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Leicester dig deep at West Ham for first away win

West Ham United 2:3 Leicester City

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A flying start, and a grimly determined finish, delivered City’s first away win of the season at West Ham on Saturday afternoon…

Craig Shakespeare made one change for City’s first trip to the London Stadium, with Benalouane in for Morgan, who injured his back against Sevilla.
And they got off to a great start, taking a 5th minute lead. Mahrez cut in from the right a swung in a cross that flew straight into the net, with Hammers keeper Randolph distracted by Okazaki’s attempted header.
Just two minutes later, the away end was celebrating again as City doubled their lead.
From a free-kick, Mahrez fed Albrighton on the edge of the area and his lofted flick found Huth on the six yard line, the German nodding home City’s second.

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West Ham’s afternoon then got worse when Reid pulled up while running for the ball and had to be replaced by Snodgrass.
But the home side began to get into their stride and pulled a goal back in the 21st minute.
Drinkwater fouled Antonio 25 yards out for a West Ham free-kick. Lanzini got it over the wall and just inside the left hand post with an excellent strike that left Schmeichel rooted to the spot.

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As West Ham pressed for an equaliser Antonio set up Ayew for a shot, which failed to hit the target. Then Antonio had a shot deflected into Schmeichel’s arms, before Carroll had a goal ruled out by the linesman’s flag.
Ayew then headed over when well placed, before City struck again in the 39th minute.
A Mahrez corner led to a scramble in the goalmouth, then Vardy seized on the loose ball lashing it into the roof of the net.

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Although Lanzini sent a shot narrowly wide, City took a two goal cushion in at the break.

Early in the second half, Benalouane tried an ambitious free-kick from the halfway line, but didn’t catch Randolph out as he collected it under the bar.
A fine Mahrez ball then sent Vardy in on goal, but he was off balance and sent his shot wide.
The home side began to crank up the pressure again, and Schmeichel got down smartly to tip a Lanzini’s free kick round the post.
West Ham reduced City’s lead in the 63rd minute. A Lanzini corner from the left was nodded back by Carroll at the far post, and Ayew headed home from close in.
It left a long time to defend a single goal lead, but City, now looking tried after their midweek heroics, dug deep to cling on to their precious lead.
As West Ham piled on the pressure, Craig Shakespeare made a double change in the 76th minute – Musa and Slimani replacing Vardy and Okazaki.
A minute later Carroll’s far post header forced a brillaint save from Schmeichel.
Ayew then blasted over from close in, with an equaliser looking imminent. Drinkwater cleared a Kouyate effort off the line as play became frantic.
What looked like a dislocated finger for Benalouane, held up play for a while and seemed to take the impetus away from West Ham. But they still looked certain to level in the 90th minute when Carroll found himself with just Schmeichel to beat from close range.
City’s captain for the day spread himself well and blocked the shot with a fantastic save.
City weathered six minutes of time added on, to claim three points away for the first time in eleven months.

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It was an immense performance from City and Craig Shakespeare commented: “There is no secret. I think hard work, commitment and endeavour, we showed all of them today, along with some good footballers. We scored the goals at the right time today. It gave us a foothold in the game. There is no secret. The hard work is paramount to success and we have to keep doing that.” 

West Ham: Randolph, Byram, Fonte, Reid (Snodgrass 18), Cresswell (Masuaku 73), Kouyate, Obiang (Fernandes 67), Ayew, Lanzini, Antonio, Carroll. Subs Not Used: Nordtveit, Feghouli, Adrian, Collins.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Chilwell 87), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Musa 76), Vardy (Slimani 76). Subs Not Used: King, Amartey, Zieler, Gray.

Referee: R East. Attendance: 56,979. 

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

———————————

We are simple folk here at Fox Towers, we have previously only offered a season subscription to the fanzine. But now we have decided to offer a further option of a year long subscription so you can hop on at any time, starting with the current issue and renewing a year later. 

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If you subscribe now, FOX 202 will be posted to you straight away, and you will also receive a free set of City postcards.

