Leicester City 1:2 Barnsley
Barnsley enjoyed a rare victory while Nigel Pearson was left reflecting on the size of his rebuilding job after City put in an abject performance to lose Saturday’s game at the King Power Stadium…
On a freezing cold afternoon City, with Wellens and Dyer restored to the starting line-up, enjoyed a reasonable start to the game and should have gone a goal ahead after ten minutes when a low Gallagher free-kick was brilliantly saved by Tykes’ keeper Steele who saw it late.
But it was the visitors who took the lead two minutes later. A break upfield led to a simple passing move with Taz Ve and Drinkwater combining to set up a slackly marked Gray who prodded hom,e from close in.
City recovered quickly from this setback with a direct move leading to an equaliser three minutes later. Mills sixty yard long ball out of defence saw Dyer chesting it down on the edge of the area before directing a shot past Steele despite the close attention of two defenders.
City, however, failed to kick on from there. Too many passes went astray on an increasingly frustrating afternoon, which got worse when Barnsley retook the lead ten minutes before the break.
Again Vaz Te and Drinkwater combined down the left to tee up Gray, this time a header beating Schmeichel from close in with the City defence playing statues again.
The second half did not bring about an improvement. Danns fired a shot over, as did Beckford when he came on as sub. Wellens diverted a Tunchev shot onto the crossbar with his head, which is the closest City came to rescuing a point, and later found the side-netting from an acute angle.
But Barnsley should have increased their lead, firstly when Done’s low shot was well saved by Schmeichel, and again when Vaz Te charged forward late on. Having done the hard part in slicing through Tunchev and Mills like a hot knife through butter, he then tried a bit of showboating, giving Schmeichel the chance to deny him with a fine block.
So 2-1 it remained, though the manner of this defeat was more worrying than the scoreline. City were, quite simply, awful.
Nigel Pearson’s after match comments included the comment that there were “delusions of grandeur” at th eclub. Whether this was referring to players, owners, supporters or all of the above wasn’t made clear, but indicated that the problems run deeper than simply a poor run of form.
Pearson has two weeks to bring in some desperately-needed fresh options before the transfer window shuts.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Mills, Tunchev, Konchesky, Danns, Wellens, King, Gallagher (Beckford 73), Nugent, Dyer. Unused Subs: St Ledger, Weale, Abe, Kennedy.
Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Foster, McNulty, McEveley, Drinkwater, Addison (Davies 67), Perkins, Vaz Te (Wiseman 90), Gray, Dagnall (Done 61). Unused Subs: Preece, Edwards.
Referee: D Whitestone (Northants). Attendance: 22,116.