Leicester City 1:0 Cardiff City
Financially troubled Cardiff suffered their first defeat at the Walkers Stadium as City battled to a 1-0 win thanks to a first half goal from Martyn Waghorn…
Nigel Pearson made one change to the side that lost at Sheffield Wednesday last week with debutant Bruce replacing the injured Brown in the centre of defence.
City had to weather some early pressure as Cardiff looked eager to end a poor run and Hobbs blocked an effort from McCormack and then Whittingham sent a shot narrowly wide.
City gradually got a grip on the game and Hobbs was denied by an acrobatic clearance as they enjoyed a spell of pressure.
This resulted in a 29th minute opener for City when Waghorn, quick to react to a nod on from King, beat defender and goalkeeper prodding the ball home from the left hand side of the six yard area.
It was a big moment in a tight game and City continued to press forward. Dyer, especially, was having a productive afternoon beating the full back, and delivering some decent crosses.
Bruce then limped out of the action to be replaced by Solano and the defence had to reshuffle. Solano soon proved his defensive credentials, nipping the ball off Whittingham’s toe when he looked certain to convert a low cross from the right.
City looked comfortable for much of the second half without managing to add to the scoreline and there were few incidents for twenty minutes, although Hobbs blocked another McCormack effort. Then Everton-loanee James Vaughan was introduced into the action for Oakley and gave City fresh impetus with a lively display.
Gallagher sent a trademark long range effort whistling inches wide of the right hand post and Waghorn was a constant thorn in the side, before being replaced by Howard.
Cardiff applied a little pressure on Weale’s goal as time began to run out, but Weale saved one McCormack effort comfortably and shots from Boothroyd and McCormack both cleared the bar.
Vaughan had one opportunity late on but appeared to be manhandled off the ball and the ref wasn’t interested in loud claims for a penalty from the Kop.
City held on to their lead for an extremely valuable three points which now sees them seven points clear of seventh place with eleven games remaining.
Nigel Pearson refused to get carried away on the general wave of optimism: “Things can change very quickly if you let your eye off the ball. There are still 10 or 12 teams with a chance of reaching the play-offs. It’s going to be very tight until the end of the season.”
Leicester: Weale, Berner, Bruce (Solano 35), Hobbs, Morrison, King, Dyer, Oakley (Vaughan 63), Wellens, Gallagher, Waghorn (Howard 77). Subs Not Used: Logan, N’Guessan, Adams, McGivern.
Cardiff: Marshall, Gerrard, McNaughton, Kennedy, Burke, Whittingham, Blake, Matthews (Rae 71), McPhail, McCormack, Bothroyd. Subs Not Used: Quinn, Enckelman, Taiwo, Wildig, Capaldi, Feeney.
Referee: K G Evans (Manchester). Attendance: 22,767.