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Leicester coast to victory over Brighton

Leicester City 2:0 Brighton & Hove Albion

1718 brighton home c

City eased their way to victory against a toothless Brighton side, with goals from Okazaki and Maguire at the KPS on Saturday…

City, with an unchanged starting line-up from the Arsenal game, set the tone inside a minute, taking the lead against the Premier League new boys.
Mahrez shimmied round Seagulls left back Suttner as though he wasn’t there, and fired in a low shot which Ryan could only parry out to Okazaki, who gleefully netted from six yards.

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City should have gone 2-0 up after a defensive error saw Okazaki break through in the 16th minute, but his cut back to Vardy saw Duffy blocking two scuffed efforts from the England striker.
Okazaki then sent Vardy in on goal, but Ryan raced off his line to meet him, taking a blow to the face for his trouble.
Brighton had little to offer going forward, and although their first attack saw Murray volleying into the net, a linesman’s flag for offside halted the celebrations.
Brigthon’s other notable attempt on goal saw Morgan block a fierce shot, but penalty appeals were turned down.
City were happy to let Brighton have possession, but they couldn’t convert it into chances, and City threatened on the break.
Vardy delivered a cross from the right which Okazaki met at the near post, but he directed his effort just the wrong side of the upright.
The half ended with lengthy treatment for Duffy, after an aerial collision with Okazaki.

City continued to look comfortable in the second half and doubled their lead in the 54th minute. A Mahrez corner from the right saw Maguire rise at the far post to nod past Ryan. This capped a superb performance from City’s new centre-half, who had treated the home crowd to several surging runs out of defence, combined with incisive passing, making his £17m fee look like a bargain.

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Mahrez, who had also had a fine game, then looked set to wriggle and pirouette his way through a crowd of yellow shirts, before being halted by a strong challenge.
At this stage Knockaert was introduced to the action and received a huge ovation from the home crowd,  but he had little chance to impress, with City now in charge of the proceedings.

1718 brighton home a

Another surging run forward from Maguire saw him fouled on the edge of the area, but Albrighton’s free-kick was blocked by Knockaert.
The game then drifted towards its inevitable conclusion. Hemed forced a saved from the under-employed Schmeichel with a well struck 25 yarder, and then Okazaki was replaced by Slimani after putting in another huge shift.
The final spell of the game saw a couple of injury worries, with Morgan looking to have tweaked his troublesome back again, and Vardy limping off after a collision with Ryan.
The final whistle heralded City’s first win of the season, which was essential looking at the upcoming fixtures.
Craig Shakepeare was happy: “When you get a start like that it’s very pleasing. It was hard to break them down today but it was a professional performance to the end. It didn’t feel as comfortable as the stats suggest. We learned cruelly about game management last week, but to get the first win under the belt was the main thing.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, James, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Slimani 75), Vardy (Gray 90). Subs Not Used: Chilwell, King, Hamer, Amartey, Ulloa.
Brighton: Ryan, Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Suttner, March, Propper, Stephens, Murphy, Grob (Knockaert 62), Murray (Hemed 66). Subs Not Used: Bong, Hunemeier, Skalak, Maenpaa, Rosenior.

Referee: L Probert. Attendance: 31,902.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber


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Leicester’s Champions Parade: Picture Special

Leicester City paraded the Championship trophy through the city centre in front of thousands of fans on Monday…
Here are a selection of Simon Kimber’s photos from a memorable day…

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

Leicester City celebrations, Sky Bet Championship, 5 May 2014,

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Leicester see off Owls’ stiff resistance

Leicester City 2:1 Sheffield Wednesday

Leicester v Sheff weds, Sky Bet Championship, 4 April 2014,

City came within touching distance of promotion, beating a spirited Sheffield Wednesday side 2-1 at the KPS on Friday night…

Nigel Pearson made five changes to the side that drew at Wigan with Wasilewski,  Schlupp, James, Drinkwater and Mahrez all back in the side.
And City got off to a great start, going ahead in the 10th minute.
Wood sent Mahrez in down the right, and he cut in left before curling a precise shot beyond the reach of Kirkland.
Despite City being in charge of the first half, and changes for Knockaert, Nugent and Wasilewski coming and going, the Owls hit back with a 37th minute equaliser.
Antonio cut in from the left before firing in a hard and low shot which Schmeichel got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
Palmer then took a yellow for the team crashing into Mahrez on the halfway line when a beautiful touch looked to have sent him clear.

