Leicester City 2:2 Leeds United
After a dull start City and Leeds served up a second half feast of football for a large Boxing Day crowd at Filbert Way…
Sven Goran Eriksson made two changes to his side with Hobbs and Howard in for Vitor and Dyer.
City were on top in the opening stages with some early probing that almost set up King and Howard with chances. A series of City free-kicks and corners were dealt with by the Leeds defence before the visitors took a 19th minute lead with their first attack.
Kilkenny’s cross from the right found Gradel in the goalmouth and, as Naughton slipped at the vital moment, the former-City man was left with a free header past Kirkland fron close range.
City were knocked back by this and the rest of the half was almost without incident. The two exceptions being a great run downt eh left by Cunningham and a good move involving Vassell and Howard which saw the latter blazing an effort well over.
Things got worse before they got better for City, with Simon Grayson’s side going 2-0 up ten minutes into the second half. A corner was cleared as far as Snodgrass out on the left and he blasted a half volley past Kirkland from an acute angle to get the 3,000 + in the away corner bouncing.
Things looked bleak for City at this stage, but a double substitution – Bednar and Dyer on for Abe and Howard – brought an improvement and they battled their way back into the game.
In the 71st minute Vassell was sent clear by Gallagher and looked set to score when he was upended by Schmeichel. It was an obvious red card, the Leeds’ keeper being the last man and denying Vassell a goal, but Referee Bates played Father Christmas and only produced a yellow.
Schmeichel, who was laughing to himself as he turned to the Kop to take his place, then had to pick the ball out of the net after another successful Gallagher spot-kick.
Five minutes later he was beaten again. King, 25 yards out, delivered a perfect dipping shot over the keeper and under the bar for a fantastic equaliser.
In a stormy closing spell Kirkland saved from a scramble in the area, while at the other end Bednar was mugged in the penalty area for an obvious penalty that wasn’t given. A brawl then broke out as both sides literally fought for a late winner. Honours were even at the final whistle, with a large crowd being treated to an entertaining and hard fought encounter.
Sven was happy with the point: “We didn’t start very well and, when we cannot pass the ball well, we are not that good. Leeds were aggressive and did not allow us to play our normal game. The pitch was difficult but that is my fault because we have been training on it every day because the training ground is frozen. But we showed that, even if pitches are not perfect, we can work and get back into games.”
Leicester: Kirkland, Davies, Hobbs, Naughton, King, Abe (Dyer 64), Wellens, Cunningham, Gallagher, Vassell, Howard (Bednar 65). Subs Not Used: Oakley, Weale, Moussa, Morrison, Waghorn.
Leeds: Schmeichel, Connolly, O’Brien, Collins, McCartney, Kilkenny (Faye 89), Johnson, Howson (Paynter 85), Gradel, Snodgrass, Becchio (McCormack 85). Subs Not Used: Sam, Bruce, Higgs, Bromby.
Referee: A Bates (Staffs). Attendance: 30,919.