A strong Under 21 side augmented by Jonny Evans and Robin Van Persie shared the spoils with a spirited Leicester at the King Power Stadium. United started with seven players with first team experience and will be disappointed they failed to secure all three points when James Wilson spurned a late opportunity to break the deadlock. On balance, however, a draw was probably a fair result.
United had an early chance when Wilson forced Smith to turn around his shot in the sixth minute after Januzaj had exploited space on the right side of the Foxes’ defence to set him up. However, the home side had the best of the early play and took the lead when Panayiotu latched onto a cross to drive a bullet shot past Pereira.
They almost doubled their lead when Pereira made a fine save to turn away a shot from McCourt. Soon after it was the turn of Smith to be similarly alert when he scrambled away Wilson’s effort from the edge of the area. United were picking up the pace of their game up now, however, and were soon level when Blackett’s incisive pass from defence wasn’t controlled by Van Persie but fell to Goss, who steamed through the Leicester defence to secure the equaliser.
United pressed heavily for a half-time lead and just before the break another long pass from Blackett found Van Persie, only for the Dutchman to be thwarted by Smith. The keeper was in action again from the resulting corner when he saved well to deny an Evans header.
Leicester came out with renewed momentum in the second half and a slick move almost ended with Panayiotu grabbing his second, but thankfully Pereira managed to scramble away his close range shot. Van Persie left the field after an hour and, with Rafael and Januzaj having already been forced off through injury. Although for a brief spell, United threatened when a Wilson shot was deflected wide and then when a rasping shot from Weir cleared the Leicester bar, the game became frenetic in its later stages with both sides lacking in composure.
Deep into stoppage time, Wilson fired straight at the keeper when it looked easier to score. It could prove a costly miss for United but, for now, both sides remain in contention in a extremely close finish to the Under 21 Premier League season.