Leicester v Sheff weds, Sky Bet Championship, 4 April 2014,

City kept pushing forward after the break, and their efforts were rewarded on the hour. Mahrez was brought down 20 yards out and Knockaert delivered a perfect free-kick into the top left hand corner to restore the lead.
Nugent then went close with a fierce drive, but City couldn’t add to the scoreline and had to be wary of the occasional threat from Wednesday.
During the six minutes of time added on there was a frantic scramble in City’s goalmouth which saw efforts from Lee, Best and Antonio blocked by Schmeichel, Wasilewski and Morgan all within three seconds.
But City survived that to take the points, in their 21st consecutive unbeaten game.
Depending on Saturday’s results they might already have done enough to be promoted to the Premier League…

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Drinkwater, Morgan, James, Schlupp, Knockaert (Dyer 90), Mahrez (Hammond 79), Wasilewski, Nugent, Wood (Taylor-Fletcher 59). Subs Not Used: King, Moore, Logan, Phillips.  
Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Antonio, Onyewu (Llera 46), Maguire, Mattock, Lee, Palmer, Lavery (Nuhiu 72), Loovens (Coke 57), Best. Subs Not Used: Johnson, Helan, Martinez, Afobe.

Referee: G Scott. Attendance: 26,103.

All photos: Simon Kimber

 

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Leicester Draw Hornets Sting

Watford 0:3 Leicester City

1314 watford away

City exorcised the ghosts of last May’s play-off semi final with a superb 3-0 win at Vicarage Road on Saturday…

Nigel Pearson handed starting places to Wood and Schlupp, with Vardy and Konchesky both suffering hamstring strains.

After a lively opening exchange City enjoyed a huge slice of luck in the 10 minute that gifted them the lead. An Anya backpass shouldn’t have given Hornets keeper Almunia any problems but he slightly miscued his clearance, striking the onrushing Wood in the face. The ball rebounded instantly into the net for an unlikely opener.
There were few chances in a tight encounter for a while, although Dyer and Wood both had the ball in the net only to be denied by the linesman’s flag for offside.
Schmeichel then produced a smart double save from McGugan, and Wasilewski nodded a Knockaert corner narrowly over, before City went in at the break with a narrow lead.
Nine minutes into the second half it was City who got the all-important second goal. Great work from Schlupp down the left saw him beat two players before teeing up Knockaert for an emphatic strike past Almunia. His celebrations in front of the City fans could hardly have been in greater contrast to the scenes following his penalty miss,  and they earned him a booking.
The lively Forestieri seemed to be Watford’s best chance of a route back into the game, but a series of chances for the Italian saw a block by Wasilewski; an off target effort, and a great save from Schmeichel.
In the 65th minute Pearson shored things up a little bringing James on for Wood and leaving Nugent on his own up front.
But Watford weren’t troubling City greatly and off-target efforts from Anya and Deeney was the best they could manage before City wrapped up the game in the  87th minute.
Substitute Taylor-Fletcher sent Dyer in with a neat through ball and although the winger’s shot hit Almunia it looped up and into the net to send the visiting fans into further celebrations.

The three points briefly saw City level on points with leaders Burnley, as this season continues to progress in a highly satisfactory way.

Watford: Almunia, Doyley (Cassetti 61), Angella, Ekstrand, Anya, McGugan, McEachran, Murray (Fabbrini 46), Pudil (Faraoni 72), Deeney, Forestieri. Subs Not Used: Bond, Iriney, Battocchio, Acuna.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Moore, Wasilewski, Morgan, Schlupp, Knockaert (Hammond 75), Drinkwater, King, Dyer, Nugent (Taylor-Fletcher 82), Wood (James 66). Subs Not Used: Hopper, Bakayogo, Miquel, Logan.

Referee: Roger East. Attendance: 16,011.

