Leicester City 1:1 Portsmouth
City once again fell below expectations at the KP Stadium with a performance that was not enough to wrestle all three points from a hard working and strong Pompey side.
Nigel Pearson shuffled his pack again as he seeks the elusive win over the holiday period and Beckford and Dyer made way for Schlupp and King with the former clearly relishing his first league start with a lively display. Both sides started cautiously and neither keeper was troubled early on with Schlupp coming closest after a good run and low shot just wide but it was Pompey who got their noses in front on twenty minutes following a deep cross to the far post from Norris who found Futacs. The Hungarian had time to chest the ball down and lash the ball past Schmeichel from close in. It was a soft goal to concede but City hit back with three minutes when Nugent rose to meet a Gallagher free kick and planted a perfect header past Henderson.
After this tit-for-tat exchange of goals it was Pompey who looked more threatening and City were struggling to cope with the constant aerial threat that they posed and after Schmeichel failed to collect a Ward cross, Greg Halford headed against the post of the unguarded net. City almost imploded again a few minutes later when Sol Bamba rescued Schmeichel after Liam Lawrence beat the blond ‘keeper to a loose ball but was unable to finish. It was Keystone Kops stuff at the back and City were struggling to put anything together at the other end with the end product simply not good enough whenever they ventured forward. They did, however, come closest to taking the lead just before half time when Wellens set up Abe who had a thumping shot beaten away as far as Schlupp who was unable to convert the rebound as his shot was smothered.
The second half was a mediocre affair with both sides enjoying spells of possession but City were never able to assert themselves and build a decent head of steam and create genuine pressure. Only in the later stages of the game did City look likely to snatch a winner when substitute Jermaine Beckford forced a good save from Henderson and then had a good shout for a penalty turned down when Beckford appeared to be tripped by Joe Mattock when clean through on the angle. The crowd’s frustration was clear at the final whistle and yet another home match has gone by without three points and 6 wins from 13 home fixtures is not play-off form and neither is the 3 points out of 15 that City have picked up in December. Nigel Pearson has voiced his own frustration at the recent performances and has promised changes in the January transfer window that will improve results. As it stands at the end of 2011 City are seven points off of the last play-off spot and a season that promised so much is in danger of being over too soon unless there is a change of fortunes soon. Only Nigel Pearson and his under-performing players can deliver that. Happy New Year!
City: Schmeichel, Peltier, Mills (c), Bamba, Konchesky, King, Abe, Wellens (Danns 72), Schlupp (Dyer 86), Nugent (Beckford 72), Gallagher.Unused subs: Howard, Weale.
Portsmouth: Henderson, Mokoena, Halford, Pearce, Mattock, Ward, Norris, Mullins, Lawrence (c), Kitson, Futacs.Unused subs: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Huseklepp, Williams, Benjani.
Attendance: 25,356 (568 away) Referee: Colin Webster (Tyne & Wear)