Leicester City 4:1 Derby County
Nigel Pearson brought Dyer, Nugent, Morgan, Drinkwater and Moore back into the starting XI for this mouth-watering local derby between the league’s two form sides.
It was City who had the best chance of a frantically paced opening, when a break upfield saw Nugent setting up Dyer for a shot which Grant did well to block. James was well placed to meet the rebound but snatched his shot wide.
City looked to be in fine form as one assault on the Rams goal followed another. James sent a 20 yarder just over the bar; before Nugent evaded to close marking to fire in a clever shot on the turn, but Grant was equal to it.
The lead was already overdue when it came in the 25th minute. A fantastically determined run from De Laet opened up the Derby defence and he exchanged a one-two with Nugent before beating Grant with a precise drive.
City continued to pile forward and the busy Grant saved from Dyer and Nugent, before Vardy hit the angle of post and bar.
City were denied by the woodwork again soon afterwards when Moore got in on the act, beating Grant with a header from a James corner, but not the goalframe.
Somehow, City were unable to add to the scoreline before the break, and the home crowd were left hoping that we wouldn’t pay for all those missed chances.
They needn’t have worried, as City doubled their lead three minutes into the second half. Vardy’s hard work robbed Keane of possession in the area and the loose ball fell for Nugent to fire past Grant from ten yards out.
After the first quieter spell of the game Derby hit back just before the hour mark when Buxton headed home a Hughes corner.
The visiting fans only had a minute to celebrate before City restored their two goal lead. Forsyth brought Vardy down right on the edge of the area and the ref pointed to the spot. Nugent fired it high to the keeper’s left to underline City’s superiority.
Four minutes later City delighted their fans with a fourth, with Vardy racing onto a Nugent ball and slotting it under Grant for a stylish finish.
The game was over and City were enjoying themselves with some party pieces from Knockaert, but they couldn’t find a fifth. Substitute Wood, coming back from injury, came closest but mis-cued his shot.
It was the best performance of the season to date from City, and suggested that a 7 point lead at the top of the Championship was no accident.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Konchesky (Schlupp 71), Drinkwater, Morgan, James, Vardy (Wood 79), Dyer, Moore, Knockaert, Nugent (Taylor-Fletcher 83). Subs Not Used: Hammond, King, Logan, Wasilewski.
Derby: Grant, Forsyth, Bryson, Hendrick, Martin (Sammon 75), Ward (Bennett 55), Hughes, Buxton (c), Dawkins (Bamford 55), Wisdom, Keane. Subs Not Used: Eustace, Freeman, Legzdins, Bailey.
Referee: D Coote. Attendance: 23,140.
All photos: Simon Kimber
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