Fulham’s under 18s fell to their second defeat of the season after conceding a late winner away at Leicester this afternoon. Jack Butterfil drove home the decisive goal from Kian Pennant’s cross with three minutes to play as the young Foxes climbed to the top of the southern division table.

It was a disappointing reverse for Ali Melloul’s young side, who slipped to fifth having struggled to carve out clear cut chances in the course of a frustrating afternoon. The hosts were on the front foot from the outset with the recalled Alfie McNally saving from Pennant after three minutes and skipper Joe Wormleighton lashing over as Leicester laid early siege to the Fulham goal. Harvey Araujo blocked an effort from the lively Pennant and, although Michael Olakigbe looked lively out wide, the visitors’ only serious opening arrived on the stroke of half time when Olakigbe was denied by Arlo Doherty.

Fulham began more purposefully in the second period. Olly Sanderson almost produced another superb strike from distance but Doherty pulled off an outstanding save at full stretch as the striker’s effort appeared destined for the top corner. The hosts responded with a fine run and cross from Henry Cartwright that saw a succession of shots blocked by the away defence. Olakigbe spurned a glorious opportunity when he shot straight at the keeper after excellent approach play from Imani Lanquedoc.

Pennant skied over after terrific play from Woremleighton before Fulham went close at the other end when both Jaylan Wildbore and Matt Dibley-Dias narrowly missed the target. An open finale produced a winner for the Foxes when substitute Butterfil gleefully thumped home a precise Pennant cross – and the hosts survived a desperate Fulham onslaught to claim all three points.

LEICESTER CITY UNDER 18s (3-5-2): Doherty; Wilson-Brown, Grist, Godsmark-Ford; Wormleighton, Lindsay, Cover (Butterfil 70), Dawkins, Cartwright; Popov, Pennant. Subs (not used): Chibueze, Lewis, Read, Kutshienza.

GOAL: Butterfil (87).

FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-3-3): McNally; Tanton, de Fougerolles, C. Robinson, Araujo; McCoy-Splatt, Dibley-Dias, Harris; Lanquedoc (Wildbore 71), Olakigbe, Sanderson. Subs (not used): Works, Okkas, Caton, Parker.

BOOKED: Tanton, Harris.