Monthly Archives: March 2011

Play Off Hopes Fade After Pompey Defeat

Leicester City 0:1 Portsmouth

A sunny day at Filbert Way saw formerly bright hopes of a play-off place darkening as Portsmouth beat a deflated City 1-0 on Saturday…

Sven Goran Eriksson made one change to the side that won at Scunthorpe with two-goal hero on the day Vitor, being replaced by Bruma.
Following the recent appalling events in Japan Yuki Abe led the side out before a well observed minutes silence.
City started brightly in front of a big crowd, and should have taken an early lead, but Yakubu headed wide when connecting with a good Gallagher cross.
But that good start counted for nothing as Pompey took a 13th minute lead. Halford’s long throw from the right saw Bamba and Ricardo in a mix up. The keeper never made his punch and Bamba’s header only went as far as Nugent, who cooly steered a half volley into the empty net.
Four minutes later City went close to an equaliser when Gallagher delivered an accurate corner from the left but Pompey keeper Ashdown threw out a fist to send Bamba’s header over the bar.
Chances were scarce as the visitors closed City down: Gallagher sent a long range effort just the wrong side of the post in the 25th minute, but other than that it was a frustrating spectacle for the home crowd.
The second half wasn’t much better. Yakubu continued to look out of form in front of goal and City were struggling to make any kind of dent in a defence that had kept seven clean sheets in the last eight games.
The best chance on the hour when a good ball from Bruma picked out an intelligent run from Gallagher, but despite a great first touch Ashdown was swiftly out to smother the shot with a vital block.
The introduction of Dyer and Waghorn for Abe and Vassell made no difference against a well drilled defence and the best opportunity in the closing stages came when Da Laet clearly handled in the area but escaped the ref’s attention.
Portsmouth should have gone 2-0 up but Ward screwed his shot from close in wide when it looked easier to score.
A fierce shot from Naughton on the right was well saved by Ashdown, and there was no way back for a flat looking City side.
A disappointed Sven commented: “From our performance over 90 minutes we did enough to get at least a draw. We created some good chances. I can’t criticise the team. They tried hard enough. They stood up and battled against a very physical team.”

Leicester: Ricardo, Bamba, Naughton, Mee, Bruma, King, Abe (Dyer 61), Wellens, Yakubu, Gallagher, Vassell (Waghorn 68). Subs Not Used: Vitor, Moreno, Oakley, Berner, Weale.  
Portsmouth: Ashdown, Halford, Rocha, Hreidarsson, De Laet, Lawrence, Mullins, Cotterill (Ward 64), Hogg , Kitson, Nugent  (Dickinson  74). Subs Not Used: Kilbey, Ciftci, Flahavan, Kanu.

Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire). Attendance: 26,645.

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City Show Some Mettle to Beat The Iron

Scunthorpe United 0:3 Leicester City

City returned to winning ways at Glanford Park on Saturday, on a pitch that resembled an allotment and in the process, found an unlikely goalscoring hero…

Sven gave Miguel Vitor his first start since he limped off injured at a snowy Ipswich (replacing the injured Bruma) in December and also recalled Gallagher in place of Lloyd Dyer who dropped to the bench.
Scunthorpe started brightly and might have taken the lead on 15 minutes when Garner met Duffy’s corner and headed goalwards only for Wellens to block the ball on the line where the grateful Ricardo fell on it. From then on Ricardo had little to do for the remainder of the first half as City settled down and dominated affairs. First Abe (sporting a black armband to acknowledge the awful events in his homeland) let fly with a curling shot from 25 yards that came back off of the crossbar before Nelson headed the ball clear from under his own bar as Yakubu closed in on the falling ball.
It wasn’t long after in the 31st minute before City took a deserved lead. Gallagher’s corner was headed on by Mee for Vitor to poke the ball home from a yard out.
Scunthorpe came out for the second half with renewed purpose and thought that their efforts had been rewarded with a penalty in the 48th minute when Naughton’s pressure on Garner as he chased a through ball, was penalised. But Scunny’s delight was short-lived as the linesman on the far side had put his flag up seconds earlier to indicate that Garner was offside. Scunthorpe were to feel hard done to soon after when Garner put the ball in to the net from a nod-back but it was clearly Garner’s hand and not his head that got the final touch.

