Leicester City 4:0 Derby County
City’s best performance of the season to date saw them sweep neighbour’s Derby aside with a 4-0 victory at Filbert Way on Saturday evening…
Sven Goran Eriksson made three changes to the side who drew at Middlesbrough on Wednesday, with Danns, Nugent and Fernenades all returning to the starting XI.
This side immediately blended together well and forced their loftily-placed opponents on the back foot.
Vassell threatened to convert a King cross; King sent an effort narrowly wide and then Konchesky forced Fielding into a save with a twenty yearder.
City then took a 21st minute lead with a superb passing move that started on their own 18 yard line; Abe finding Vassell who flicked on to Fernandes who provided a superb through ball for Nugent to charge through and convincingly beat Fielding, before rushing off to celebrate in front of a sparsely populated visitor’s corner.
City almost doubled their lead in the 37th minute when a well delivered Danns corner from the left was met with a solid header from Bamba, but Roberts was well placed to head clear from under th e bar.
The Rams then had a rare chance when Davies sent a cross from the right flashing across the goalmouth, but no one was on hand to convert the chance.
City had the ball in the net soon after that after a powerful run from Vassell put King in on the right and his low cross was bundled in by Nugent at the far post, but the celebrations were cut short by a linesman’s flag for handball.
But City were soon celebrating again… good work from Abe won the ball for Fernandes to feed Danns on the right. His fierce shot struck the left hand post but the rebound fell for Vassell who crashed the ball home from six yards.
The second half saw City sitting back a bit, content with a two goal cushion, but their back line (unbeaten for four and a half games now) restricted Derby to shooting from range and Schmeichel saved comfortably from Ward and Bryson.
With City looking untroubled Sven felt able to give some players a rest and made three substitutions: Nugent, Danns and Vassell all coming off to great acclaim, replaced by Schlupp, Dyer and Howard.
Former Ram Howard looked especially keen to kick-start the game back into life and had the Kop roaring for another goal. It soon came when a corner, won by Howard, was nodded down by Mills for Schlupp who reacted swiftly to turn and fire it past Fielding to put City 3-0 up with two minutes left.
One minute into the five added on the subs struck again, Howard nodding a long ball down into the path of Dyer who found the net through Fielding’s legs.
The away end emptied, while the home fans celebrated wildly, perhaps sensing that when the Championship resumes after the international break there will be a serious new contender in the promotion race.
Sven was delighted: “I thought it was a great result, and with a clean sheet again. I thought we were excellent and performed extremely well against a good side. David Nugent did very well on his return. He has been away for a month and today scored a goal and might have had more. He and Vassell were both very good, in offence and defence. The first half was one of the best we’ve had this season, along with our first half against Forest, and I hope we can go on like this.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Konchesky, Mills, Bamba, Peltier, King, Danns (Dyer 78), Abe, Fernandes, Nugent (Schlupp 70), Vassell (Howard 83). Subs: Weale, Paintsil.
Derby: Fielding, Shackell, Roberts, Brayford, O’Brien, Davies, Bryson, Hendrick, Davies (Croft 72), Ward (Doyle 89), Robinson. Subs: Kilbane, Legzdins, Anderson.
Referee: H Webb (South Yorks). Attendance: 22,496.
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