There were some intriguing PL2 results this week, including derbies in both divisions.
Michael Callander looks at the latest results, and how it leaves the table around the halfway mark of the youth season.
Division One leaders Chelsea‘s 18-year-old midfielder Lewis Bate played a key part in the Blues’ three straight PL2 wins at end of 2020, and as such has been named PL2 Player of the Month for December.
Chelsea U23s beat Leicester 2-1, Tottenham 3-2 and Manchester United 6-1 to go top of Division One heading into January.
Leeds’ Sam Greenwood was named PL2 Player of the Month in September, while Manchester City duo Cole Palmer and Liam Delap took the honours in October and November respectively.
Spurs dismantled Brighton 5-1 at the AMEX Elite Football Performance Centre on Friday night, with five different goalscorers being almost as surprising as the scoreline.
George Marsh, Kaziah Sterling and Kion Etete put the Lilywhites 3-0 up at the break. Dane Scarlett’s 68th-minute penalty put things beyond doubt.
Jack Spong pulled one back for Brighton in the 80th minute, denying Josh Oluwayemi, returning from a loan at Maidenhead United, a clean sheet. Marcel Lavinier wrapped things up and made it a five-star display in added time to move third in Division One.
Man City ran out comprehensive 4 – 0 winners over Derby County on Monday night, despite being reduced to ten men late on.
Former Rams academy prospect Liam Delap netted a hat-trick at Loughborough Academy Stadium, before being dismissed five minutes after his third strike.
Delap opened the scoring on eight minutes from a corner, but it took until the second half for Taylor Harwood-Bellis to double City’s advantage, meeting a Tommy Doyle free-kick.
Both have tasted first-team football at City this season, and it was Delap who grabbed his second and third, and City’s third and fourth, on 74 and 76 minutes.
He finished across Sykes-Kenworthy for his second, and his hat-trick goal was put on a plate for him as he tapped in after an earlier effort was pushed away.
The EDS move to within a point of Division One leaders Chelsea, and ahead of Blackburn Rovers on goal difference. Incidentally, City have the best goal difference in the division, 11 better than Blackburn and Spurs below them.
There was also a Merseyside derby in Division One as Everton and Liverpool took a point and a goal each away from Haig Avenue in Southport.
Rhys Hughes opened the scoring for the Toffees in only the second minute, but Tyler Morton found the equaliser on 35 minutes to send the sides into the break level.
Liverpool had more possession in the game, and both sides had eight efforts, but the hosts had two more on target. Given Katia Kouyate’s late dismissal just ten minutes after replacing Kyle John, Everton will probably be relieved to have taken a point.
U23s assistant manager John Ebrell said at full time,
“Credit to Liverpool, they came back into it and equalised. They made it difficult for us in the second half and we would have liked to have been more of a threat on the counter.
“But if you can’t win, you take a draw.”
The Toffees move up to seventh, ahead of Brighton after their defeat, while Liverpool profit from Derby’s heavy loss to Manchester City to jump to fifth.
Leicester City went 1 – 0 up in the first minute against Manchester United.
Jacob Wakeling found Callum Wright who put the Foxes 1 – 0 up, the pair capitalising on a mistake from United ‘keeper Matej Kovar.
Thanawat Suengchitthawon doubled the hosts’ advantage on 14 minutes before Anthony Elanga, assisted by Hannibal Mejbri, netted two minutes later, then again with the help of a Harvey Neville cross on the brink of half-time to send United into the break level.
Wakeling turned from creator to provider on 48 minutes, dinking an effort into Kovar’s far-side netting as the Red Devils’ ‘keeper rushed out to close the angle.
Suengchitthawon restored the hosts’ two-goal advantage with just under 20 minutes remaining, the Thai controlling it nicely and finishing to make it 4 – 2.
Leicester move ahead of Monday night’s opponents on goal difference and now sit ninth in Division One.
Aston Villa were undeterred by the first-team’s FA Cup exit to Liverpool, and overcame rivals West Bromwich Albion at Bodymoor Heath on Friday night.
Louie Barry scored against the Premier League champions, and scored the winner against his former club too, the ex-Barcelona youth forward striking from the penalty spot in the second half at Bodymoor Heath.
Henri Lansbury opened the scoring after six minutes, with a cross that dropped in at the far post. The young Villans went into the break with a narrow lead, which Barry doubled it from 12 yards after Lamare Bogarde won a penalty for the hosts.
Rekeem Harper reduced the arrears in injury time but Villa were able to hold on for their first win in four PL2 games, moving them up to fourth in Division 2 at the halfway stage.
Division Two’s London derby ended with Fulham taking the spoils in a 3 – 2 win at Crystal Palace‘s training ground.
Fabio Carvalho and Sylvester Jasper put the visitors 2 – 0 up within 20 minutes, but Palace hit back quickly through a Sion Spence penalty on 21 minutes, and went into the break level courtesy of a Brandon Pierrick strike into the left corner, assisted by Spence.
Jean-Pierre Tiehi restored the Cottagers’ lead in the opening minutes of the second half, keeping them ninth in Division Two. Palace remain fifth in the second tier, just one point above Monday’s opponents.
Five PL2 wins in a row. Leeds United secured their fifth consecutive win in Division Two with a narrow 1 – 0 triumph over Stoke City at Thorpe Arch.
Kalvin Phillips, returning from injury, provided the assist for Diego Llorente to put the Whites ahead on 28 minutes.
Sam Greenwood, Tyler Roberts and Helder Costa all started, with summer signing Crysencio Summerville on the bench.
It was an advantage Mark Jackson’s side would not relinquish, giving them six points from their fixtures against the Potters this season, having opened their campaign with a 4 – 0 win at Clayton Wood.
Their stellar form has taken them seven points clear of second-place as the chasing Wolves dropped points at Burnley.
Wolves will likely be disappointed to have lost further ground to the league leaders, with a 0 – 0 draw at Burnley.
James Collins’ side hit the bar in the dying minutes through Nigel Lonwijk, who arrived at Molineux from PSV Eindhoven last January.
Clarets U23 manager Steve Stone said at full-time,
“They are up at the top of our league. They spend money, they recruit well and they mix it really well.
“They have a talented side and cause you problems. We knew that but we were competitive all over the pitch.
“We lacked quality at times, but within that we got some lads who are around the first team some minutes who need a game.”
The former Nottingham Forest midfielder will take his side to the Academy of Light next Monday to face Sunderland, before travelling back up north the following week to a club Stone formerly coached, Newcastle United.
Featured image credit: dcfc.co.uk