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Leicester into the 5th round after finally seeing off Rams

Leicester City 3:1 Derby County aet

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City managed a morale boosting victory against Derby in this FA Cup 4th round replay at the KPS on Wednesday night, although the Championship side took the tie to extra time…

Claudio Ranieri made ten changes to his side, and Steve McClaren eight, showing that neither club considered the FA Cup a priority, but they eventually served up a highly entertaining game.
The first half did little to warm an admirably large crowd on a freezing night.
In the early exchanges, Gray crossed for Amartey to nod over the bar, and Anya skinned Wasilewski down the left but his cross was too high for Blackman.
Johnson then put Zieler under pressure from a high ball, but it bounced off the Derby man for a goal kick.
The game settled into a stalemate for a while, with City looking to hit the Rams on the break and Gray sent Musa into the area where he was bundled over by Shackell. There were loud appeals, but it didn’t quite look like a penalty.
City began to get the upper hand towards the break as an unfamiliar line-up got better acquainted. Gray was having a fine game and his low cross from the right following a great run, should have seen Musa sidefoot City ahead from close range, but he was slow to react.
There were more loud calls for a penalty five minutes before the break, when Chelwell was shoved in the back by Keogh, but referee Mike Jones waved play on again.
Derby had the final word in the first half with Butterfield forcing a save from Zieler, but De Sart wasted a good chance from the resulting corner, sending a mis-hit shot spinnng into the Kop Stand.

The deadlock was broken a minute after the break. Gray delivered a superb cross from the left, Albrighton nodded it back from just beyond the far post, and King headed home from point blank range. It was the lift that City needed and was greeted with a huge roar.
Derby were then awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area after a ball-winning challenge on Blackman by the impressive Benalouane, but Camara’s free kick was punched away by Zieler.
Five minutes later the visitors were awarded another free kick in a similar position when Albrighton was judged to have waved his foot too close to Butterfield’s head.
This time Camara’s shot looked to be covered by Zieler, but a big deflection off Chilwell in the wall left the German keeper stranded and the Rams were back in the game, to the delight of their large following.
Both sides were keen to avoid extra time and the action was end to end for a while.
Ranieri brought Mahrez on for Kapustka, who’d had a decent debut, while Nugent was given a good reception by the home crowd when he replaced Blackman.
With six minutes remaining, the ref got another big decision wrong. Musa raced after a ball down the right and Mitchell came out to meet him. Musa got to the ball first but his touch was clearly handled by the Rams keeper outside the area. It should have been a red card, but instead it was Musa who was shown yellow for his outraged reaction.
City were attacking in waves now, and there was another scare for Derby with a minute to go when Musa’s cross from the left was chested against the right hand post by Lowe as he attempted to shepherd the ball out for a corner.

Derby survived City’s late attacking spell, but fell behind four minutes into extra time in spectacular fashion. Mahrez threaded a fine ball through to substitute Ndidi, who strode down the middle before unleashing a 25 yard rocket in off the right hand post for his first goal for the club.
The other 90th minute sub didn’t fare so well soon afterwards, when Gray’s low cross saw Slimani unbalanced and unable to take the tap in that had been presented to him.
Derby were still battling and Russell headed narrowly wide from a Christie cross, but City were controlling the play and seeing plenty of the ball. King forced a good save from Mitchell who tipped his top corner effort round the post.
With 114 minutes on the clock, City finally settled this epic cup tie with a superb goal. Gray cut in from the left flank into the area, and wriggled past Keogh and Vydra before despatching the ball across Mitchell into the top right hand corner.
There was no way back for Derby, and City had a date with Millwall in the fifth round after a night that had lifted the mood around the club.

Claudio Ranieri’s gamble had paid off: “Derby played good football and we won. This is what we needed and I wanted. We want to do well in all competitions. We want to go forward in the FA Cup. The Premier League is not so good but we have to stay in the Premier League. This fresh air is good for the players.”

Leicester: Zieler, Amartey, Wasilewski, Benalouane, Chilwell, Mendy (Ndidi 90), King, Albrighton, Kapustka (Mahrez 81), Gray, Musa (Slimani 90). Subs Not Used: Drinkwater, Hamer, Okazaki, Fuchs.
Derby: Mitchell, Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Lowe, de Sart, Butterfield, Johnson (Vydra 53), Camara (Russell 74), Blackman (Nugent 82), Anya. Subs Not Used: Carson, Ince, Baird, Pearce.

Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 31, 648.

