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Match Reports

Under 18s: Forest 1-1 Leicester (5-4 pens)

16 January 2018

A dramatic penalty shoot-out victory sent ten-man Nottingham Forest Under 18s through to the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup at the expense of Leicester City.

A valiant performance from The Reds, who had Riley Harbottle sent off after 21 minutes, saw them overcome The Foxes at The City Ground.

Brennan Johnson levelled for Forest on the night after Simran Thandi had put the visitors in front, but The Reds dug deep to claim a brilliant victory.

It was a fairly open start to the game with both sides exchanging chances early on. The first opportunity arrived for the visitors as Tyrese Shade's effort was easily saved by Rudolfs Soloha, but the Leicester forward should have squared to the unmarked Luke Thomas.

Calvin Ughelumba also had a shot on goal for the visitors but fired wide before Johnson tested Rhys Davies in the Leicester goal on 10 minutes, with the stopper tipping his free kick wide of the post.

It was almost disaster for Jayden Richardson on 17 as he nearly diverted Conor Tee's cross into this own net. The Leicester man charged down the right and played a ball into the box which Thomas air-kicked and Richardson diverted past Soloha but onto the post.

There was a big blow for The Reds on 21 however as captain Harbottle was shown a straight red card. The centre back clipped the heels of Shade as he raced through on goal, leaving referee Anthony Tankard with no choice but to send him off.

After a reshuffle, The Reds looked to hit Leicester on the break and it almost paid off as Johnson came close on 32. His angled shot was parried by Davies and Luke McCormick was prevented from converting by a last-ditch tackle from a Leicester defender.

Soloha was called into action on 39 as Shade found his way clear on the right-hand side of the penalty area, and the Forest keeper did well to close the angle and stop his low effort.

The Reds faced a tough task to keep a strong Leicester side at bay and nine minutes into the second half, The Foxes took the lead. A right-wing corner was met at the near post by full back Thandi who glanced a header past the helpless Soloha.

Gareth Holmes's side kept battling and worked their way back into the game just after the hour mark. Some great pressing by Yassine En-Neyah forced goalkeeper Davies into taking a heavy touch. The Forest man capitalised and stole the ball off him for Johnson to tap home into the unguarded net.

The Reds defence performed admirably to keep Leicester at bay, snuffing out their attacks but also looking a threat on the break. The closing stages passed without any real clear-cut chances for either side and the game headed into extra time to try and find a winner.

Forest dug deep, finding extra energy reserves to keep going but Tee had a good chance for Leicester, firing just wide from 12 yards on the stroke of half time in extra time. Another chance went begging on 105 minutes as Kairo Edwards-John headed over when unmarked at the back post from a free kick, and Tee curled a free kick wide of the target two minutes later.

In the last two minutes, Thomas struck the post for Leicester before Soloha pulled off a stunning save to deny Shade from close range.

Danny Preston's teasing free kick almost found its way into the corner of the net with the last kick of the game but Jakob Stolarcyzk, Leicester's sub goalkeeper, made a fine low save with his first contribution since coming onto the pitch to send the game to penalties.

Johnson and Tee stepped up first for their sides and both converted, before sub Alex Mighten missed for The Reds. Edwards-John put Leicester 2-1 into the lead, with Preston, Ethan Stewart and Max Ram all converting for Forest and Shade and Thomas scoring for Leicester before Soloha pulled off a magnificent stop to deny Ughelumba with the crucial fifth penalty.

Into sudden death and Connor Smith converted his spot kick before Leicester captain Leshabela slipped as he stepped up, slicing his effort wide and meaning The Reds progress to face either Blackburn or Watford in the fifth round.

Forest: Soloha, Richardson (Ram 86'), Preston, Smith, Stewart, Harbottle (c), Appiah (Bondswell 57'), Charlesworth, McCormick (Mighten 97'), En-Neyah, Johnson

Unused subs: Shelvey, Barnes

Goal: Johnson 62'

Sent off: Harbottle 21'

Bookings: Preston 110', Bondswell 112'

Leicester: Davies (Stolarcyzk 119'), Thandi, Ughelumba, Gill, Heaven, Husek, Thomas, Leshabela (c), Shade, Tee, Edwards-John

Unused subs: Ikpakwu, James, Meite, Myring

Goal: Thandi 54'

Bookings: Davies 28', Leshabela 36'

Attendance: 652

Referee: Anthony Tankard


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