Leicester City secured their first home win of the season with a stunning first half display
City posted their first home win of the season over table-topping Southampton with a display that suggests progress is being made and the new-look side is coming together.
Sven made ten changes from the side that won at Bury in midweek but kept the same side that drew at Forest just seven days previously. It was City who were out of the starting blocks quickest and they raced in to the lead after only four minutes when Vassell turned in Andy King’s left wing cross from close range. City’s joy was tempered somewhat within a couple of minutes and the sight of David Nugent in distress and unable to continue with what looked like a hamstring strain. Jeff Schlupp came on in his place and contributed to a marvellous attacking display for the remainder of the first half.
From one of many corners for City, Matt Mills sent in a thumping header that Davies did well to keep out but he was unable to prevent City doubling their lead on 22 minutes when Jeff Schlupp did superbly well to create some space for himself and roll the ball to Wellens and from 25 yards he curled a stunning shot in to Kelvin Davies’s top left hand corner; it was no more than City deserved. Within five minutes Saints were back in the game with a goal that was against the run of play but beautifully created. Adam Lallana was the creator as he completely outwitted John Pantsil (who had to pay to get back in) with some stunning ball control and whipped in a perfect cross on to the head of Dan Harding who made it 2-1.
City’s response was to continue knocking on the door at the other end and Davies had to be at his best again to keep out, first a Fernandes header and then a Konchescky free kick. City were also convinced they should have had a penalty when Schlupp had his legs taken from under him by Jose Fonte but the referee Scott Mathieson insisted that Fonte had played the ball and Saints escaped but not for long. It was City’s turn to enjoy some good fortune when they extended their lead on half time. A Danns corner was headed in to his own net by Paul Lambert who was under a lot of pressure from Sol Bamba but the referee waved away any protests and City went in at half time with a two goal advantage and deservedly so.
Predictably, Saints came out with renewed purpose in the second half and reduced the arrears in the 54th minute when a near post corner wasn’t cleared and Sol Bamba succeeded only in flicking the ball to the far post where a grateful David Connolly stooped, unmarked, to head Saints back in to the game. In reply City threatened occasionally and Andy King saw a long range shot clip the outside of the post. But the longer the second half went on the more Saints turned up the heat as City appeared to tire. Wellens and King were both replaced and, worryingly, they looked exhausted as they came off. It was left to City’s defence and in particular, Kasper Schmeichel, to hold out and preserve the points. Schmeichel made some stunning saves from Connolly and Lallana before he again left Lallana frustrated with a point blank save after a side foot from a low cross.
The final whistle brought huge relief for City who were just pleased to get a home win after two false starts but a sizeable Southampton contingent will feel that they should have taken something from the game. They played some lovely football at times and City’s defence had to be at its best to deal with the pace and skill of this impressive side. Kasper Schmeichel will certainly feel that he put in a good shift to keep City alive in the second half. But don’t underestimate City’s contribution to a wonderful game of football; in the first half they ran Saints ragged at times and only faded as the second half wore on and Saints turned up the heat. Southampton are certainly one of the better sides that City will play this season but, on yesterday’s display, City are one of the better sides that Southampton will play also.
City): Schmeichel, Pantsil, Mills (c), Bamba, Konchesky, Fernandes, Wellens, King, Danns, Nugent (Schlupp 7), Vassell. Subs not used: St. Ledger, Weale.
Southampton: Davis, Richardson (Schneiderlin 46), Fonte, Seaborne, Harding (Fox 79), Do Prado (De Ridder 71), Hammond, Cork, Lallana, Connolly, Lambert. Subs not used: Bialkowski, Martin.
Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)