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Tuesday 18 February 2014

Barclays U21s: Fulham falter as Sunderland close in

Black Cats move to within three points of summit as Fulham lose 3-1 at home to Leicester

  • Kostas Mitroglou played 90 minutes but could not prevent Fulham slipping to a rare defeat

  • Kortney Hause clears for Wolves under pressure from Sunderland's Adam Mitchell

  • Eusebio Bancessi tries to get things moving for Wolves

  • Liam McAlinden (right) missed a penalty for Wolves

  • Tom Young's sparked Bolton's revival with a second-half penalty

  • Georg Iliev's quickfire hat-trick sealed a memorable away win for Bolton

  • Arsenal's Gedion Zelalem comes under pressure from Reading goalscorer Craig Tanner

Fulham 1-3 Leicester City

Barclays Under-21 Premier League leaders Fulham suffered only their second defeat of the season when they were beaten at home by Leicester City on Monday night.

Kostas Mitroglou played 90 minutes in a Fulham shirt for the first time, while fellow new arrivals Ryan Tunnicliffe and Larnell Cole were also handed a place in the starting line-up alongside defender Matthew Briggs, but it was to prove a disappointing evening for Kit Symons' charges as Leicester produced an impressive win.

Leicester took the lead thanks to Jacob Blyth's first half finish, and although Mananga Jonathan Buatu restored parity shortly after the restart, a close range effort from George Taft following a corner put the Foxes back in front, and Michael Cain sealed all three points with a late strike.

The victory lifts Leicester to ninth place, while Fulham have opened the door to Manchester City and Sunderland, who both lie three points behind with a match in hand.

Fulham report | Leicester City report

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Sunderland

Sunderland extended their unbeaten run to five Barclays Under-21 Premier League matches with victory over an experienced Wolverhampton Wanderers side at Compton Park.

"I thought both individually and collectively we were excellent"
Kevin Ball, Sunderland

Wolves included nine first-team players in their team and could have taken the lead from the penalty spot after 19 minutes when Matt Doherty was fouled by Liam Agnew but Liam McAlinden's spot kick was saved by Joel Dixon.

Wolves goalkeeper Aaron McCarey then handed Sunderland a fortuitous lead when his clearance fell straight to George Honeyman, who provided Agnew with a simple finish into an empty net. Honeyman caused more problems in the second half and won his side a penalty in the 53rd minute when he was fouled by Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Jordan Laidler converting the penalty high into the goal.

The match was played in difficult, windswept conditions and despite long spells of pressure from Wolves, Sunderland claimed a win to keep up the pressure on their rivals at the top of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League table. 

"I thought both individually and collectively we were excellent," Kevin Ball, Sunderland's development squad coach, told the club website. "It was a really good game and, to be fair to Wolves, they had a right go at us but we were superb in both defence and attack.

"Our effort, not necessarily in terms of running, but in terms of a willingness to get on the ball and make angles for one another to receive the ball was very good and, as I say, I thought we were excellent."

Wolverhampton Wanderers report | Sunderland report

Tottenham Hotspur 2-5 Bolton Wanderers

Bolton Wanderers substitute Georg Iliev scored a five-minute hat-trick to help his side secure a come-from-behind victory against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday afternoon.

The home side, who had midfielder Sandro and defender Danny Rose in their starting line-up, looked as if they were heading for a straightforward victory when Souleymane Coulibaly and Shaq Coulthirst put them 2-0 ahead in the first half.

But Wanderers were given a lifeline on 67 minutes with the dismissal of Dominic Ball for a foul on Robert Hall, Tom Youngs pulling a goal back from the resulting penalty.

Chris Lester bundled in the equaliser at the back post before Iliev's treble sealed the win. The first was from close range before he fired a shot inside the near post with nine minutes to go. He completed the hat-trick on 84 minutes when he turned in Hall's cross.

Tottenham Hotspur report | Bolton Wanderers report

Reading 2-1 Arsenal

Reading ran out winners over Arsenal as almost 3,000 fans took advantage of free tickets to watch the young Royals complete a comfortable victory at the Madejski Stadium.

Craig Tanner opened the scoring for the hosts just before the half-hour mark with a fine finish after great approach-play by Sean Long and Aaron Tshibola doubled their advantage, appearing unmarked to finish coolly following neat build-up play down the left wing.

Arsenal recovered from their slow start to reduce the arrears in first-half stoppage time as Isaac Hayden rifled a low effort under goalkeeper Dan Lincoln, but the Gunners were unable to find an equaliser and narrowly avoided shipping a third goal when Gozie Ugwu crashed a shot off the post with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Reading report | Arsenal report

Aston Villa 4-2 Blackburn Rovers

Aston Villa are level on points with the Gunners after producing a fine four-goal display against Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park.

Gordon Cowans' team produced a four-goal salvo of the highest quality, with Graham Burke scoring twice, and Jerell Sellars and Callum Robinson also on target, and although Bryan Dabo struck two late goals for Blackburn, the France Under-21 international's brace arrived too late to salvage the match,

Villa took the lead in style midway through the first period when Robinson was tripped 20 yards from goal and Burke stepped up to drill a low free-kick into the bottom corner. Rovers almost equalised on 39 minutes when Jordan Preston's shot cannoned off the underside of the bar after he met Bradley Bauress' cutback, but Villa survived to extend their lead four minutes after the restart when Sellars met Robinson's corner with an acrobatic volley at the near post.

Sellars was instrumental in the third goal moments later, racing on to Jordan Graham's through ball before squaring to Burke fire high into the net on the turn and, on 64 minutes, Robinson cut inside and curled a shot into the far corner to make it 4-0. 

Blackburn responded with two consolation strikes as Dabo connected with Connor Mahoney's low free-kick and the on-loan Montpellier striker then pounced on a loose ball to squeeze a shot past Siegrist at the near post.

Aston Villa report | Blackburn Rovers report

Barclays U21 Premier League results

Monday 17 February
Aston Villa (Burke 2, Sellars, Robinson) 4-2 Blackburn Rovers (Dabo 2)
Fulham (Buatu) 1-3 Leicester City (Blyth, Taft, Cain)
Reading (Tanner, Tshibola) 2-1 Arsenal (Hayden)
Tottenham Hotspur (Coulibaly, Coulthirst) 2-5 Bolton Wanderers (Youngs, Lester, Iliev 3)
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Sunderland (Agnew, Laidler)

Friday 14 February
Chelsea P-P Liverpool
Manchester City (Cole) 1-0 Stoke City
West Ham United (Whitehead) 1-0 Southampton

Barclays U21 Premier League fixtures

Kick-offs 7pm GMT unless stated

Friday 21 February
Stoke City v Liverpool, Britannia Stadium

Monday 24 February
Manchester United v Sunderland, Salford City Stadium
Reading v West Ham, The Camrose

Wednesday 26 February
Norwich City v Everton, Carrow Road

Thursday 27 February
Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Anfield

Find out the full Barclays Under-21 fixture list here and view the table here.

To discover all Under-21 Premier League Cup results to date, click here.

You can follow developments on Twitter with the Premier League's account @premierleague or via the hashtag #BU21PL

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