Monthly Archives: January 2011

Lions Vanquished

Leicester City 4:2 Millwall

City emerged from an eventful and hugely entertaining encounter with Milwall with a 4:2 victory at Filbert Way on Saturday…

Sven made three changes to his FA Cup line-up with Yakubu in for Howard, Vassell returning from injury and taking the injured Gallagher’s place, and Mee making his debut with Hobbs demoted to the bench.

Mee’s League career didn’t get off to a great start, a clumsy challenge on Robinson gifting Millwall a penalty in th esecond minute. Mee’s blushes were spared as Morison sent his spot-kick sailing a foot over the bar and into the Family Stand.
That blip aside, City had a good start to the game and it was no surprise when they took an 8th minute lead. A precise ball from King saw a lightning fast run from Dyer who reached the ball a fraction ahead of Lions’ keeper Forde to nudge it past him and into the net.
But City’s lead only lasted a minute… as the ball was only half cleared from City’s area it sat up nicely for Henry 22 yards out and he arrowed an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner.
City restored their lead in the 23rd minute. Yakubu, in on the left, twisted and turned until he had made enough space for a low shot across keeper Forde who, deceived by the bounce, allowed the ball to creep in at the far post.
Ten minutes before the break City added a third, a quickly taken Wellens free-kick catching the Millwall defence out. Yakubu’s wayward shot was defelcted into the path of Bamba, who guided it over the line.
He leapt over the ad hoardings to celebrate with the front row of the Kop and was booked for his trouble.
There were further chances for Naughton and Dyer, but City were content to go in 3-1 up at the break and were warmly applauded off the field.
Millwall began the second half with a spell of attacking moves, though no one was on hand to make use of Hackett’s good work down the left.
The game then saw a controversial minute which punctured City’s two goal cushion. There were loud appeals for a penalty when Vassell was brought crashing down in the box, but referee Eddie Ilderton ignored them. Less than minute later play switched to the City end where Hackett, surrounded by three blue shirts, tumbled over and Ilderton pointed to the spot. Smith placed his spot kick low to the left just beating Weale’s outstretched palm.
A couple of minutes later Millwall were reduced to ten men was Askou was dismissed for a violent challenge on Yakubu. Wellens floated a free-kick over the Millwall defence and Bamba was on hand to bundle his second goal of the game in off the left hand post.
Mee, who had recovered well from a bad start, produced a fantastic tackle to deny Morison a goal and there was no way back for the Lions.
Wellens, particularly, was enjoying himself in the closing stages playing keepy-uppy while sat on the turf and attempting a 45 yard lob over the keeper.
It had been a tremendous performance from that that had the fans buzzing as they made their way home.
Sven, who is unbeaten in nine home games in charge, even mentioned the P-word: “We played good football and deserved to win, absolutely. We have made a good start to 2011. I still believe we can at least reach the play-offs. I want to take this club up to the Premier League and stay there.”

Leicester: Weale, Berner, Bamba, Naughton, Mee, King, Dyer (Waghorn 84), Abe, Wellens, Yakubu (Howard 87), Vassell (Oakley 75). Subs Not Used: Logan, Hobbs, Moreno, Moussa.
Millwall: Forde, Smith, Barron, Berthel Askou, Dunne, Abdou, Henry, Schofield ( Lisbie 76), Hackett, Robinson (Purse 46), Morison. Subs Not Used: Mildenhall, Trotter, Grabban, Harris, Marquis.

Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear). Attendance: 23,347. 

