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Ten Man City See Off Tigers

Leicester City 2:1 Hull City

City recovered from a poor start and a sending off to claim all three points against Hull at the KPS on Saturday.

Nigel Pearson made one change to the line up that drew at Blackpool bringing Marshall in for the injured Wellens against the side he was in charge of when the season kicked off.
But City got off to a poor start and went a goal down in the 8th minute.
Danns lost the ball in the middle of the park and McKenna sent Fryatt through on goal, showing what seemed to be an improved turn of pace from his days in blue he outstripped St Ledger before slipping the ball deftly past the onrushing  Schemichel.
The large Hull following had ten minutes to celebrate before City equalised. Dyer latching on to a Marshall ball down the right and cutting inside Dawson before unleashing a fierce left-footer that Mannone could only help on its way into the net.
If this cheered up the home crowd then things got even better a minute later when Marshall strode through the middle and fired a 30 yarder past Mannone to give City the lead.
Marshall, who had scored a similar effort at Chelsea, was man of the moment, L1 inventing a new song for him as he fired another shot over the bar.
City went in at half time with the lead, with Hull rarely threatening after Fryatt’s opener.
City started the second half in the same fashion and persistent work from Dyer saw him firing into the side-netting from an acute angle.

But just seven minutes into the second half City were reduced to ten men when Danns was given a straight red for a lunging challenge on McKenna. Although the Hull man also flew into the tackle Danns appeared to be punished for emerging with the ball, and his cause was not helped by some Hull player’s reaction.
Brady hit the post soon after, but that was the nearest Hull got to an equaliser.
Bamba came on to strengthen the defence  and also struck the left hand post with a volley, while Drinkwater shot tamely at Mannone after doing well to set himself up with the opportunity.
City weren’t really stretched in the closing stages and Beckford and Dyer put in a big shift, hitting Hull on the break and denying them the chance to build a spell of pressure.
The final whistle heralded three points, though surely it is too late for City to snatch a play-off place?

Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Morgan, St Ledger, Konchesky, Danns, Drinkwater, Marshall (Kennedy 85), Dyer, Beckford, Nugent (Bamba 67). Unused Subs: Howard, Schlupp, Hopper.
Hull: Mannone, Rosenior,Chester,Hobbs, Dawson, McKenna, Evans (Mclean85), Cairney (Brady 58), King (Cullen 78), Fryatt, Stewart. Unused Subs: Dudgeon, Gulacsi.

Referee: N Miller (CountyDurham).  Attendance: 23,759.

 

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Tigers Earn Payback

Revenge was sweet for Hull City at the KC Stadium on Saturday as they finally managed wear down ten man Leicester’s resistance with a later winner…

Although Nigel Pearson dubbed it: “just another game.” the Hull City fans took the opportunity to give the man who had left them 18 days previously both barrells.
Pearson, presumably knowing the opposition better than anyone, made one change to his side with Danns in for Gallagher.
It was an industrial opening half hour with more heat than light created. City’s final pass often went astray with Wellens looking out of sorts, and Hull posed an increasing threat towards Schmeichel’s goal.
Nugent broke through once and sent a shot narrowly wide, before a Koren effort flashed across goal.
Then came a game-changing incident on the half hour. Mclean ran on to a loose ball in the area and had a shot blocked by Mills, but the City skipper then flicked a boot out tripping him as he lined up for a second attempt from close in. Mills was dismissed for the second time this season, and Fryatt converted the spot kick past Schmeichel. Although this caused outrage in the away end at the opposite end of the ground, it was the correct decision.
Pearson, with gleeful taunts ringing in his ears, immediately brought St Ledger on for Beckford.
Ten man City battled on and gained their reward five minutes before the break. Nugent broke clear of the defence but fired his shot straight at Tigers keeper Gulacsi. Konchesky was on hand to curl a superbly judged shot round the keeper and just inside the right hand post. 

City were always going to be up against it in the second half but seemed to be winning the battle of attrition with just two minutes on the clock.
Schmeichel had made a near post save from Stewart as Hull pushed forward using the flanks; and then produced a third world class save in as many games to tip a shot from Dawson round the post.
With Gallagher on his own up front City made little impression going forward, but looked to have held on to a point until two minutes from time. That was when Rosenior squared a ball which Koren met with a sweetly timed run and excellent strike, giving Scmeichel no chance and raising the roof of the KC Stadium.
Revenge was sweet for the delighted Hull fans as Nigel Pearson was left to contemplete the first defeat of his second tenure… “The application of players was very good in terms of dealing with adversity. I have seen some positives. The thing about today is that it is always tough to concede late goals. We came unstuck with what was a very good goal.”