———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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Late Morgan goal keeps Leicester in the Cup

Derby County 2:2 Leicester City

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A late equaliser from Wes Morgan forced a 4th round replay for City in a entertaining 2-2 draw at Pride Park on Friday night…

Claudio Ranieri made three changes for this East Midlands derby with Ndidi, Mendy and Gray making way for Chilwell, King and Albrighton.
After a lively opening at a cold and rainswept Pride Park, City were gifted an 8th minute lead. Huth met an Albrighton corner with his head, the ball deflected off Baird to Bent guarding the goal line. It looked like a straightforward clearance, but Bent took a wild swipe at the ball and sliced it into his own net. The City players celebrated amongst themselves as Bent stood and scratched his head.

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But the Championship side responded well to this setback and Bent made amends at the other end in the 21st minute, rising above Chilwell to meet a Hughes cross with a glancing header that left Schmeichel grasping thin air.
City almost regained the lead instantly when Okazaki charged forward and struck a fierce shot from just outside the area that Carson did well to tip over.
Although Vardy also had a shot deflected wide, the Rams were the better side up to half time and delighted the home support, taking a 40th minute lead.
A header out of defence from Simpson fell for Bryson who easily carved his way through the City defence before slotting a low shot across Schmeichel and into the bottom right hand corner.

Claudio Ranieri introduced Gray for Fuchs in the second half and a more positive line-up saw the Champions dictating the play.
An Albrighton chip from the right was headed goalwards by Okazaki, but a deflection off Keogh’s arm took it wide of the post.
Moments later another Albrighton cross from the right was punched out by Carson to Gray, but his shot from 7 yards went straight into the body of the Rams keeper.

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Okazki then went on a run down the right, finding Vardy on the edge of the area who in turn teed up Gray for a low shot that thumped against the right hand post. The rebound fell for Okazaki whose shot was blocked by Johnson, returning to the Japan international, but his second shot went straight at Carson.
A rare chance came for Derby on the hour when Baird launched a ball to the far post, but but Russell’s header found the side-netting from a tight angle.
Mahrez, on for Okazaki, then caught out the Derby defence with a quick throw to Drinkwater, who crossed for Vardy to connect well with a header, but the orange shirt of Carson was attracting the ball like a magnet and he didn’t have to move to save it.
Musa, on for Albrighton fired a shot wide and it looked as though time was running out for City, who were struggling to find a way past the Rams who had everyone behind the ball.
But they rescued the tie with four minutes remaining.
Gray’s well-delivered corner from the left saw Morgan outwit his marker to direct a header past Carson from six yards out.

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5,400 City fans were still celebrating that goal when there was a late scare at the other end. Camara jinked his way into the area and his attempted pass hit Huth on the thigh, the ball jumping up to hit his hand. Thankfully Mark Clattenburg waved play on, and both sides had to be content with a replay.

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Ranieri didn’t mind this extra burden on the fixture list: “It’s important for our confidence. I am very happy with our attitude and our character. When we show this character anything can happen.”

Derby: Carson, Bryson (Camara 87), Keogh, Russell (Vydra 84), Ince, Bent, Baird, Johnson, Pearce, Hughes (Butterfield 63), Olsson. Subs Not Used: Christie, Shackell, De Sart, Mitchell.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs (Gray 46), Albrighton (Musa 74), Drinkwater, King, Chilwell, Okazaki (Mahrez 64), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Benalouane, Mendy, Ndidi 
Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 25,079.

 

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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Leicester comeback at Everton secures 4th round place

Everton 1:2 Leicester City

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City fought back to make it to the fourth round of the FA Cup after trailing 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri made five changes to his starting line-up, handing a debut to new signing Ndidi, and bringing Drinkwater, Chilwell, Albrighton and Gray in.
In the opening exchanges Schmeichel easily dealy with an on-target shot from Funes Mori, while Ulloa got his head to a Gray cross but was wide of the far post by a yard.
Ndidi, already impressing in midfield, then forced a save from Robles with a low drive.
The lively Gray then had an angled shot blocked by Robles, before Everton began to get the upper hand.
Baines had a shot blocked by Albrighton, and then Funes Mori got on the end of a Williams nod down, but sent his shot over from close in.
As Everton continued to threaten, Schmeichel got a hand to a Valencia chip from the left but only as far as  Lukaku, who sent his header well wide.
Ten minutes before the break, Ulloa had to go off with a thigh problem, with Musa replacing him up front. With Slimani in Africa and Vardy ill, City’s attacking options were threadbare, but Musa was to step up magnificently.