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Brave City Bow Out

Manchester City 4:2 Leicester City

Leicester put in a spirited performance in their FA Cup Third Round replay at the City of Manchester Stadium on Tuesday night, but clinical finishing from Manchester City ensured a 4-2 win for the Premier League side…

Sven Goran Eriksson made one change to his side, with Vassell injured and Yakubu ineligible Howard was drafted in to lead the line.
6,000 travelled up from Leicester for the game, especially impressive given that it wa sbroadcast live on ESPN, and they almost had something to cheer about when an early King effort was deflected narrowly over the bar. Bamba headed straight at Hart from the resulting corner.
The home side should have gone a goal up when Johnson broke clear on Weale but the City keeper blocked out the England player’s attempt. But Man City didn’t have long to wait  for a goal. After a quarter of an hour the remarkable Tevez wriggled his way through the Leicester defence like an eel before lashing a shot into the top left hand corner.
But Leicester were undaunted and pushed forward, finding an equaliser just four minutes later. Dyer was tripped in the area and referee Mark Halsey pointed to the spot after a quick glance at his linesman.
Gallagher opted for power rather than placment, making the net bulge and giving Hart no chance.
After a good spell for Leicester, which saw a few half chances go off target, Gallagher limped out of the action on the half hour, replaced by Moussa. 
If Leicester were hoping to make half time on level terms the roof collapsed eight minutes before the break.
City regained their lead when Weale saved a Silva shot, but Vieira was in the right place for an easy tap in; and then, less than a minute later, Silva sent Johnson through and this time he made no mistake, beating Weale with a precise shot.
Tevez almost finished City off just before the break but Weale did well to smother his effort.
Oakley replaced Wellens for the second half and for a while it was difficult to see a glimmer of hope for Leicester in this contest, especially when Hobbs brought Tevez down in the box in the 57th minute. But Weale saved the Argetinian’s straight down the middle spot kick and the visitors gained a new momentum. 
Waghorn replaced Howard in the 68th minute, but sent a free-kick straight into the wall when well placed.
Dyer and Vieira were then both booked after they clashed in the penalty area.
In the 82nd minute, with the host apparently in control, the game suddenly became interesting again as Dyer outpaced Lescott to reach a ball from Abe, before planting it past Hart.   
City tried to press forward, but it wasn’t easy against a side costing £160M, and they were caught on the break in the 89th minute. Kolarov was given a little too much room to manouevre on the edge of the area and picked his spot low to Weale’s left. It was all over this time and Man City had dumped us out of the FA Cup for the eighth time… 
Sven was pleased with his side and optimistic for the future: “We have played one of the best teams in Europe, and in the first game we were as good as they were. They were better than us today. I am happy at Leicester. We are not Manchester City, but it is a clear project to try to get into the Premier League and then we will try to beat them again. It is very good to be at a club where the owners are very good and you can feel around the ground, the training ground and the city that everyone believes we will go up to the Premier League. And we will.”

Man City: Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Lescott, Toure (Jo 78), Milner, Vieira, Johnson, Silva (Barry 64), Tevez. Subs Not Used: Toure, de Jong, Given, Nimely, Boyata.
Leicester: Weale, Berner, Bamba, Hobbs, Naughton, King, Dyer, Abe, Wellens (Oakley 46), Gallagher (Moussa 30), Howard (Waghorn 68). Subs Not Used: Logan, N’Guessan, Moreno, Neilson.

Referee: M R Halsey (Lancashire). Attendance: 27,755.

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Disappointment at Deepdale

Preston North End 1:1 Leicester City

City squandered two points at Deepdale on Saturday, having led through a Yakubu debut goal, allowing Preston in for a late equaliser from former-fox Iain Hume.

