlands tonight, there were two changes from the side which beat West Ham at home in the previous game, with Richard Nartey added to the defence and Josh Grant pushed wider on the right, with Tariq Lamptey appearing further north in the FA Youth Cup tie away against Manchester United, which was taking place in parallel.
With midfielder Billy Gilmour also in the Under-18s side further north, there was a chance for Pierre Ekwah-Elimby to appear in a development squad game for the first time.
Chelsea really should have been ahead inside two minutes of this game, after the Leicester keeper could only push out a Juan Castillo low cross, but George McEachran, fresh from being on the senior side’s bench away to MOL Vidi last week, skimmed the top of the crossbar with his shot.
The home side retaliated with an effort from their centre-forward Admiral Muskwe which took a touch off a Chelsea player to go behind for a corner, before it was the turn of our tall central striker Martell Taylor-Crossdale. He reached another Castillo cross, higher than the previous one, but could not direct his header sufficiently. His partner up front, Charlie Brown, shot well over soon after.
Midway through the half, Chelsea went behind to a well-worked and pacy Leicester attack. Tyrese Shade advanced through the middle and played a reverse pass to Callum Wright who found the bottom corner.
With half-an-hour gone, a goal-line clearance from Alex Pascanu prevented a Chelsea equaliser. The centre-back denied Taylor-Crossdale after Castillo had again opened up our opponents down their right-hand side, but it did not take much longer for Brown to net the leveller from close range after he had combined superbly with Conor Gallagher to carve a hole in the Foxes defence.
That was with 32 minutes on the clock and before the break, Nartey found himself in an advanced position having nicked the ball and then burst through a tackle but our central defender shot just wide.
Leicester re-took the lead four minutes after half-time thanks to a powerful burst forward from the scorer Shade and a shot which was aided by a deflection.
Wright then fired wide for the Foxes and Pascanu nodded a corner off target, a free header. Chelsea were looking more vulnerable and were under more sustained pressure than during the opening half.
Gallagher tried to seek out Taylor-Crossdale with a through ball but Leicester continued to be the side threatening their opponents’ goal as the game drew to its close.
The result means Leicester move above us on goal difference into fourth place in the PL2 table. The Chelsea dev squad season resumes on Monday 7 January when Blackburn are the visitors to Aldershot.
Chelsea Jamie Cumming; Joseph Colley, Richard Nartey, Marc Guehi; Josh Grant (c), George McEachran, Pierre Ekwah-Elimby (Luke McCormick h-t), Conor Gallagher, Juan Castillo; Martell Taylor-Crossdale, Charlie Brown.
Unused subs Jared Thompson, Jordan Aina, Renedi Masampu, Armando Broja.
Scorer Brown 32
Leicester Johansson, Johnson (c), Ughelumba, Kaba Sherif (Ramsay 75), Knight, Pascanu, Dewsbury-Hall, James, Muskwe (Leshabela 89), Wright, Shade (Edwards-John 90+2).
Unused subs Davies, Tee.
Scorer Wright 22, Shade 49