Blackburn Rovers 2:1 Leicester City
For the second time in four days City found themselves wondering how they lost a game that they could have comfortably won. It was another match that they dominated for long spells and managed more shots than the home side but the outcome was the same – defeat.
Nigel Pearson made two changes to the side that started at Charlton and restored King and Nugent to the side in place of Matty James and Jermaine Beckford and it was Nugent that had the first opportunity to give City the lead on 12 minutes in a bright start when he met Marshall’s cross but his point-blank header was somehow saved by Paul Robinson when a goal looked certain. Nugent and Kinfg then combined to unlock Rovers’ defence and King stepped inside the defender only for his goal-bound side foot shot to be blocked by Scott Dann.
Almost inevitably it was Rovers that took the lead from a breakaway on 32 minutes as City were applying more pressure. Jason Lowe’s harmless-looking ball across the edge of the penalty area was met by Gomes who swung his right foot at the ball, first time, and the shot flew low in to Schmeichel’s net with the keeper clearly impeded by a Rovers’ forward in an offside position just a couple of yards in front of him. The flag stayed down and the goal stood. But City came straight back at Rovers and Vardy rolled the ball in to the path of David Nugent who stung Robinson’s hands with a thumping low drive from 18 yards.
City began the second half in a positive mood and Rovers were again on the back foot, relying on breakaways so it was no surprise when the equaliser came on 55 minutes from a delighted Jamie Vardy. A long through ball looked harmless enough until Scott Dann made a mess of helping the ball back to his keeper and the ball fell short, in to the path of Vardy who side footed past Robinson. At this point City had their tails up and looked the more likely winners and Konchesky came close to giving them the lead when, following a Marshall free kick in to the wall, he hit the rebound goalwards only for Danny Murphy to block the ball on the line.
If that was hard to take then a few minutes later City were fuming at the officials when a perfectly good goal from Vardy was ruled out. Substitute Anthony Knockaert crossed deep for Vardy to power a great header beyond Robinson but the flag went up for an offside against Nugent who was a mere spectator to Vardy’s excellent goal. The official’s error was compounded 4 minutes later when Rover’s stole a winner on 80 minutes. A long range shot from Rochina was deflected and looped up for Morten Gamst Pedersen on the left of the area. He brought it down superbly with his left foot to wrong foot De Laet completely and curled the ball round Morgan and beyond Schmeichel and in off the far post. It was a goal reminiscent of Dennis Bergkamp against City in the famous 3-3 draw but hardly deserved by Rovers who had been hanging on for a draw at that point.
There was no reply from City this time and they were left to reflect on a fruitless away trip which was down to Paul Robinson’s brilliance, poor finishing and bad luck. There is clearly sympathy for Nigel Pearson’s side at the moment who are playing good football for no reward but sooner or later the results need to turn and good performances need to turn in to points. That will only happen when they are tighter at the back and sharper in front of goal.
Blackburn: Robinson, Ribero, Dann, Givet, Olsson, Lowe, Murphy (c), Etuhu, Pedersen, Gomes (Rochina 77), Edinho (Goodwillie 46).Unused subs: Kean, Nunes, Formica, Jorge, Hanley.
City: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan (c), Moore, Konchesky, Marshall (Beckford 90), King, Drinkwater (Danns 77), Dyer (Knockaert 69), Nugent, Vardy.Unused subs: Logan, Waghorn, James, Schlupp.
Referee: R Madley (West Yorkshire)