Sven Goran Eriksson made one change to his side for the long trip to Lancashire, with debutante Yakubi coming in for the injured Vassell.
The home side carved out the first chance of the game when Hume set up Hayes for a shot which Weale blocked with his face. The offside flag was raised, however.
After that City had the better chanes, Dyer squandering a one-on-one with the keeper and sending another effort narrowly wide; while Abe tested keeper Lonergan with a long range effort.
Preston then enjoyed a decent spell and delivered a series of set pieces but the City defence, with Bamba at it’s heart, coped fairly comfortably.
City’s best chance of the half came in the 33rd minute when Gallagher swung a freekick from outside the area onto the angle of left hand post and crossbar. The rebound came back to Gallagher but he fired his second attempt well over.
Weale then produced a fine save from Carter and Naughton did well to keep Hume at bay as the home side pressed for a half time lead. As it was, the team’s went in goalless at the break.
City looked the stronger side in the second half. Yakubu, set up by Dyer, sent a shot narrowly wide, and then Gallagher hit the woodwork again, sending a header against th eleft hand post with Lonergan beaten.
After Weale foiled Hume with a fine block, City eventually made the breakthrough on the hour. A clever ball from Gallagher set Yakubu up on th eleft. The Nigerian feinted to cut inside, fooling the Lilyshites’ defence before changing tack and beating Lonergan at his near post.
The Yak had been fed, and he had indeed scored.
It should have been the winner, but Preston were desperate for something from this game and fought hard for a point which they eventually got in the 89th minute. With Oakley, Moussa and Howard on for Dyer, Yakubu and Gallagher City conceded a lot of ground late on.
A long ball forward, a couple of nod-ons, and there was Hume popping up to beat Weale low to his left from just inside the penalty area.
City still had a chance to win the game  in injury time but King was foiled by Lonergan in a one-on-one, getting an arm to the shot which saw the ball sailing over the bar.

A disappointed Eriksson commented: “I think that we lost two points. I think the way we played, especially in the second half, became better and better and with the chances we created we should win a game like this. We had two attempts that hit the bar, we were one on one with the goalkeeper twice and scored a goal so it should be enough to win. But unfortunately we made one mistake at the end of the match and they went through and scored.”

Preston: Lonergan, Jones, Morgan, St. Ledger, Cort, McLaughlin (Parry 48), Carter (Ellington 62), Russell, Linganzi (Nicholson 48), Hayes, Hume. Subs Not Used: Treacy, Mayor, Barton, Arestidou.
Leicester: Weale, Berner, Bamba, Hobbs, Naughton, King, Dyer (Oakley 77) , Abe, Wellens, Yakubu (Howard 86), Gallagher (Moussa 86). Subs Not Used: Logan, Moreno, Waghorn, Mee.

Referee: David Coote (Nottingham). Attendance: 14,205.

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Life’s a Pitch

City take the unusual step of relaying the pitch mid-season

Ground staff today are busy laying new turf at The Walkers Stadium knowing that it has to be ready in a week’s time for the visit of Millwall. Anyone watching the cup tie last weekend will have noticed that the pitch was showing signs of wear and tear but none of us can have imagined that this would lead to the pitch being ripped up and replaced within a few days.

The problem started during the recent spell of freezing weather when Sven used the pitch for training sessions which in turn led to higher than normal levels of use and wear. The decision to replace the worn turf would seem to reflect a new level of wealth at the club as a new pitch can usually cost in the region of £100,000 and such a move is usually the preserve of richer clubs such as Chelsea and Man United.

If the team is to maintain its improving form playing good football then it will need to do so on a carpet and not a cabbage patch. Let’s hope that the ‘carpet’ is laid and ready in time for Millwall.

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City Capture the Yak

Sven Goran Eriksson landed the big name he had promised for City yesterday, signing Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni on loan for the rest of the season.

The 28 year old Nigerian international has maintained a good goalscoring record during his career in England which has seen spells with Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Everton and he has notched over 100 Premier League goals. He scored for Nigeria against South Korea in the 2010 World Cup, one of 21 goals for his country .
Eriksson has hinted that he will be involved in the game at Preston on Saturday.

There has been strong speculation linking Richie Wellens with a move to Premier League Birmingham, though it is thought that the City midfielder will opt to stay at the Walkersd Stadium.