City began the second half on the front foot, Drinkwater and Simpson both missing the target with long range efforts, and Morgan finding room for a header from a corner, but it went straight at Robles.
However, it was the home side who were to take a 63rd minute lead. Deulofeu outpaced Chilwell down the right and his low cross presented Lukaku with a tap in.
But this lead only lasted three minutes, as City struck back. An Albrighton ball sent Gray down the left and his low cross found Musa, arriving at the near post. His shot span up off Baines and hit the left hand post before Musa managed to bundle it over the line as Robles scrambled back.
Four minutes later the travelling contingent were celebrating again as City took the lead.
Musa was 22 yards out when he exchanged passes with Drinkwater and threaded his way through the defence, before producing a neat finish past Robles.
City’s defence held firm for the remainder of the game, with a Mirallas shot that went narrowly wide being Everton’s best chance.
City could have made it 3-1 when Kapustka, making his first appearance as sub in the 84th minute, didn’t test Robles with a shot when well placed.

Claudio Ranieri singled out two players for praise: “Musa was excellent. I’ve watched him recently and think he is starting to understand English football better. Ndidi trained just two training sessions with us but played with fantastic personality. He recovered a lot of balls and played well. For 20 years old to make his first game against Everton, it’s unbelievable.”

Everton: Robles, Baines, Williams, Funes Mori, Holgate (Deulofeu 46), Coleman, Davies, Barry, Barkley (Kone 75), Valencia (Mirallas 61), Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Hewelt, Jagielka, Oviedo, Cleverley. 
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Gray (Fuchs 77), Albrighton (Kapustka 84), Ulloa (Musa 34). Subs Not Used: Zieler, Hernández, James, Okazaki. 
Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 35,493.
———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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Leicester eased out of the Cup by Spurs

Leicester City 0:2 Tottenham Hotspur

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Claudio Ranieri made his priorities clear as City fielded a fringe side in a 2-0 defeat against Tottenham in the FA Cup 3rd round replay at the KPS…

Only Schmeichel, Drinkwater and Simpson remained from the starting XI at Villa, with the latter standing in for De Laet who injured himself in the pre-match warm-up.
The third meeting between these two sides in just ten days saw an opening spell of midfield pinball, before the first chance fell to Eriksen, who missed the target after being teed up by Son.
City, were very limited going forward and the first chance came after 28 minutes. Although Inler got his 20 yard free-kick over the wall and on target it didn’t stretch Vorm in the Spurs goal.

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The visitors dominated play up the break: Davies went close with a shot, Wasilewski blocked a Chadli effort, and Lamela sent a header over the bar.
Spurs took the lead six minute before half-time as Son, in on the right, gained himself a yard on Chilwell before beating Scmeichel with a fine strike into the top right hand corner.
City tried to haul themselves back into the game up to the break, but Ulloa missed the target with his 20 yard shot and both Inler and Benalouane failed to trouble Vorm with ambitious overhead shots.

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The second half saw Okazaki on for Drinkwater and City’s performance improved for a while with his injection of enthusiasm.
The Japanese international was involved in a move that ended with Gray seeing his curling shot tipped away by Vorm, denied a goal on his impressive home debut.
Pochettino then introduced Kane to the game and he soon forced a good block from Schmeichel at his near post.
But Spurs then wrapped the game up in the 66th minute when Chadli seized on Son’s slide-rule through-ball and beat Schmeichel with a low shot.
City couldn’t pull a goal back, Gray fired a shot over, Albrighton had a fierce shot saved by Vorm, and the ball wouldn’t quite run for Vardy when he came on for the closing stages.

It was a disappointing night for a sell-out crowd, many of whom were not regulars, and thousands of whom, were outside at kick-off due to technical difficulties.
But it was a case of priorities for a club that doesn’t have the strength in depth of those they are hoping to compete with in the Premier League.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Albrighton 63), Wasilewski, Benalouane, Chilwell, Drinkwater (Okazaki 46), King, Inler, Gray, Dyer (Vardy 74), Ulloa. Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Morgan, Kanté, Mahrez.
Tottenham: Vorm, Walker, Wimmer, Dier, Davies, Eriksen, Carroll, Bentaleb, Chadli (Onomah 73), Lamela (Kane 60), Son (Alli 84). Subs Not Used: Lloris, Vertonghen, Trippier, Winks.

