Leicester City 4:1 Watford
City took a big stride towards the play-offs at Filbert Way on Saturday, comfortably beating Watford 4-1 with goals from Martyn Waghorn, Paul Gallagher, Jay Spearing and James Vaughan despite playing the second half with ten men…
Nigel Pearson stuck with a winning formula, picking the same side for a third game running.
The opening half hour saw an even contest with Gallagher going close a couple of times; Weale saving well from Lansbury and Graham sending a shot narrowly wide.
But City got a fortunate break in the 35th minute when DeMerit was judged to have brought Wellens down in the area, when it looked as though the Watford man had reached the ball first.
Waghorn took the spot kick and confidently stroked the ball to Loach’s left.
Five minutes later City doubled their lead when a shot from Howard was blocked and the ball looped up high in the air before being volleyed sweetly into the bottom left hand corner by Gallagher from 18 yards out.
There was more drama in time added on when Howard was guilty of a clumsy challenge on Jenkins. He was unfortunate to get a straight red card, perhaps partly due to the fact that the foul had taken place in the away fans corner, and they reacted strongly having already been wound up by a battle with the stewards.
So City faced a whole second half with ten men and Vaughan replaced Gallagher.
However, City didn’t seem to need eleven men and they stretched their lead just six minutes into the second half.
A weak clearance went to Spearing who had time to chest the ball down and then volley it past Loach for his first City goal, before setting off on a delighted celebratory run.
In the 67th minute City’s other young on-loan Merseysider also got on to the scoresheet for the first time. Vaughan’s pace and persistence saw him beat Mariappa to the ball before slotting it past Loach to wrap up the three points.
The Hornets’ only consolation came in the 77th minute when Taylor nodded in at the far post from a corner, but it had been City’s afternoon.
Although Blackpool won and are still in the race for a play-off place, City’s fate is in their own hands, and they are looking very assured at present.
Nigel Pearson remained cautious: “We are not quite there yet, but we are in a decent position. We’ve worked hard to be in this good position and now we’ve got to make sure we see that through.”
Leicester: Weale, Brown, Berner, Hobbs, Morrison, King, Wellens (Adams 58), Spearing, Gallagher (Vaughan 46), Howard, Waghorn (Kermorgant 65). Subs Not Used: Logan, Solano, Bruce, N’Guessan.
Watford: Loach, Demerit (Taylor 56), Mariappa, Harley, Bennett, Hodson (Helguson 50), Eustace, Lansbury, Cowie (Bryan 69), Jenkins, Graham. Subs Not Used: Lee, Hoskins, McGinn, Noble.
Referee: Nigel Miller (Co Durham). Attendance: 24,765.