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City Up for the Cup

Leicester City 2:2 Manchester City

City delighted a full house with an immense performance in their FA Cup Third Round tie against Manchester City at Filbert Way on Sunday evening, earning a replay with a 2-2 draw…

Former Man City boss Sven Goran Eriksson made one change to his side with Sol Bamba making his debut in place of the departed Morrison; while former City-player Roberto Mancini made a handful of changes to what still looked a very strong line-up. 
It was important that Leicester got off to a good start, and it couldn’t have been better.
Gallagher took a short corner on the left, combining with Dyer, before sending a cross over which Bamba steered home with the outside of his foot from close in. The goal, coming 45 seconds into his debut, nearly lifted the roof off the stadium.
City continued to press early on and Hobbs tested Hart with a header. But the visitors started to build some attacking moves with Tevez a constant threat and Welae blocking a close range header from Vieira.
Leicester’s lead lasted until the 22nd minute when Milner went on a powerful surge, shrugging off Abe and Bamba before planting a low shot to Weale’s right. Man City almost went ahead in the 29th minute when Kolarov set up Tevez, who laucnhed his shot over the bar.  
At the other end Abe, having a magnificent game for City, made room for himself before blasting a 25 yarder that Hart did well to tip round the left hand post at full stretch.
Bamba, providing an aerial threat from corners that we have missed all season, almost bagged another goal but his first header was beaten out my Hart and his second effort went straight to the relieved keeper.
The Premier League club should have gone ahead as half time approached; Tevez delivered a slide rule pass out to Boateng on the right and he pinged a low cross over which Johnson somehow screwed wide with the goal at his mercy.
It was only a stay of execution for City however, as Man City took a 45th minute lead. Johnson and Milner combined for a short corner on the right before Milner fired in a low cross, which Tevez met at the near post with a clever back heel to beat Weale.
It was a blow for City, who deserved better for their first half efforts.
City took the game to Roberto Mancini’s side early in the second half and Vassell fired a shot on the run over while Hobbs sent a header just over the bar.  Then, in the 63rd minute, a slice of luck helped them back on level terms.
Gallagher swung a cross in from the left, which Hart fumbled into the path of King, who was left with a simple tap-in to an unguarded goal. It was no less than City deserved.
Mancini, who had bought De Jong on for Wright-Phillips at the break, introduced Zabaleta for Jo.
Gallagher’s departure for Waghorn was then announced as he was about to take a corner, but the City bench appeared to change their mind. Gallagher took the flag kick which Bamba headed towards the top right hand corner before Milner headed it off the line.
When Waghorn did come on it was for Dyer, who was warmly applauded for playing his part in a great team performance.
Both sides were still looking for a winner and it looked bad for City when Tevez turned in the area and laid an inviting ball off for De Jong who placed his shot close enough to Weale for the City keeper to pull off a fine save. 
Abe went close with a shot, while at the other end Bamba continued to block off chances for Tevez in what may have been the best City FA Cup debut since Joe Waters.
The final whistle saw honours even after City’s best performance of the season, and regardless of the replay result, Sven’s team proved that they have what it takes.
Eriksson beamed into the cameras: “I must be pleased with the performance and it was a good football match. I’m very proud of my players and they should be proud of their display. We stood up to Manchester City, one of the best teams in the country. All the players were brilliant.”

Leicester: Weale, Berner (Neilson 89), Bamba, Hobbs, Naughton, King, Dyer (Waghorn 79), Abe, Wellens, Gallagher, Vassell (Howard 83). Subs Not Used: Logan, Oakley, Moreno, Moussa.
Man City: Hart, Toure, Boateng, Kolarov, Lescott, Wright-Phillips (De Jong 46), Milner, Vieira, Johnson, Tevez, Jo (Zabaleta 73). Subs Not Used: Given, Santa Cruz, Nimely, Boyata, Ibrahim.
Referee: M L Dean (Wirral). Attendance: 31,200. 

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A Tale of Two Cities

Brought together by Rock and Roll, a Tale of Two Cities, Leicester v Manchester, Kasabian v Oasis, Tevez v Vassell, the 1969 FA Cup Final replayed, the Ghost of Frank Large, inflatable bananas, 4pm at Filbert Way, not a seat to be had… bring it on.

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