Referee: A Taylor. Attendance: 30,006.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

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We are down to the last few of FOX 195 and 196 – our first all-colour issues and we really mean it this time…

It isn’t too late to get your hands on them and catch up with Leicester City’s table-topping exploits, interviews with Carl Muggleton and Kevin Phillips, the adventures of Fanatical Frank and 50Something and much more…

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Stoke force Leicester to concentrate on the League

Stoke City 2:1 Leicester City 1314 stoke away b 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. 1314 stoke away c 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. 1314 stoke away a 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

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Leicester dumped out of cup by Terriers

Leicester City 1:2 Huddersfield Town

1213 hudd cup homeThe gulf in priorities between club and fans widened at the KPS on Tuesday night as a below strength City missed out on a home 5th round tie, beaten 2-1 by Huddersfield.However, not all the blame could be heaped on the ‘stand-ins’, as the usual highly reliable Schmeichel and Morgan had proved by the fifth minute. Morgan bundled Lee over with a clumsy challenge 20 yards out and then allowed Clayton’s curling effort past his section of the wall before it beat a slightly mis-positioned Schmeichel to find the net.
City replied instantly when Knockaert’s corner from the right was met by De Laet’s head, and blocked to Keane whose side-footed found a route through the crowd and past Bennett for his first senior goal.
After this early flurry of activity the game settled into a stalemate for the remainder of the first half and City’s threat was reduced to a couple off-target efforts from Gallagher.
It was the visitors who were creating the chances towards the break with a Wallace 25 yarder being well saved by  Schmeichel and Morgan blocking a shot from the lively Scannell.

The second half was an increasingly frustrating experience for a sparse and shivering crowd, with City unable to get any sort of passing game going. Waghorn and Vardy replaced an impotent forward line of Nugent and Futacs, but fared no better.
Then the Terriers took a 75 minute lead when Scannell’s run in from the left took him past Koncheksy and Keane near the touchline, before he beat the advancing Schmeichel from an acute angle.
City had just one decent chance to force extra time in the remaining quarter of an hour as Vardy directed his header from a Gallagher cross inches wide of the left hand upright.

So City were dumped out of the competition, having been handed a tie they surely could have won at the first attempt using the first team.

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Keane, Morgan, Konchesky, James, Gallagher, Wellens (Dyer 81), Knockaert, Futacs (Waghorn 74), Nugent (Vardy 74). Subs Not Used: Logan, Drinkwater, King, Moore.
Huddersfield: Bennett, Dixon, Wallace, Gerrard, Woods, Sinnott (Norwood 65), Arfield, Atkinson (Gobern 83), Clayton, Scannell, Lee (Vaughan 70). Subs Not Used: Colgan, Clarke, Hunt, Crooks.

Referee: James Adcock (Nottingham). Attendance: 14,517. 

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Below strength Leicester scrape into fifth round draw

Huddersfield Town 1:1 Leicester City

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Substitute Chris Wood’s late equaliser kept City in the FA Cup despite a below par performance against Huddersfield on Saturday…

City fans had high hopes of a win at the John Smith’s Stadium, with this season’s league game aggregate score being 8-1, and travelled in the usual big numbers for the FA Cup. But there is a disparity in City fans’ traditional love of the competition and where it currently stands as a priority for the club.  Nigel Pearson made five changes to his side with Wellens, King, Waghorn, Vardy and Dyer in for Knockaert, James, Drinkwater, Nugent and Wood and an unfamiliar line-up led to a disjointed first half performance.
Manager-less Huddersfield who parted company with Simon Grayson on Thursday, looked determined not to lose to City a third time and had the best of a terribly scrappy first half.
Clarke should have put the Terriers ahead but sent his header over the bar from a Norwood corner with the goal at his mercy; while City only had a single chance in the whole half when Waghorn turned his marker and fired an effort narrowly wide.
The second half brought a slight improvement, especially when Pearson introduced Nugent and Wood with half an hour remaining. Roared on by 4,000 visiting fans City had their best spell of the game and Wood forced the previously unemployed Smithies into a save.
But Town responded and after Novak had headed one effort at Schmeichel, they took a 74th minute lead. Hunt charged into the area and for the second game running we saw a typical forward’s challenge, Dyer being tempted into a challenge that sent Hunt sprawling. Novak calmly sent Schmeichel the wrong way from the spot and things were not looking good for City.
Vaughan saw his header cleared off the line by Drinkwater as City clung on by a thread, but a minute later they had earned a replay.
Marshall fed Da Laet out on the right and his low cross was left by Dyer, falling nicely for Wood to side-foot home from 12 yards.
City lived to fight another day, though another game on the fixture list won’t be particularly welcome to a club with an eye on the main prize.

 Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Clarke, Gerrard, Woods, Clayton, Norwood, Sinnott (Scannell 66), Arfield, Novak (Lee 81), Vaughan. Subs Not Used: Bennett, Wallace, Holmes, Dixon, Crooks.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Keane, Konchesky, Marshall, King, Wellens (Drinkwater 69), Dyer, Waghorn (Wood 60), Vardy (Nugent 60). Subs Not Used: Logan, Gallagher, Moore, Futacs.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire). Attendance: 11,945. 

 

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