Leicester City 3:2 Birmingham City
City left it late against Birmingham at the KPS on Saturday afternoon, but eventually battled their way to a 3-2 win…
Schmeichel was named skipper in the absence of the injured Morgan who was replaced by Whitbread. City retained the 4-3-3 line-up that earned a victory at Derby last week.
The first chance fell to City early on when Vardy raced clear of the Blues’ defence only to be bravely blocked by goalkeeper Randolph who then received a lengthy spell of treatment.
But despite a bright start from City it was the visitors who took a 12th minute lead with their first meaningful attacking move. The back-line looked to be missing Morgan a little as Ferguson squared from the left for a simple finish for Green.
Content to sit on this lead the story of the remainder of the first half was Birmingham defending in depth and City reduced to taking off target pot-shots from distance.
Wood, Drinkwater, James and Schlupp all peppered the Family Stand with their wayward efforts.
Vardy’s persistence down the left then saw him battle his way past Mullins and two other yellow shirts before firing a shot at the near post, which Randolph blocked.
But City couldn’t summon an equaliser before half-time and Nigel Pearson changed things round for the second half – Knockaert and Dyer replacing Wood and Drinkwater and the formation switching to 4-4-2.
Most of the action took place in Birmingham’s half and a great run run and cross down the left from Dyer saw Knockaert going close at the far post; shortly after Nugent had a fierce effort blocked.
However an extended period of City pressure led to nothing and then Schmeichel had to act smartly to tip a Spector free-kick round the post.
Referee Eddie Ilderton’s series of poor decisions were angering the home fans, especially when Robinson clearly tripped Nugent on the 18 yard line. The only debate seemed to be whether it was inside or onside the area, but the ref waved play on.
The mood lifted in the 77th minute however when Vardy received a Dyer pass 20 yards out and drilled it into the bottom left hand corner past Randolph.
The fans nearly raised the roof five minutes later when King delivered a similar finish having been set up by a Nugent pass.
In injury time City added a third when Ilderton harshly judged that Bartley had brought Dyer down in the area when it looked like a clean tackle.
Nugent made no mistake from 12 yards and, although Burke curled home a fine reply for Birmingham moments later, City had earned a fine victory that saw them sitting in second place in the table.
Nigel Pearson, who turned 50 this week, reflected: “It’s early in the season so I wouldn’t say it’s a case of building momentum, it’s about finding your feet and trying to get off to a good start which we have done. I don’t think that our performances have been what we’re looking for, but the important thing at the minute is that we’re able to win tight games and that’s always a quality which isn’t easy in this division.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Moore, Whitbread, Schlupp, Drinkwater (Dyer 46), James, King, Vardy, Wood (Knockaert 46), Nugent. Subs Not Used: Waghorn, Danns, Bakayogo, Miquel, Logan.
Birmingham: Randolph, Eardley, Robinson, Burn, Mullins (Burke 86), Novak, Elliott, Spector, Adeyemi, Green (Shinnie 58), Ferguson (Bartley 78). Subs Not Used: Ambrose, Doyle, Reilly, Allan.
Referee: Eddie Ilderton. Attendance: 21,229.
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