Leicester City 2:1 Sheffield United
Nigel Pearson made two changes to his side with Neilson and McGivern returning for Berner and Brown; Hobbs and Morrison forming the centre-half partnership. Hobbs went down injured in the first minute but recovered after lengthy treatment.
An exciting, end-to-end game unfolded in front of a decent sized Boxing Day crowd. Former City-player Jordan Stewart should have put the Blades ahead early on when he had a sight of goal and some space, but his shot thumped straight into Weale’s chest.
At the other end a wild slice from Montgomery was heading for the top left hand corner but Bunn managed to tip it over the bar at full stretch.
Bunn had to perform another fine save in the 25th minute when Morrison connected beautifully with a shot from 35 yards. The resulting corner was delivered from the left byOakley; Bunn came out to claim it and missed, and Morrison muscled his way in to head home at the far post.
Eight minutes later City made it 2-0. Fryatt found himself some space on the right and cut into the area. He beat one challenge and was then heading away from goal when he was tripped by Montgomery. The ref pointed straight to the spot and Fryatt confidently stroked the ball into the bottom right hand corner with Bunn diving the wrong way.
City almost took a 3-0 lead down the tunnel when Wellens sent a looping 20 yarder crashing onto the crossbar.
Both sides made a change at the break: O’Neill coming on for Hobbs who was still feeling his early knock, and Camara coming on for the Blades.
This immediately had an impact on the scoreline. While City’s unfamilar backline were still getting organised, Camara poked the ball over the line from close in with his first touch.
With the new defence having failed its first test City’s lead was looking fragile, but they managed to regain their shape and were soon putting Bunn under pressure. A great run and shot from Dyer was tipped away by the Blades keeper; then Neilson’s driven cross was missed by a couple of inches by King.
Bunn then saved good efforts from Howard and then Fryatt, Howard sending the rebound sailing into the Kop.
At the other end Weale parried a fierce effort from Ward over the bar.
In a nervy ending Morgan glanced a header wide when it looked easier to score and City took all three points.
City moved up to fourth place and Nigel Pearson commented: “I’m pleased we are still in the play-off picture but I am sure there are 10 or 12 managers who think they still have a chance. It’s very tight and it only takes a couple of bad results to drop out of it.”
Leicester: Weale, Hobbs (O’Neill 46), Neilson, Morrison, McGivern, King, Dyer (Gallagher 89), Oakley, Wellens, Fryatt, Howard. Subs Not Used: Berner, Logan, N’Guessan, Adams, Kermorgant.
United: Bunn, Morgan, Kilgallon, Taylor (Camara 46), Stewart, Walker (Geary 49), Quinn, Montgomery (Evans 73), Harper, Cresswell, Ward. Subs Not Used: Bennett, France, Reid, Little.
Referee: D Deadman (Cheshunt). Attendance: 23,999.