You can pay online via Paypal HERE  (UK price)

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THE FOX – THIRTY YEARS, AND WE’RE STILL HERE 

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Leicester stun Sevilla and reach the Champions League quarter finals

Leicester City 2:0 Sevilla (3:2)

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City produced a superb performance against Sevilla in the Champions League second round at the KPS on Tuesday night, a 2-0 victory making this perhaps the most glorious night in the club’s history…

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The atmosphere in the King Power was cranked up to 11, with an impressive Shakespearian ‘Let Slip the Dogs of War’ tifo display in the Kop end, and some great backing for the visitors in the away corner.

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Craig Shakespeare offered no surprises in his starting XI, sticking to the same side for the third game running, a formula that has worked for him up to now.
So we listened to the Champions League anthem for the eighth time, and we were off.

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Sevilla threatened early on, with Huth blocking Yedder’s progress, and then a fine touch by Nasri earned him some space in on the right to blast a shot from an angle that Schmeichel did very well to block with his left arm.
City began to press forward and in the 10th minute Ndidi was inches away from getting his head to an Albrighton corner, before Iborra blocked Mahrez’s shot from the clearance.
An Ndidi foul on Vitolo 25 yards out gave Sevilla a free-kick with possibilities, but Rami sent it sailing over the bar.
Nasri was then booked for clattering Ndidi, a yellow card that would have consequences later on.
In the 21st minute Sarabia dragged his shot wide from a decent position and Sevilla would soon rue that missed chance.
In the 27th minute, City turned the tie on its head. Iborra fouled Vardy out on the left and Mahrez lined up the free-kick. He floated a perfect ball into the area, which evaded the ruck in the middle and fell for Morgan to knee it home at the far post.

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This caused pandemonium around the ground and a frantic spell of play as Sevilla attempted an instant reply. Iborra had a shot blocked and Fuchs headed the resultant corner clear. Yedder then sent a shot into the sidenetting when well placed.
Mercado’s cross/shot then had to be tipped away by Schmeichel before City managed to calm things down.
They were the better side up to the break. Vardy had a shot blocked, Drinkwater fired an effort straight at Rico, and Fuchs made great progress down the left, staying on his feet after a foul in the area, but shooting straight at the keeper.
The half time whistle meant that City were 45 minutes away from a place in the quarter finals and the tension was almost unbearable.

This feeling worsened when Sevilla, with Mariano and Jovetic on for Mercado and Sarabia, had the best of the second half opening spell.
Huth cleared a dangerous low cross from Vitolo, and Fuchs got his head to a Nasri cross before a horrible moment in the 53rd minute when Escudero strode forward before unleashing a dipping 30 yarder that hit the underside of the bar.
It was a reminder of how narrow City’s ‘away goal lead’ was but a minute later City went ahead in the tie and the King Power erupted again.

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Okazaki had a shot blocked, Mahrez crossed the loose ball, Rami’s attempted clearance fell for Albrighton, who took a composed touch before firing a shot just inside the right hand post.
Although Sevilla could still force extra time with a goal, they looked rattled and weren’t causing City’s defence many problems.
Shakespeare made his first change in the 63rd minute, bringing Slimani on for Okazaki, who had run himself into the ground once again.
Vardy then wasted a good chance when Rico pushed a Mahrez cross into his path.
But the tie turned further in City’s favour in the 74th minute when Nasri lost his rag with Vardy following a tussle and appeared to be the main aggressor in a coming together of heads. He was shown his second yellow, but wasn’t prepared to go quietly into the night, having to be dragged off the field by his teammates.

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The FA Cup match at Millwall showed us that ten men can be better than eleven, and so it proved here, with Sevilla being awarded a 79th minute penalty.
Vitolo charged into the area and lifted the ball over Schmeichel, who then crashed into him. The referee pointed to the spot and booked the City keeper.
Silence fell around the ground and the spectre of extra time loomed, but N’Zonzi’s spot-kick was poor and Schmeichel saved low to his left.
A huge roar greeted the save and it looked as though the footballing gods were back on City’s side.

