Leicester City 0:1 Stoke City
City suffered their first defeat since Boxing Day when one moment of class in a dour spectacle from Bojan won the game for Stoke at the KPS on Saturday…
Nigel Pearson made four changes to his side with Drinkwater, King, Schlupp and Vardy in for Hammond, James, Albrighton and Ulloa.
With neither Ulloa or new signing Kramarić starting the game this made for the most expensive bench in City’s history.
Though no doubt Ghana would be pleased to hear about Schlupp’s recovery.
A few half chances were created by Schlupp and Knockaert’s early probing, but City’s first clear cut effort didn’t arrive until the 28 minute when the two combined well but Knockaert sent his effort from close in straight at Begovic. Soon after that Vardy teed up Nugent, but his cleverly taken effort flew inches over the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Hamer hadn’t had much to do at the other end, making a regulation save from Arnautovic’s long-range free-kick after Bojan had been flattened by Wasilewski.
Wollscheid sent a header narrowly wide from a corner, before Vardy saw the last chance of the half saved by Bergovic, and the ref blew the whistle on a half that saw more perspiration than inspiration.
If Leicester had just edged the first half, the second saw Stoke gradually taking control of the game.
Arnautovic found the side-netting when he should have scored, before Wilson attempted a long-range effort that missed the target.
Hamer then produced a fantastic reaction save to deny N’Zonzi’s volleyed effort from inside the area, but the visitors soon went ahead.
In the 63rd minute a Walters ball found Bojan in the area with his back to goal. He had the time and space to turn a fire a precise shot beyond Hamer’s reach before racing off to celebrate in front of a delighted away corner.
Pearson immediately brought on Kramarić for Vardy. With his first meaningful touch he made space for himself and sent in a shot, but it didn’t test Begovic.
Further changes were made with twenty minutes to go, with Ulloa and Lawrence replacing Nugent and Schlupp, but City came up against a red and white striped wall. Knockaert came closest getting onto the end of a Lawrence cross but he was denied by Begovic; while at the other end Crouch went very close with a speculative 40 yard lob.
City could find no way through and this was a big set-back to their fragile revival, though results elsewhere meant that 17th place is still only one win away.
Leicester: Hamer, Simpson, Morgan, Wasilewski, Konchesky, Knockaert, Drinkwater, King, Schlupp (Lawrence 71), Nugent (Ulloa 71), Vardy (Kramarić 65). Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, De Laet, Albrighton, Moore.
Stoke: Begovic, Bardsley, Wilson, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Whelan, N’Zonzi, Arnautovic (Crouch 81), Bojan, Moses (Cameron 85), Walters. Subs Not Used: Butland, Huth, Ireland, Adam, Sidwell.
Referee: A Marriner. Attendance: 31,772.
ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.