Football: Rochdale 2 - 2 Leicester City U21

Date published: 08 November 2018

Rochdale head into the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy as group winners despite letting a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 against Leicester City U21’s who went on to earn a bonus point by winning the penalty shootout. Calvin Andrew and Jim McNulty put Keith Hill’s mixed side of youth and experience into the driving seat early on but the Premier League Academy side levelled with goals either side of half-time. The visitors missed a penalty in the 90 minutes but went on to earn the bonus point with a 4-3 shootout victory.

Before the game, Dan Adshead, Dale captain for the evening, presented his opposite number with a floral bouquet as a mark of respect to the Leicester City chairman and owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who sadly died in the helicopter crash outside their King Power Stadium on 27 October.

Sticking with his ethos of giving youth a chance, Keith Hill made eleven changes from the side that drew with Luton on Saturday. His starting eleven had five players 17 or under whilst the bench had another four 17 year olds. There was some experience with Calvin Andrew, Jim McNulty and David Perkins amongst the starting line-up.

The home side got off to a great start and raced into a 2-0 lead within seventeen minutes.

The first a powering header from Andrew from an Adshead corner whilst McNulty’s looping header after a deep corner was played back in by youngster Florent Hoti made it 2-0.

Dale looked in the mood for more but couldn’t make their dominance count against the opposition who grew into the game after getting a lifeline just before the half hour. A deep cross from the left found right back Alex Pascanu who rifled an unstoppable low shot into Norman’s net.

The visitors had the better of the second half and had Rochdale penned back for large parts of the game. McNulty was caught in possession inside the area with Ryan Loft one-on-one with Norman; his shot flashing across goal and wide.

Norman had to be alert when an almighty scramble in and around the six-yard box saw a shot at goal which the on loan Fulham keeper clawed away to keep the lead intact.

The lead was wiped out with a little under 25 minutes left on the clock. Loft was strong against MJ Williams and when he broke free he drilled a low shot that beat Norman at his near post.

The visitors twice struck the woodwork in the latter stages. Firstly Kaba Sherif saw his deflected effort come back off the right hand post whilst three minutes later, Loft struck the same post from the penalty spot after David Perkins felled substitute Will Russ inside the box.

The final minutes saw a flurry of chances for either side. Norman tipping away a shot from Leshabela whilst MJ Williams had to be alert to clear Kaba Sherif’s effort off the line with the goalkeeper beaten.

Substitute Aaron Wilbraham was denied by the legs of keeper Rhys Davies whilst Davies bravely stopped Zach Clough getting on the scoresheet when through one-on-one; the keeper needing treatment for a bloodied nose after the ball hit him square in the face.

The full time whistle meant penalties to earn a bonus point. Both sides missed their first spot kicks (Clough for Dale). Perkins and Wilbraham both netted their kicks before Hoti blazed one over the bar to hand the initiative to Leicester but Norman saved the youngsters blushes with a terrific save from Ryan Loft. MJ Williams saw his effort saved as we entered sudden death with Lamine Kaba Sherif scoring the decisive penalty to just about keep Leicester in the competition pending the result of the Bury v Fleetwood game next week.

Rochdale: Norman, Matheson, MJ Williams, McNulty, Hamzat (Hopper 74), Perkins, Hoti, Adshead ©, Andrew (Wilbraham 46), Yonsian (Finnerty 83), Clough
Subs: (not used) Lillis, Tavares, Neild, Dunne

Leicester City: Johannsson (Davies 46), Pascanu, Knight, Johnson, Ughelumba, Martis (Russ 63), Dewsbury-Hall, Kaba Sherif, Wright (Thomas 56), Leshabela, Loft
Subs: (not used) Tee, Ikpaknu, Husek, Tavares

Referee: Mr T Bramall
Assistants: Mr R Cheosiaua & Mrs N Aspinall
Fourth Official: Mr C Isherwood

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