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Sevilla were losing their composure now, and coach Jorge Sampaoli was sent to the stands in a gibbering rage.
City continued to look for goals and Vardy sent a header straight at Rico with the goal at his mercy.
Slimani then went clear down the right, but stumbled in trying to round Rico and the chance was gone.
City last chance came in the 89th minute when Mahrez hared down the middle on the break, and set up Vardy, who snatched his effort over the bar, before giving his face a good pummelling in frustration.
Sevilla desperately pushed forward in the four minutes of time added on. Correa had a shot blocked and blazed another one over, but the final whistle eventually sounded and Leicester City were in the Champions League quarter finals.
You may have to read that sentence a few times.

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It had been a magnificent performance from every City player and this incredible journey continues.
Craig Shakespeare commented: “We deserve to be in the quarter-finals, we have just knocked out one of the best teams in Europe in my opinion. I think it has to stand right up there with all of our achievements because of the quality of the opposition. We know there will be some terrific teams in the last eight, as there were in the previous round, but we’re in there on merit – we might just be the surprise team.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Amartey 89), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Slimani 63), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Chilwell, King, Gray, Ulloa.
Sevilla: Sergio Rico, Mercado (Mariano 46), Pareja, Rami, Sarabia (Jovetic 45), Iborra, Nzonzi, Escudero, Vitolo, Ben Yedder (Correa 68), Nasri. Subs Not Used: Soria, Kranevitter, Vazquez, Lenglet.

Referee: D Orsato. Attendance: 31,520. 

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

———————————

We are simple folk here at Fox Towers, we have previously only offered a season subscription to the fanzine. But now we have decided to offer a further option of a year long subscription so you can hop on at any time, starting with the current issue and renewing a year later. 

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For just £16.95 you will receive every issue of The FOX for twelve months, including the Summer Special, posted out to you on publication day.

If you subscribe now, FOX 202 will be posted to you straight away, and you will also receive a free set of City postcards.

You can pay online via Paypal HERE  (UK price)

Or send a cheque to:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER,
LE19 2HF

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THE FOX – THIRTY YEARS, AND WE’RE STILL HERE 

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Leicester see off Tigers as revival continues

Leicester City 3:1 Hull City

1617-hull-home-e

City recovered from an early setback to produce a convincing 3-1 win against Hull at the KPS on Saturday…

Craig Shakespeare made no changes to the side that beat Liverpool. This game presented a different challenge, and City didn’t quite get off to the same high-octane start that they did against the Reds, but they created the first chance after 5 minutes when Morgan’s far post header from a Mahrez free-kick went wide of the target.
Vardy than delivered a dangerous cross from the left, but McGuire managed to intercept before it reached Albrighton.
Huth couldn’t convert a couple of chances in quick succession as City turned up the pressure, but then they found themselves a goal down after a quarter of an hour.

Leicester City v Hull City, Premier League, 4 March 2017

A wayward ball from Ndidi saw Hull racing froward. Clucas charged down the middle before feeding Niasse down the left. Grosicki overlapped and sent in a low cross, which Schmeichel palmed out only as far as Clucas who bundled it home from close in.
Despite this sucker punch, City didn’t let their heads drop and they were back on level terms before the half hour mark. Fuchs and Vardy combined smartly down the left, and then Vardy picked out Fuchs who had continued his run into the area. The Austrian’s sidefooter went straight at Jakupovic, but the Hull keeper allowed it to squirm past him and into the net.

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City dominated the rest of the half, with Vardy dangerous down both flanks, but the sides went in level at the break.