Hull: Gulacsi, Rosenior,Chester,Hobbs, Dawson, Evans (Dudgeon 87), McKenna, Koren, Mclean, Stewart, Fryatt. Unused Subs: Basso, Cairney, McShane, Adebola.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Mills, Bamba, Konchesky, Danns (Gallagher 63), King, Wellens, Dyer, Beckford (St Ledger 30), Nugent (Fernandes 68). Unused Subs: Weale, Howard.
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire). Attendance: 20,148.

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Feathers Ruffled..

Norwich City 4:3 Leicester City

Leicester slid to their third defeat on the spin last night and although they looked good going forward they were, once again, the architects of their own downfall.

Paolo Sousa made five changes to the side that was humiliated at Fratton Park last Friday with Ikeme, Lamey, Kennedy, Hobbs and Wellens in for Logan, Berner, Vitor, Neilson and Abe.

City got off to the best possible start when they took the lead in the second minute as Waghorn wriggled past two defenders before firing in a low shot at the near post that squirmed from the grasp of Ruddy in the Norwich goal and over the line.
Norwich responded positively and deserved their equaliser when it eventually came on the half hour when Crofts side-footed home from ten yards after a pull-back from the byline by Holt.
The Canaries kept the heat on until half time when City would have been the more relieved to hear the whistle.

The second half was played at a frantic pace with both sides going forward at every opportunity but it was the home side that grabbed the lead on 53 minutes when Hoolahan converted a penalty that was harshly awarded when Morrison was adjudged to have handled a cross. It was rough on City who would feel like the roof was falling in just nine minutes later when a rapid breakaway move resulted in  Hoolahan releasing Drury on the left and he had (too much) time and room to finish coolly from an angle.
Rather than cave in, City responded well and the introduction of Fryatt, Abe and Gallagher for Oakley, Wellens and Dyer gave the side new impetus and it was no surprise when Fryatt scored to keep the game alive in the 65th minute. He responded smartly to slam the rebound in to the roof of the net after Ruddy had parried a Howard shot. There was an incident after the goal that was to have repercussions later when Ward grabbed the ball from the back of the net and kicked it shamelessly in the crowd in an act of blatant time wasting. The referee didn’t punish the player and City had a frustrating wait whilst the ball was retrieved from the crowd.
As City poured forward they were caught out at the back again in the 74th minute as Hoolahan grabbed his second of the night with a stunning half volley beyond Ikeme’s dive and the home side’s two goal advantage was restored.
Once again City responded positively and two minutes later Fryatt reduced the deficit with his second of the night as he finished his run with a cool finish past Ruddy from the angle. Remembering the time-wasting antics after the previous goal, Howard, Fryatt and Norwich’s Leon Barnett sprinted to the back of the net in an attempt to be the first to retrieve the ball. All three players arrived together and after the pushing and handbags that ensued Fryatt was met on his way back to the halfway line by referee Walton who brandished the red card and Fryatt’s night was over.
It was a ridiculous situation that could have been avoided but the upshot was that City had to chase an equaliser with ten men. It was a fruitless effort and Norwich closed the game out comfortably and could have grabbed a fifth goal when Drury shot in to the side netting when it looked easier to hit the target.
City will (rightly) consider themselves unlucky not to have taken something from this encounter but they have to look at themselves to see why they lost: once again too many mistakes led to a goal avalanche, too much possession was conceded, and previously reliable players have lost confidence and form. Sides that succeed at this level are usually the sides that make fewest mistakes and City have once again shown that they are going backwards right now in this regard. Until this changes then the trapdoor once again beckons to the third tier of English football and we must hope that Sousa (or someone else) can find a way to restore confidence and form to a decent squad of players.