In between these two scares King could have doubled City’s lead when he arrived at the far post to side foot a Vassell cross just wide following a superb move down the left.
City doubled their lead in the 72nd minute when, following another corner, Vitor was on hand to head home off the underside of the bar as he met a Gallagher cross from 6 yards out. Scunthorpe heads dropped visibly at this point and a third goal followed soon after when Gallagher took a free kick quickly and rolled the ball to Naughton who took one touch and slammed the ball low in to the net past Lillis from 20 yards.
The remainder of the game was a stroll for the visitors as Scunny fans headed home early and City fans delighted in the return to form. It was a convincing display from Sven’s side who overcame the poor pitch to play some decent football at times. It wasn’t always pretty with stray passes aplenty and the required extra touch meaning that the slick passing game was impossible today, but City showed character and fully deserved the win against a side that has claimed some big scalps recently.
Sven was in a bouyant mood: “Last Tuesday we lost in a bad way. We have talked a lot about it since and today we were very concentrated and showed aggression, we have come back in a brilliant way. With nine games to go, if we can show the spirit we showed today, we won’t lose many games and we’ll win a lot.”

One footnote to the game; a young City fan finished the day in hospital after his over-enthusiastic celebration after the third goal, led to him falling in to an exit walkway, a fall of about 20 feet. It is reported that he suffered a fractured skull. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Scunthorpe: Lillis, Nelson, Raynes, Gordon (Nolan 46), Hughes (Collins 71), Wright, Wright, Duffy, Dagnall (Ibrahim 79), Miller, Garner. Subs Not Used: Slocombe, Grant, Reid, Godden.
Leicester: Ricardo, Bamba, Vitor, Naughton , Mee , King, Abe, Wellens, Yakubu  (Waghorn 75), Gallagher (Oakley 81), Vassell (Dyer 86). Subs Not Used: Moreno, Weale, Parkes, Berner.

Referee: Rob Shoebridge (Derbys). Attendance: 6,528.

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City Second Best as Slump Continues

Leicester City 2:3 Norwich City

City’s poor run continued at Filbert Way on Tuesday night as they were defeated 3-2 by a superior Norwich side…

Sven Goran Eriksson made one change to the side that performed so well at QPR, with Berner in for the injured Bruma and Mee restored to the centre of defence.
City should have taken an 8th minute lead when Berner swung a cross onto the head of Yakubu, but he header over the bar for what was the first disappointment of a poor night for the on-loan Everton striker.
The Canaries then took a 21st minuite lead when the impressive Hoolahan ghosted through the penalty area, unmarked, to convert a Surman corner at the near post.
An impressive number of visiting supporters only had two minutes to celebrate as City immediately summoned up an equaliser. Vassell fed Berner, who delivered another good quality cross and this time Wellens connected with an awkward looking header which nontheless beat Ruddy in the Canaries goal.
City then enjoyed a decent spell up until the break but King fired an effort inches wide and a frantic goalmouth scramble ended with a Norwich boot clearing the danger. 
Sadly, City’s improvement didn’t continue in the second half.
Two minutes after the break Mee tripped the lively Hoolahan in the area and Holt, despite Ricardo scuffing up the penalty spot, blasted home from 12 yards to put Norwich back in the lead. 
City looked ineffective in every department by this stage and Norwich settled the game in the 58th minute when Wilbraham beat Bamba on the left before firing in a shot from a tight angle that deflected past Ricardo. Shouts of “Weale, Weale!” went round the stadium, though Ricardo was not really at fault for that goal, despite looking rather unconvincing when dealing with crosses.
The rest of the evening was a miserable one for City and their followers. Norwich looked better organised and livelier all over the park and there was no way they were going to let the home side get a sniff of a point.
The long ball pumped forward for Yakubu to lose out in the air, was much in evidence, something that was missing during the golden run and January and February. 
When Gallagher hit a long range free-kick home at the death there was only time to kick off before the ref blew for time and City’s play-off hopes lay in tatters.
This was the first time City had lost at home since Sven’s arrival, but the chasing down of a play-off place seems to have exhausted them, at least for the time being.
Sven admitted: “I was worried at the start of the second half. I saw a team totally without energy, in the legs and in the mind. I don’t know what it was or whether it was too much pressure. We have to come together and talk about that.”