Hull began the second half with a purpose and McGuire brushed the left-hand post with one header, before sending another straight Schmeichel. But City soon regained control and Albrighton sent a long range effort over before Mahrez fired straight at Jakupovic.
In the 59th minute City took the lead, with a piece of Mahrez wizardry that has been lacking all season. Cutting in from the right he was faced with Maguire and Robertson, and he twisted and turned until he gained a yard of space and picked out the bottom right hand corner for a fantastic goal.
Hull came back in search of an equaliser and Grosicki’s free-kick forced a good save from Schmeichel.
Craig Shakespeare made his first change in the 69th minute, bringing Gray on for Okazaki.
Drinkwater then went close with a long range volley, before Slimani came on for Mahrez for the last ten minutes.
Fuchs then volleyed well off target before Hull had a decent spell and Schmeichel had to get down very smartly to tip low Niasse shot round the post. Niasse then fired a shot into the sidenetting as Hull threatened to equalise again.
The home fans could finally stop biting their nails in the 90th minute when an own goal sealed victory. A corner from the left was flicked on by Ndidi, and bounced off Huddlestone’s head and into the net before he could react.

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The Shakespeare revival continued, and the league table made for much better reading after six points, and six goals, in two games.

City’s caretaker boss commented: “In terms of our points, it has been a turnaround. Everyone looked at the game against Liverpool on Monday and to get the three points under pressure was important but to back that up with another win was vitally important. When you’re losing and down on confidence it can be hard. Am I surprised? No, because I know this squad and what they’re capable of.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Mahrez (Slimani 83), Okazaki (Gray 70), Albrighton, Vardy. Subs Not Used: Chilwell, King, Amartey, Zieler, Ulloa.
Hull: Jakupovic, Elmohamady, Ranocchia, Maguire, Robertson, Huddlestone, Markovic (Diomande 78), N’Diaye (Hernandez 68), Clucas, Grosicki, Niasse. Subs Not Used: Meyler, Elabdellaoui, Maloney, Marshall, Tymon.

Referee: M Dean. Attendance: 31,971. 

—————————————

We are simple folk here at Fox Towers, we have previously only offered a season subscription to the fanzine. But now we have decided to offer a further option of a year long subscription so you can hop on at any time, starting with the current issue and renewing a year later. 

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For just £16.95 you will receive every issue of The FOX for twelve months, including the Summer Special, posted out to you on publication day.

If you subscribe now, FOX 202 will be posted to you straight away, and you will also receive a free set of City postcards.

You can pay online via Paypal HERE  (UK price)

Or send a cheque to:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER,
LE19 2HF

Annual subscription to EUROPE is £26.00: HERE

Annual subscription to REST OF WORLD is £32.00: HERE

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THE FOX – THIRTY YEARS, AND WE’RE STILL HERE 

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Leicester finally switch on to humble Liverpool

Leicester City 3:1 Liverpool

1617-liverpool-home-a

Craig Shakespeare’s first game in charge of Leicester saw an emphatic 3:1 win over Liverpool at the KPS on Monday night…

The caretaker boss, who may well have staked a permanent claim to the job, sent out last season’s first choice side, with Ndidi in the Kante role, and also seemed to have summoned last season’s spirit.
Right from the start of the game, City looked like a completely different side to the one that had struggled through this Premier League campaign.
Vardy was haring around the turf and hurt Mane with a tasty challenge in the first minute. City pressed forward and Huth connected with an Albrighton throw, giving Mignolet a comfortable save.
The Liverpool keeper was more stretched by the next effot when Okazaki got his head to a mishit Vardy shot.
Liverpool’s first attack came in the 10th minute when Mane sent in a dangerous low cross from the right, but Ndidi extended a long leg to intercept.
City soon threatened again when Huth should have done better with a header from an Albrighton corner, but sent it well over.
Another chance arrived for City in the 20th minute when Vardy turned Lucas with a flick, but mistimed his connection as the ball dropped allowing Mignolet to block.
Huth blocked a fierce Coutinho effort as Liverpool came more into the game, but then City took a vital 28th minute lead with a goal that conjured up memories of last season.
A defence-splitting pass from Albrighton sent Vardy in down the right and he raced clear and fired home City’s first league goal of 2017 giving Mignolet no chance.