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Knockaert inspires Leicester fightback against Rams

Leicester City 2:1 Derby County

Photo: Shellie Marlowe

Photo: Shellie Marlowe

City made into the fourth round of the League Cup with a win over neighbours Derby at the KPS on Tuesday night, two late goals from Knockaert and Drinkwater turning the game on its head…

Nigel Pearson made eight changes to his side with: Hammond, Hopper, Bakayogo, Taylor-Fletcher, Miquel and Wasilewski all in the starting line-up for the first time.
A bright start saw early chances for Schlupp and Hopper and then Coutts got a shot on target.
Buxton was then denied by a Bakayogo goal-line clearance, before the game settled down into something of a stalemate.
Drinkwater went close with a shot on the turn, but it was the Rams who went into at the break a goal ahead after Russell squared from the right for Martin to beat Schmeichel in the 42nd minute.

Dyer and Nugent replaced Bakayogo and Hopper for the second half with City changing from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2.
Taylor-Fletcher then sent Nugent through for a chance well saved by Grant before making way for Knockaert just after the hour.
Soon after this Russell missed the target, and a chance to kill the game off, when well placed.
Instead, it was City who found the net with 12 minutes remaining.  A well-struck Knockaert free-kick from 30 yards struck the bar, bounced down and into the net to the delight of the Frenchman and home crowd.
For the second game running City struck again soon after.
Drinkwater got a touch to a James free-kick launched into the box and it found the net, sparking more manic celebrations.
This double blow knocked the stuffing out of Derby and City managed to hold on to their lead without any late dramas, going into Wednesday night’s fourth round draw.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Drinkwater, Hammond, James, Schlupp, Moore, Hopper (Nugent 46), Bakayogo (Dyer 46), Taylor-Fletcher (Knockaert 63), Miquel, Wasilewski. Subs Not Used: De Laet, Konchesky, Whitbread, Logan.
Derby: Grant, Forsyth, Bryson, Keogh, Coutts (Davies 28), Martin, Russell, Freeman, Sammon, Hughes (Jacobs 90), Buxton. Subs Not Used: Smith, Ward, Deeney, Eustace, Bennett.

Referee: Dean Whitestone. Attendance: 14,043.

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Leicester ease past Carlisle with five goal display

Carlisle United 2:5 Leicester City

1314 carlisle away a

An unfamiliar Leicester line-up eventually overcame Carlisle’s resistance, thanks to a hat-trick from Chris Wood, to see them into the League Cup third round…

Nigel Pearson made six changes to the side that beat Birmingham for this long midweek trip with Logan replacing Schmeichel in goal, debuts for Miquel and Bakayogo, the captain’s armband going to Dyer, a start for Knockaert and the return of Danns.

But it was the home side who started strongly. Potts sent a long range effort narrowly over before the Cumbrians took a 15 minute lead.
After Danns lost possession in midfield, Berrett set up Amoo for a fine finish past Logan.
City gradually exerted a greater influence on proceedings and equalised in the 38th minute.  Drinkwater sent Wood in down the right, and he turned Thirlwell before firing past keeper Gillespie.
Just before the break Wood should have put City ahead but blazed a great chance over so it was all square at half time.

1314 carlisle away b
That didn’t last long, however, with Dyer outpacing the Carlisle defence to put City ahead just two minutes into the second half.
Four minutes later another burst of Dyer acceleration set Knockaert up to make it 3-1.
City were enjoying themselves now and extended the lead further on the hour. When Vardy was brought down in the area by Potts, Wood stepped up to convert the spot kick and make it 4-1.
Four minutes later, Waghorn, on for Vardy, set up Wood for his hat-trick goal which he gleefully fired across Gillespie.
Berrett got a late consolation for Carlisle  cutting in from the left  and curling a fine shot beyond Logan, but it was a fine win for City and a just reward for the fans who travelled so far on a Tuesday night.

Carlisle: Gillespie, Butterfield Livesey, Thirlwell, Black, Amoo (Symington 74), Berrett, Potts, Noble (Guy 56), Robson, Miller (Beck 80). Unused Subs: Gillies, Edwards, Todd, Fleming.
Leicester: Logan, Moore, Whitbread, Miquel, Bakayogo (Schlupp 84), Knockaert, Drinkwater, Danns, Dyer, Vardy (Waghorn 62), Wood (Hopper 66). Unused Subs: De Laet, King, Gallagher, Smith.

Referee: Graham Salisbury. Attendance: 3,308.

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Late Show Dispels the Blues…

Leicester City 3:2 Birmingham City

1314 brum home a

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.

1314 brum home b

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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