U23s outfoxed at Leicester's King Power Stadium
West Ham United suffered their first ever Premier League 2 Division 1 defeat on Monday night when they were beaten 3-1 by Leicester City.
Kelechi Iheanacho, Vicente Iborra and George Thomas scored for the hosts, who fielded a strong outfit at the King Power Stadium.
Toni Martinez grabbed his fourth of the season to reduce the deficit with 15 minutes remaining, but the Foxes stayed strong to record their second league win of the campaign.
Leicester were the dominant side in the first half in terms of possession, though the Hammers caused their hosts problems on the break.
But it was visiting stopper Rihards Matrevics who was called into action first, saving superbly down low to his left after City summer signing Iheanacho struck across the Latvian.
Despite the periods keeping the ball, Steve Beaglehole’s team did not trouble Matrevics again until they took the lead just a minute before half time.
First, Toni Martinez slid wide from eight yards after Nathan Holland’s excellent run and pass from the left, though the Spaniard was called offside, before the winger himself shot wide after cutting back onto his right foot.
At the other end, Josh Pask threw himself in front of everything and denied Josh Eppiah as he blocked well on 30 minutes. Josh Gordon also went close for the Foxes but couldn’t cleanly connect with Iheanacho’s centre.
With the storm seemingly weathered, Terry Westley’s men conceded just 60 seconds before the 45 were up.
Former Manchester City man Iheanacho got into his stride and, approaching the edge of the box, was challenged expertly by Tunji Akinola.
The ball somehow, however, found its way back to the Nigerian on the left-hand-side of the box, allowing the forward to slot past Matrevics from close range.
And the second half began in the worst possible fashion for the Hammers. Almost straight away, Leicester won a corner and left-back Connor Wood’s delivery was a good one. Iborra – another City summer signing – was on hand to glance home and double the hosts’ lead.
Minutes later it was three. Some sloppy West Ham defending allowed Eppiah plenty of space to cross from the left, and the attacker put it on a plate for Thomas to tap in a yard from the line.
Domingos Quina threatened Eldin Jakupovic in the Leicester goal with a speculative effort on the hour-mark, but it was as close as the Hammers came to reducing City’s lead before Iheanacho nearly added a spectacular fourth.
The striker raced away down the left once again, and despite his best attempts ta add his second of the evening, West Ham sub Noha Sylvestre was on hand to smash off the line after and onrushing Matrevics had been chipped.
There was some late joy for the visitors – who had endured a horrific journey up, getting stuck for a number of hours on the M1– as Toni Martinez scored his fourth of the campaign.
The Spaniard chased down a short Benalouane back-pass before hitting the post, but sub Jahmal Hector-Ingram was on hand to set up the forward for another attempt, one he took this time with aplomb.
The Hammers could not add a second to frighten Leicester however, and Westley’s men’s focus will now turn to their home fixture against Liverpool in a weeks’ time.
Leicester City: Jakupovic, Knight (Pascanu 72), Wood, Choudhury, Benalouane, Huth, Thomas, Iborra, Iheanacho (Hughes 80), Eppiah, Gordon (Ndukwu 70)
Subs not used: Iverson, Martis
Goals: Iheanacho 44, Iborra 46, Thomas 48
West Ham United: Matrevics, Pike, Neufville (Sylvestre 14), Makasi, Pask, Akinola, Haksabanovic (Hector-Ingram 61), Quina, Martinez, Browne (Kemp 46), Holland
Subs not used: Powell, Scully
Goals: Martinez 75