Leicester City 3:0 Nottingham Forest
City delighted a full house at Filbert Way on Saturday with a 3-0 win over east midlands rivals Forest…
Although Nigel Pearson had tried to play down the ‘revenge’ element of this meeting there was only one thing on the minds of the 30,000 plus who made their way to the stadium… that 5-1 stuffing at the City Ground in December… and they were desperate for some payback.
Pearson continued his squad rotation during this busy spell with Oakley and Gallagher in for Solano and N’Guessan.
Before kick off there was a warm minute’s applause in honour of recently departed Bobby Smith, and then we were down to business. It was typical derby fare with both sets of fans in good voice and 100 mph stuff on the pitch.
So frenetic was the action that there were very few chances created in the first half. Waghorn went on a magnificent run through the middle but then sent his shot high and wide.
At the other end Weale saved comfortably from a Majewski shot, but the City defence snuffed out Forest’s attacking moves with Hobbs, especially, looking majestic.
The best chance of the half saw a Majewski free-kick launched into the area and Earnshaw sent a header against the bar, Brown heading clear. Majewski then picked up a yellow card for one dive too many.
Although Forest had their best spell in the ten minutes up to the break they couldn’t find a way through and the teams went in goalless at the break.
Early in the second half it was City’s turn to hit the woodwork, when Morrison met a Waghorn free-kick with his head from close in but found the underside of the bar. The linesman flagged for offside, however.
Gallagher then sent a shot over the bar when well placed, but City were building up a head of steam and finally took a 68th minute lead. Gallagher delivered a free-kick into the area and there was a scramble for the ball at the far post. Wellens emerged with the ball and was pursued by three red shirts across the penalty area. A clever back heel found Berner on the six yard line and he had the space to lash a shot into the roof of the net.
If this goal delighted the home crowd, then ten minutes later they were ecstatic… Gallagher stepped up to take a free-kick twenty yards out and curled it beyond Camp’s reach into the top left hand corner.
Two minutes later life got even better for City fans as Forest’s defence were breached again.
Dyer held the ball up well before laying a ball into Berner’s path; the Swiss defender’s shot from the edge of the area was diverted past Camp with a clever touch from King and it was game over with a huge roar from the sell-out crowd.
The last ten minutes consisted mostly of substitutions with Kermorgant, Adams and Howard coming on for Wellens, Waghorn and Gallagher who all enjoyed standing ovations from a very happy crowd.
Forest had one late chance for a consolation goal but Weale saved well from McKenna, and most of their fans had gone home by then anyway.
Revenge is a dish best served cold and it was a fantastic afternoon for City fans who had felt the pain of that 5-1 defeat… but, more importantly, City are now six points clear of 7th place.
Nigel Pearson commented: “Local derbies always have a bit of an edge with the fans, but the bottom line is that it was an important game for us in the sense that at this stage of the season, if you’ve got some momentum you’ve got to maintain it. We’re looking good at the moment.”
Leicester: Weale, Brown, Berner, Hobbs, Morrison, King, Dyer, Oakley, Wellens (Kermorgant 86), Gallagher (Howard 89), Waghorn (Adams 89). Subs Not Used: Logan, Solano, Bruce, N’Guessan.
Forest: Camp, Morgan, Perch, Wilson, Gunter, Cohen, Anderson (Tyson 45), McKenna, Majewski (McGoldrick 74), Blackstock, Earnshaw. Subs Not Used: Smith, Adebola, Chambers, McGugan, Moussi.
Referee: Lee Probert (Gloucestershire). Attendance: 31,759.