Holland helps West Ham hit back for point
PUBLISHED: 16:14 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14 10 February 2017
West Ham U23 2 Leicester City U23 2
A late Nathan Holland goal gave West Ham U23s a point in their Premier League 2 Cup clash with Leicester City last night.
In what was a tight and well-fought match, the Foxes opened the scoring on six minutes after a defensive mix-up between Hammers captain Declan Rice and Josh Pask allowed forward Admiral Muskwe to steal the ball and slot past the onrushing Raphael Spiegel.
However, Rice made up for his error just five minutes later when he ran to the near post and flicked a Domingos Quina corner past Daniel Iverson to level the scores.
Midway through the first half, Leicester attacker Joshua Debayo whipped a very dangerous ball across the face of goal but no Foxes player could reach it.
And in the 29th minute, Leicester suffered a setback as midfielder Hamza Choudhury hobbled off clutching his hamstring and was replaced by Dylan Watts.
Soon after, the young Hammers were on the attack as midfielder Quina bundled through the visitors’ defence and the ball looped up after the Portuguese player was tackled and tricky winger Grady Diangana attempted a spectacular scissor-kick which flashed just wide.
However, Leicester’s high-pressing tactics were rewarded as West Ham right-back Kyle Knoyle saw his pass put Rice in trouble and Muskwe went through on goal again to grab his second of the game just before the break.
Just three minutes after the restart, West Ham striker Joe Powell had the ball in the back of the Leicester net when he tapped in after Quina’s long-range shot was spilled by Iverson, but the goal was disallowed and given as offside.
After Debayo fizzed another wonderful ball across the face of Spiegel’s goal, Hammers boss Terry Westley switched around his attack with the introductions of Dan Kemp, Ben Johnson and Djair Parfitt-Williams and West Ham began to pile pressure on the Foxes back four.
And West Ham finally broke through when left-back Vashon Neufville’s cross was headed out by Leicester centre-half Josh Knight straight to former Everton winger Nathan Holland, whose shot took a kind bounce off the ground and flew into the far corner to bring the hosts back on level terms.
Holders West Ham remain second in Group E on seven points, two behind leaders Brighton and three ahead of third-placed Nottingham Forest, and are now in a fantastic position to progress to the last 16.
As for Leicester, they are bottom of the group on two points from the four games and, even though it is still possible for the Foxes to qualify, it will be very difficult to do so.
West Ham United: Spiegel, Knoyle, Rice, Pask, Neufville, Makasi, Sylvestre (Kemp 74), Diangana (Parfitt-Williams 84), Quina, Holland, Powell (Johnson 69). Unused subs: Trott, Akinola.
Leicester: Iverson, Johnson, Moore, Knight, Pascanu, Choudhury (Watts 29), Miles, Ndukwu (Wood 90), Muskwe, Debayo, Mitchell. Unused subs: Yates, Kipre, Bolkiah.