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Although this raised the KPS roof, Liverpool almost struck back straight away when Coutinho went clear of City’s defence down the left, but Schmeichel came racing out to block his shot.
City were soon on the attack again, Mahrez sent Vardy into the box but his clever back-heel was sidefooted over the bar by Ndidi.
City didn’t have to wait long for their second goal, however, and it was truly spectacular when it arrived in the 38th minute.
From a half-cleared corner, Albrighton sent a cross into the goalmouth and when Milner headed it clear it presented itself to Drinkwater on the edge of the area. He crashed home a perfect half-volley into the bottom right hand corner and the KPS went nuts again.
City took their 2-0 lead in with them at the break, with the crowd as well as the players needing to get their breath back.

Despite the two goal cushion, nerves were still jangling as Liverpool dictated play in the first period of the second half. This was a passage of play on which City’s whole season could hinge. Liverpool’s passing game was clicking into gear and Mane was beginning to look threatening.
But then City struck again to make it 3-0 on the hour.Mahrez and Fuchs combined well down the left and Fuchs dummied  a left foot cross, before delivering a perfect ball into the area with his right. There was Vardy, perfectly placed in the middle to direct a fine header into the bottom right corner to surely seal a fantastic victory.

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Klopp’s side were stung into action now, and City had some defending to do. Lallana went close with one effort , before the visitors narrowed the gap in the 68th minute. Can set up Coutinho, who found himself to space to run into and line up a a precise shot past Schmeichel.
This came soon after a touching ‘phone light’ tribute to Claudio Ranieri around the ground, which struck the right tone.
Shakespeare made his first substition after the goal, bringing on Amartey for Okazaki who had run himself into the ground.
Liverpool set up camp in City’s half again without actually creating many chances, and they were almost caught out on the break when Mignolet arrived in the nick of time as Vardy raced after a long ball forward.
Mahrez then went on a run down the right and into the box before being crowded out: he laid the ball off to Drinkwater who skied his effort when well placed.
Mahrez was then replaced by Gray.
Liverpool upped the pressure as the final whistle approached, but the City defence held firm.
Fuchs came within inches of a fourth goal in time added on, lobbing a long-range effort that had Mignolet backpedalling as it just cleared the bar.

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The final whistle brought emotional scenes. Last season’s Leicester had reappeared.
Perhaps we will never know why. Some fans had a strange mixture of elation and anger, thinking that the players had stitched Ranieri up by under-performing for most of the season. Others pointed to subtle changes like Ndidi playing a more defensive role and Drinkwater in a more effective forward position making the difference.
Perhaps it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that Leicester were back and looked much better equipped for the battle against relegation.

Craig Shakespeare, who may well be in charge for the remainder of the season and possibly longer, observed: “I think some of it is human nature when people criticise you there is bound to be a reaction. I know the criticism has hurt and perhaps there was a little more fire in the belly because of that. They know they are guilty of underperforming – but this is only one result and we must build on that.”

 

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray 80), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton (Chilwell 90), Okazaki (Amartey 69), Vardy. Subs Not Used: King, Slimani, Zieler, Ulloa.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lucas (Woodburn 84), Milner, Lallana (Origi 66), Can, Wijnaldum, Mane (Moreno 66), Firmino, Coutinho. Subs Not Used: Karius, Klavan, Stewart, Alexander-Arnold.

Referee: L Mason. Attendance: 32,034. 

—————————————

We are simple folk here at Fox Towers, we have previously only offered a season subscription to the fanzine. But now we have decided to offer a further option of a year long subscription so you can hop on at any time, starting with the current issue and renewing a year later. 

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For just £16.95 you will receive every issue of The FOX for twelve months, including the Summer Special, posted out to you on publication day.

If you subscribe now, FOX 202 will be posted to you straight away, and you will also receive a free set of City postcards.

You can pay online via Paypal HERE  (UK price)

Or send a cheque to:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER,
LE19 2HF

Annual subscription to EUROPE is £26.00: HERE

Annual subscription to REST OF WORLD is £32.00: HERE

202-cover

THE FOX – THIRTY YEARS, AND WE’RE STILL HERE 

 

 

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CHAMPIONS 2015/16 – Leicester City framed prints back in stock

The Champions 20115/16 print features 21 caricatures of the side who won the Premier League. We have had a reprint after the initial run sold out, so these A4 sized prints which you can have either framed, or unframed, are available again …
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:
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Ten man Leicester make their point at Stoke

Stoke City 2:2 Leicester City

1617-stoke-away-a

Despite some harsh decisions from referee Craig Pawson, City battled their way to a glorious point at Stoke on Saturday with a late equaliser form Daniel Amartey.

