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Reserves squander chances

Reserves  squander chances

Much changed Leicester City Reserves failed to find the cohesion needed to avoid a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur Reserves at Hinckley United's ground tonight.

A goal in each half sealed the game for Spurs. The first came on 42 minutes through left winger Andy Reid, formerly of Forest, and the second, his 19th of the Premier Reserve League South season, was by Lee Barnard, five minutes from time.

Although pressured to begin with, Leicester had a good share of the chances, the best straight after Tottenham's opener, when left-winger Joe Hamill turned 20 yards out to crash a potential equaliser against the crossbar after good work by Max Gradel and trialist James Walker.

Earlier, Finnish International Tuomas Haapala, on trial from Manchester City, hit a fierce shot wide and right winger Gradel missed a glorious opportunity to give Leicester the lead with a first time volley from a deep Levi Porter cross which he thudded into the ground and over.

For Leicester, Levi Porter conducted much of the play from midfield, arrowing the ball in all directions with a tireless performance.

But, he was just unable to deliver a killer pass.

On one occasion he teed up a chance for Joe Hamill whose shot was blocked and shortly afterwards he broke up an attack in the left-back area then began a move which provided a brilliant opportunity for Louis Dodds.

The striker shrugged off two defenders but then spooned his shot over the bar with the goal beckoning.

Twice more Dodds broke through the Spurs backline but was halted by marginal offside decisions.

Almost inevitably, as Leicester introduced Eric Odhiambo for Max Gradel in a last quarter effort to force the equaliser, they were caught on the break with Reid supplying an excellent cross from the left which Lee Bernard despatched in clinical style.

To be fair, Leicester's centre-backs Scott Lycett and Connor Franklin generally dealt well with the League's stylish top scorer.

It was only after they were understandably instructed to push forward in those closing stages that Bernard found space for his goal and a couple of other efforts in those last minutes which might have earned him a hat-trick.

Otherwise, for Leicester, Joe Hamill had one of his better games, showing greater appetite for the ball, shooting on sight and delivering some decent crosses which failed to produce a breakthrough.

James Walker, the trialist from Charlton, enjoyed lots of possession but his ball control was too often poor and on the two or three occasions he did squeeze through, he delayed shooting and the chances were lost.

Finnish international Tuomas Haapala from Manchester City showed an ability to get his head up and pass the ball accurately from midfield - and also a willingness to shoot when the opportunity arose.

But he didn't dominate, nor did he impress as the terrier type so favoured at Leicester.

Generally he was overshadowed by the efforvescent one-time winger Porter who now seems to be warming to his midfield role.

Indeed, on occasions, Porter's deft ball control and determination made something out of nothing but how Leicester could have used someone with the class and cunning of the absent Ashley Chambers to deliver a final flourish.

First team goalkeeper Rab Douglas made a safe if unspectacular return from injury and fans among the respectable 531 crowd got the chance to see one of Spurs' legendary goalscorers, Clive Allen, on the touchline in charge of the visitors.

Altogether an interesting evening despite Leicester's lack of goals or points.

City: Douglas, Smedley, Wykes, Porter, Lycett, Franklin, Gradel, Haapala, Walker, Dodds, Hamill. Subs used Odihambo. Not used Logan, Mattock, King, Norval.

Spurs: Cerny, McKenna, Daniels, Ghaly, Huddlestone, Bunjevcevic, Marney, Jackson, Barnard, Barcham, Reid. Subs: Lewis, Burch, Maghoma, Martin, Davis.

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Writer:
Date:Tuesday March 21 2006
Time: 10:46PM

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