Night of near-misses as West Brom frustrate Leicester

Leicester City 2:2 West Bromwich Albion

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, FA Premier League, 01 March 2016

City had to be content with a point from a fine performance at the KPS on Tuesday night, as West Brom kept out a second half onslaught for a 2-2 draw…

Claudio Ranieri made two changes to his starting line-up with Simpson back from suspension, and King replacing the injured Kanté.
City went for the visitors right from the kick off and the opening spell saw a Drinkwater shot blocked by McAuley and King going close after he was set up by Huth.
But it was West Brom who were to take the lead in the 11th minute as City conceded their first goal at home in 2016. A slide-rule Fletcher through-ball saw Huth uncharacteristically out-muscled by Rondon, who then fired a shot home through Schmeichel’s legs.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, FA Premier League, 01 March 2016

City, roared on by another sell-out crowd, pressed forward in search of an equaliser. Okazaki got onto the end of a Huth header, but sent his shot from close in over the bar.
The Japanese striker then neatly beat Fletcher to set himself up but his composure then deserted him for the shot.
Vardy got his head to a Mahrez cross but didn’t test Foster in Albion’s goal.
City’s equaliser arrived just after the half hour and, although deserved, it had a touch of fortune to it. King squared to Drinkwater some 25 yards out and his fierce shot struck Olsson and looped over Foster into the net.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, FA Premier League, 01 March 2016

City nearly went ahead 5 minutes later when Drinkwater crossed for Vardy, but the England striker’s header smacked against the crossbar.
For all City dominance Albion still looked dangerous on their occasional breaks and Morgan blocked a goal-bound Rondon shot.
City finally took the lead their play had deserved in the last minute of the half, when a fine Mahrez ball from the right was steered home by King.

If everything had been going to plan at the break, City soon suffered a setback in the second half when the Baggies summoned up a 49th minute equaliser.
Gardner was perhaps offered a little too much of the left hand side of the goal as he lined up to take a 25 yard free-kick, and duly curled it into the top left hand corner.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, FA Premier League, 01 March 2016

From then on it was a case of City throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Albion in the desperate search for a winning goal.
Okazaki repeated Vardy’s first half trick, heading against the bar from close range.
An inspired Albrighton then sent a series of crosses over from the left, but Albion were winning the aerial battle.
In the 63rd minute Albrighton and Okazaki made way for Schlupp and Ulloa and the crosses continued to rain in.
Foster produced a fine save from a Schlupp shot, before hearts were in mouths at the other end as Rondon couldn’t find the target at close range.
Vardy then pickpocketed the ball from McAuley out on the touchline, and raced towards goal, but his low shot was well saved by Foster.
From the corner, Huth sent a header inches wide of the right hand post.
A couple of shots from Gardner went close, but most of the increasingly frantic action centred on Albion’s goal. Vardy and Schlupp both had shots blocked, Foster saved from Morgan and then Mahrez attempted an audacious overhead kick that sadly didn’t come off.
City couldn’t repeat the last minute winner from Saturday, and title hopes were dented by the loss of two points at home. However, it had been a magnificent performance and City had gone three points clear at the top.

Claudio Ranieri wasn’t downcast: “Four points from two difficult matches, it is fantastic. We are alive and our spirit is ready to fight again. I am happy, not that we didn’t get the three points, you can’t always get the three points, but our performance was fantastic.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs (Gray 79), Drinkwater, King, Albrighton (Schlupp 63), Mahrez, Okazaki (Ulloa 63), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Amartey, Wasilewski, Inler.
Albion: Foster, Olsson, Chester, Yacob, McAuley, Dawson, Gardner (McClean 83), Fletcher, Sessegnon (Sandro 90), Berahino, Rondon (Anichebe 90). Subs Not Used: Myhill, Pritchard, Gamboa, Lambert.
Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 32,018.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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