Stoke City 2:1 Leicester City City fell at the first in this year’s FA Cup competition, with a below par display never really testing Premier League Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday. Vardy, De Laet, Konchesky, James and Schlupp all returned to the side and over 4,000 travelling City fans witnessed a tight and cagey opening. Stoke’s first chance saw a Arnautovic cross finding the head of Jones after 12 minutes, but he connected poorly with City’s back line looking a little stretched. Knockaert then forced a save from Butland, before a major let off at the other end when Miquel somehow managed to block an Adam drive on the line with his heel. It was only a temporary reprieve however, in the 16th minute a precise Assaidi cross from the right presented Jones with another chance which he nodded past Schmeichel for the opener. City attempted to get back into the game for the rest of the half, but made little impression against a big and strong side who rarely gave away possession, unlike their Championship opponents. An off-target Schlupp shot was the best attempt, and the half ended in a fractious mood. Jones headed another Assaidi cross wide and then his frustration led to a row with Miquel as the teams headed for the tunnel. Six minutes into the second half Schmeichel managed to fingertip another Jones header against the post, but it wasn’t long before Stoke extended their lead. After Schlupp had curled a decent effort onto the roof of Butland’s net, the Potters broke swiftly and Adam fired a swerving 25 yarder in off the post. In the 68th minute Nigel Pearson brought Nugent and Dyer on for Schlupp and King and City enjoyed their best spell of the game.
A Konchesky cross was met by the head of Nugent, but Butland pulled off a flying save to tip it over the bar.
Presented with a similar chance from a Wasilewski cross moments later, Nugent gave Butland no chance, powering a header home before grabbing the ball from the net and racing back upfield.
Roared on by the City fans behind the goal, City’s response was perhaps a little too frantic, with the last ball going astray too often for a good spell of pressure to build up.
A Knockaert free-kick flying narrowly over was the best chance before the ref’s whistle blew, leaving City to concentrate on priority number one… promotion.
Stoke: Butland, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Arnautovic, Nzonzi, Adam, Whelan, Assaidi (Walters 80), Jones. Subs Not Used: Bachmann, Muniesa, Palacios, Walters, Crouch, Etherington, Shotton.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Miquel, Wasilewski, Konchesky, James, King (Dyer 68), Hammond, Knockaert, Vardy (Waghorn 80), Schlupp (Nugent 68). Subs Not Used: Morgan, Moore, Bakayogo, Logan.
Referee: Lee Probert. Attendance: 16, 844.
All photos: Simon Kimber