Claudio Ranieri made two changes to his side, with Schmeichel back from injury and Simpson returning from suspension.
Schmeichel was soon in action as Stoke enjoyed a good opening spell and the Danish keeper did well to block a Walters effort from close in with his leg.
There was another good save at the other end as Grant tipped a looping header from Huth over the bar at full stretch.
Grant was called into further action saving a low shot from Slimani and a deflected effort from Vardy, before a fierce Fuchs volley was blocked.
City had their tails up now, but events were about to take a turn.
Just before the half hour, Vardy was shoved over by Johnson as went in for a challenge on  Diouf. He won the ball as he went down, but referee Craig Pawson very harshly judged it to be dangerous play and wielded the red card.

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Ten man City were on the back foot for the remainder of the half and Pawson helped them with their breakthrough in the 39th minute.
As Simpson slid in to try and block a cross from Bojan the ball struck his right hand. Another harsh judgement saw Pawson pointing to the spot, before booking Simpson for something he couldn’t do anything about.
Bojan blasted the spot-kick past Schmeichel to give City an uphill task.
Things were to get worse before half time. Pawson developed Yellow Fever and now every Leicester foul was a booking. King, Slimani, Fuchs and Albrighton all followed Simpson into the book in a surreal spell, and then Stoke grabbed a second with almost the last kick of the half. Imbula crashed a shot against the right hand post, the ball rebounded off Schmeichel and Allen was presented with a tap in.
It was now surely a damage limitataion exercise, as the City players, and even Claudio Ranieri, raged at Pawson as the sides left the field.

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Fortunately, City managed to channel their anger into something much better.
Stoke came out looking for a third that would see City dead and buried, but Schmeichel produced a brilliant save to deny Walters’ firm header from 8 yards and Morgan got a good block on a Pieters volley.
Ranieri made his first changes in the 72nd minute, bringing on Gray and Ulloa for Albrighton and Slimani, and it had an instant effect. within two minutes Gray delivered a fine cross from the right and Ulloa rose at the far post to nod it over line. Although it had been cleared by Shawcross, goal line technology soon confirmed that the ten men were back in the game.
Gray then attacked down the left flank, cut in and fired in what was an on target effort before it was deflected over the bar.
City continued to press forward, determined to get a point, and it arrived with two minutes remaining. Fuchs swung a ball into the box and Amartey rose above the Stoke defence to nod home his first goal for the club, sparking riotous scenes of celebration in the away section.

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In injury time Whelan blasted a 20 yard shot goalwards, but Schmeichel was equal to it, and the ref’s whistle heralded a famous point for City.

They had reacted brilliantly to the car crash of a first half, and although they will be left to count the cost of suspensions, this could prove to be a turning point in the season.

Claudio Ranieri revealed:“During half time we spoke a lot and we continued to believe that something would be possible. They made a fantastic performance.”

Stoke: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Diouf, Whelan (Ramadan 90), Imbula, Pieters, Allen, Bojan (Adam 83), Walters. Subs Not Used: Given, Bony, Shaqiri, Crouch, Ngoy.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, King, Amartey, Mahrez (Musa 80), Albrighton (Gray 72), Slimani (Ulloa 72), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Chilwell, Mendy, Okazaki.

Referee: C Pawson. Attendance: 27,663.

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…frameThe 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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Vardy hat trick sees Leicester humble Man City

Leicester City 4:2 Manchester City

Leicester City v Manchester City, Premier League, 10 December 2016

Leicester finally discovered last season’s level of performance with a 4-2 dismantling of Manchester City at a rain-swept KPS on Saturday evening…

Claudio Ranieri made ten changes to the line-up who were thrashed in Porto, while Pep Guardiola was missing Aguero and Fernandinho after last week’s bust up against Chelsea.
Against a back drop of constant rain, Leicester started this game in determined fashion, and delighted a soaking wet crowd with a third minute goal.
After good work from Mahrez, Slimani threaded a ball between Stones and Kolarov and Vardy raced through to place a precise finish across Bravo, his first goal in 16 games.

