Middlesbrough 0:1 Leicester City
City bounced back from their home defeat to Preston with a victory at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night…
Nigel Pearson changed nearly half his side for this long midweek trip: Morrison replaced Neilson at right back; Hobbs returned for the injured Tunchev in central defence; , King replaced tonsilitis victom Wellens in midfield; Dyer took N’Guessan’s place; and Kermorgant made his full debut replacing Howard up front.
A poor first half unfolded in front of the Riverside’s lowest ever gate, with few chances for either side.
Johnson got round the City defence early on and forced a save from Weale, and Brown blocked O’Neill’s follow up effort.
An Arca free-kick from a decent position saile dharmlessly over.
City’s best chance of the half fell to Kermorgant whose hurried shot went wide.
The half time whistle was greeted by boos and a worrying number of limping City players making for the tunnel – Gallagher, King and especially Fryatt.
The second half brought more of the same uninspired fare and both managers brought on two subs around the hour mark – Pearson replacing his front pairing with Waghorn and Howard. Lita and Yeates came on for Boro, prompting the feeling that either the player we had on loan or the player who turned us down would be bound to score against us.
But they didn’t, despite Boro enjoying a much more lively attacking spell. Wheater sent a header too close to Weale when well placed; Johnson wasted a good chance with a badly taken free-kick and Weale produced a fantastic save to deny St Ledger from close in.
Just when it looked as though City would surely succumb to the pressure they had a great chance of their own. Jones failed to hold on to an Oakley free-kick and Hobbs sent the rebound against the post.
A minute later, with seven minutes remaining, they had another chance and they took it. Oakley went on a good run and squared for Dyer to produce a neat finish.
700 City fans went wild at this rather unexpected turn of events and were soon in full voice advising Gareth Southgate that he would be: “Sacked in the morning!”
City survived five minutes of time added on and two late scares with Weale again pulling off a great save from Yeates before Wheater sent another effort wide when it looked easier to score.
It may not have been a great game, but it was a great result for Nigel Pearson’s side.
Boro: Jones, St Ledger, McMahon, Wheater, Williams, Bennett (Digard 86), Johnson, Arca (Yeates 62), O’Neil, Aliadiere, Emnes (Lita 62). Subs Not Used: Coyne, Hines, Grounds, Franks.
Leicester: Weale, Brown, Berner, Hobbs, Morrison, King, Dyer, Oakley, Gallagher (Adams 71), Fryatt (Howard 61), Kermorgant (Waghorn 61). Subs Not Used: Logan, N’Guessan, Neilson, McGivern.
Referee: M Haywood (West Yorkshire). Attendance: 18,577.