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Match Reports

Tranmere Rovers 1-2 Leicester City U21s

7 January 2020

Tranmere Rovers were knockout of the Leasing.com Trophy after they were defeated 2-1 by Leicester City U21s at Prenton Park on Tuesday night.

Stefan Payne opened the scoring for Micky Mellon’s men, diverting Harvey Gilmour’s strike over the line.

George Hirst drew Leicester’s youngsters’ level with a well-taken finish on 52 minutes.

Admiral Muskwe scored what proved to be the winner for the Foxes with 16 minutes to go.

Payne captained the side as Luke McCullough made his first start since re-signing for the Club while there was a debut for 18-year-old Kyle Hayde.

George Nugent was also given his first-team debut by boss Mellon, starting in a midfield role.

Early on in the contest, the visitors went close though Hirst’s header was comfortably claimed by Luke Pilling.

Muskwe then broke at speed down the right into the Rovers penalty area, but his effort was thwarted by a combination of Carl Spellman and Pilling.

Sid Nelson was forced off injured after 16 minutes and he was replaced by another debutant, Jake Burton.

Burton almost made an immediate impact when play dropped to him in the box, but his shot struck team-mate Paul Mullin on its route to goal.

Danny Walker-Rice sent a floated pass up to Mullin, which was headed to safety by his marker.

Tranmere grew into the tie, and Payne forced goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic to tip the ball over his crossbar following a powerful effort from 18-yards.

And TRFC led on the half-hour mark after Gilmour’s drive following a corner was turned into the bottom right-corner past Jakupovic by Payne from close-range.

Hirst then looped a header from Khanya Leshabela’s deep cross from the right, which dropped just wide of Pilling’s upright.

Pilling was called into action late in the half, diving down low to his left to keep out Mitch Clark’s deflected volley.

After the restart, McCullough unleased a powerful effort from distance which was charged down and cleared.

Steve Beaglehole’s Leicester equalised seven minutes into the half, powering left-footed from the left side of the area that beat Pilling at his near post.

Mellon made his second change of the fixture just past the hour, with McCullough being replaced by Joe Blackham.

Nugent was there to throw himself in the way of George Thomas’ goal-bound strike, before Leicester had a goal disallowed for offside.

Leicester led with 74 minutes played as Muskwe profited from a lucky bounce 10-yards out to slam past Pilling into the top corner.

Lewis Sinnott was another young Rovers player to make his first-team bow, coming on for Nugent in the closing stages.

George Ray was unfortunate not to level for Rovers. The centre-back climbed above his marker to head over the crossbar from Walker-Rice’s corner.

Despite their best efforts, Rovers bowed out of the competition at the third-round stage.

Attention now turns to a Sky Bet League One clash away at Southend United on Saturday afternoon.

TRFC: Pilling, Nelson, (Burton 15) Ray, Hayde, Spellman, Walker-Rice, McCullough, (Blackham 62) Nugent, (Sinnott 82)  Gilmour, Mullin, Payne ©

Subs not used: Passant, Musuamba, Thompson, Gouldbourne


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