Leicester City v Manchester City, Premier League, 10 December 2016

If this was a great start for Leicester, it was to get even better three minutes later.
Slimani claimed another assist, teeing up King on the edge of the area for a fine curling effort that eluded Bravo’s grasp.
The home crowd went wild, sensing that last season’s City were back at last.

Leicester City v Manchester City, Premier League, 10 December 2016

Leicester continued to press against a shell-shocked looking City.
Mahrez threatened with a dangerous run, while Slimani volleyed a decent chance over the bar.
Just as the visitors managed to get a hold on the game, and started probing at City’s defence -de Bruyne sending a shot narrowly wide – Vardy struck again in the 21st minute.
It was superb goal, out of the 2015-16 handbook. A 60 yard ball from Fuchs was magically cushioned into the path of Vardy by Mahrez, and the England striker glided past Bravo and rolled the ball into the net.
Mahrez then went past two players before curling in a shot that forced Bravo into a decent save.
The visitors managed to mount some pressure of their own towards the break, but City’s defence were alert and efforts from Kolarov, de Bruyne and Fernando were all blocked.
Leicester might have gone in at the break 4-0 up, but Slimani’s header from a fine Albrighton cross missed the target.

Leicester City v Manchester City, Premier League, 10 December 2016

Despite the three-goal cushion, there was still an air of tension as Man City dominated possession and created plenty of chances after the break.
Zabaleta and De Bruyne had shots blocked before De Bruyne dragged a shot wide when well placed.
Iheanacho then had a shot saved by Zieler and Gundogan fired narrowly wide before Guardiola  introduced Sterling and Yaya Toure to the game.
The one-way traffic continued with Zabaleta seeing his shot deflected wide by King, before the defence were given a breather when Slimani pushed forward and tested Bravo with a 20 yarder.
Ranieri brought Okazaki on for Slimani in the 77th minute, and Leicester went 4-0 up within a minute.
Stones attempted a pass back to Bravo, but Vardy seized upon the ball, took a touch round the City keeper, and then slid the ball in off the far post from the tightest of angles. It was an inch over the line when Sagna cleared it.
Vardy’s goal drought was emphatically over, and this was his first hat trick for Leicester, each one finished with surgical precision.

Leicester City v Manchester City, Premier League, 10 December 2016

Only when the game was won did Leicester finally concede a goal, Kolarov beating Zieler with a 22 yard curling free-kick that found the top right hand corner with 8 minutes remaining.
Vardy was given a standing ovation when replaced by Gray with three minutes left, before Nolito applied a finishing touch to Kolarov’s low cross to further reduce the arrears.
Mahrez then made way for Matty James, making his first appearance since a serious injury in May 2015.
The final whistle was greeted with a huge roar of approval.
It was City’s finest performance of the season, achieved without midfield lynchpin Danny Drinkwater or Kasper Schmeichel, and proved that the spirit of 2015-16 is still in there somewhere.

Claudio Ranieri told the post match press conference: “It was the true Leicester today, maybe because we have played so badly in our last few matches, but today we were so strong. We wanted to do best for our fans because they support us a lot and travel to Portugal and we did not play so well. For this reason we wanted to show our best.” 

Leicester: Zieler, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Amartey, King, Mahrez (James 90), Albrighton, Slimani (Okazaki 77), Vardy (Gray 87). Subs Not Used: Hamer, Chilwell, Mendy, Musa. 
Man City: Bravo, Sagna, Zabaleta, Fernando, Gundogan (Nolito 67), Kolarov, Navas (Sterling 58), De Bruyne, Silva, Stones, Iheanacho (Toure 58). Subs Not Used: Caballero, Sane, Clichy, Adarabioyo.
Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 31, 966.

 

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
———————————————————————
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