Leicester: Ricardo, Berner, Bamba, Naughton, Mee, King, Oakley (Gallagher 66), Abe, Wellens (Dyer 75), Yakubu, Vassell (Waghorn 58). Subs Not Used: Weale, Vitor, Schlupp, Moreno.  
Norwich: Ruddy, Ward, Whitbread, Tierney, Martin, Crofts, Surman, Fox, Hoolahan (Smith 86), Wilbraham, Holt. Subs Not Used: Jackson, Rudd, Lansbury, Edwards, McNamee, Drury.

Referee: C J Foy (Merseyside). Attendance: 23,398 

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City Edged out at Loftus Road – or – Ish Miller We Will Not Let You Go.

Queens Park Rangers 1:0 Leicester City

City matched the league’s best side for 87 minutes on Saturday, before QPR sub Ishmael Miller struck a late winner to put QPR another stride towards the Premier League…

Sven Goran Eriksson made two changes to his side for this eagerly awaited clash with the league leaders, Mee replacing the injured Van Aanholt at left back and Oakley coming into the midfield in place of Gallagher.
Roared on by 3,200 visiting fans City enjoyed a bright start, Vassell setting up Yakubu in the box before the Nigerian was shoved over by Hall, who escaped punishment from the ref.
At the other end, Mee, Bamba and Burma looked solid dealing with the considerable threat of Taarabt. 
In a tight encounter the first good save came from Ricardo on 27 minutes when he blocked a fierce shot from Helgusson with his right foot.
Rangers went close again when a rare piece of slack marking allowed Hall an overhead kick, which sailed over the bar.
At the other end Yakubu broke down the left and attempted a lob over Kenny which the R’s keeper tipped over at full stretch. From the resulting corner the ball fell for Yakubu whose half volley flew a couple of inches over the bar.
Yakubu then chested a ball into King’s path but the youngster couldn’t summon his usual accuracy.
The 0-0 scoreline at half time reflected what had been an even contest between two of the league’s best sides.
Rangers had the best of the early stages of the first half with Ricardo doing well to parry a well struck Buzsaky shot at his near post, Helgusson heading over from a Taarabt free-kick; and Routledge firing into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Sven brought Waghorn on for Vassell on the hour and although he battled well to create two good chances for himself, he couldn’t get either on target.
The first saw him in a chase on goal with Connolly, who he robbed of possession before lifting his shot just over. 
King then hit the bar with a header from a Yakubu lob and Abe fired over from 25 yards.
As City’s fine spell contiinued Waghorn’s deft touch presented him with a chance from 8 yards before two defenders dived in to smother the opportunity.
Miller than came on for Taarabt with four minutes left and gave City an instant lesson in taking your chances…
Latching on to a through ball from Routledge, Miller’s fresh legs kept him ahead of Bamba and the West Brom loanee slotted the ball past the advancing Ricardo to win the game for the home side.
It was hard to accept that City had earned nothing from a very good display, and suddenly the task of reaching the play-off places looked that much harder.
Neil Warnock described it as: “A fabulous game between two cracking sides..” and for once it was hard to argue with him.
Sven looked a little down, saying: “It’s hard to lose a football match like that, but we’ll come back, still eleven to go.”

QPR: Kenny, Hill, Orr, Hall (Connolly 31), Shittu, Routledge, Derry, Buzsaky (Ephraim 89), Taarabt (Miller 86), Faurlin, Helguson. Subs Not Used: Smith, Cerny, Vaagen Moen, Hulse.   
Leicester: Ricardo, Bamba , Naughton, Mee, Bruma, King (Gallagher 79), Oakley, Abe, Wellens, Yakubu (Dyer 86), Vassell (Waghorn 65). Subs Not Used: Vitor, Weale, Berner, Moreno.

 Referee: R East (Wiltshire). Attendance:18,068.

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