As a footnote to the events at Carrow Road last night it is worth highlighting the over-zealous stewarding from jumped up wannabees in high vis jackets. We pay a lot of money to attend matches these days and it is not too much to ask that we be allowed to vent some anger and emotion when events on the pitch warrant it. Last night we were continually hassled by stewards who delighted in telling us to “Sit down and mind your language” and several folk were led out for having committed no bigger crime than swearing at the ref. Was it not Delia Smith who, several seasons ago, demanded more passion from her own fans in a famous rant? It seems that the stewards inside Carrow Road are on a mission to ensure that the passion is amputated from the visiting fans and they will only be happy if we all sit and applaud politely. Special mention goes to the somewhat emasculated female steward who looked like Olive from ‘On the Buses’ and was carrying a copy of ‘The Female Eunuch’ in her pocket (probably)…

Norwich: Ruddy, Ward, Barnett, Martin, Drury, Crofts, Hoolahan (Smith 81), Lappin, Smith, Jackson (Martin 72), Holt. Subs Not Used: McNamee, Fox, Berthel Askou, Rudd, Johnson.
Leicester: Ikeme, Kennedy, Hobbs, Lamey, Morrison, King, Dyer (Gallagher 66), Oakley (Fryatt 54 (sent off 80)), Wellens (Abe 67), Howard, Waghorn. Subs Not Used: Berner, Logan, Moreno, Moussa.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire). Attendance: 25,091.

 

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City Outscore Macclesfield

Leicester City 4:3 Macclesfield Town

City hurdled Macclesfield to reach round two of the League Cup at Filbert Way last night, but erratic defending made this a closer contest than it should have been.
Paulo Sousa made six changes tot he side that lost at Palace with debuts for Tom Kennedy and Joao Moreno and starting places for Logan, Howard, Wellens and Gallagher, with Weale, Morrison, Dyer, Berner, Campbell and King making way.
Macclesfield, urged on by 100 fans, had decent start with Butcher forcing Logan into a decent save, but it was City who took charge and began to create chances. Fryatt should have put City ahead when one on one with keeper Veiga and N’Guessan fired a shot straight at th ekeeper when well placed.
It was the Silkmen who took the lead after quarter of an hour. Hestitant defending cost City a corner and Brown sent a looping header over Logan and into the net from the resulting flag-kick.
City had to wait twenty minutes for an equaliser, with Fryatt sending a shot on the turn wide and N’Guessan seeing his thumping header blocked on the line by Tremarco before a shot from Howard was parried out to Neilson who cooly chipped the keeper from close range.
Fryatt squandered another one-on-one chance just before the break, but he hit the goal trail in the second half.

City took the lead immediately after the restart after Macclesfield failed to clear a Kennedy corner, Fryatt producing a superb turn and shot to beat Veiga from the edge of the area.
Four minutes later City went 3-1 up when Wellens sent a precise ball through to Fryatt who beat the onrushing keeper with a smart finish and the game appeared to be beyond the League Two side. But more defensive frailty saw Town reduce the deficit as Mukendi was left unmarked to nod in Brisley’s cross.
Sousa immediately brought Campbell and Morrison on for Oakley and Gallagher and City soon restored their two goal lead when a neat move ended with Howard teeing up Wellens who crashed the ball into the roof of the net from just inside the area.
At this point, Moreno, who’d had an impressive debut pulled up and immediately made for the bench, replaced by Verma.
Macclesfield, like a terrier at a postman’s ankle, still refused to be shaken off and they got a third to ensure a nervy last few minutes. Hobbs completed a poor night allowing barnett to fire a shot at Logan. Although this was well saved Daniel was on hand to net the rebound.

Although City appeared to have plenty of goals in them, six goals conceded in two games is a cause for concern. Until Sousa sorts out his defence we will just have to keep on outscoring the oppostion…

Leicester: Logan, Kennedy, Hobbs, Neilson, Oakley (Campbell 65), Moreno (Verma 78), Wellens, Gallagher (Morrison 65), Fryatt, N’Guessan, Howard. Subs Not Used: Berner, Dyer, Weale, Parkes.
Macclesfield: Veiga, Brown, Tremarco, Brisley, Bolland (Chalmers 54), Bencherif, Daniel, Hamshaw (Wedgbury 71), Butcher, Sinclair (Mukendi 54), Barnett. Subs Not Used: Reid, Beardsley, Draper, Cudworth.

Referee: J Waugh (Sheffield). Attendance: 6,142.

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Penalty Heartbreak for City

Cardiff City 2:3 Leicester City (4:3 pens)

A huge performance from City was not enough to get them to Wembley: after winning 3-2 on the night to level the tie they then crashed out at the penalty shoot-out stage…

Nigel Pearson reunited his old strike partnership of Fryatt and Howard for this play off showdown, with Waghorn and Spearing making way.
The game kicked off in a white hot atmosphere and Cardiff were in charge for th eopnein gspell, carving City’s defence up time after time.
After just 4 minutes Whittingham went clear, but sent his shot narrowly wide with only Weale to beat.
Two minutes later Whittingham forced Weale into a good save from a free-kick and then it was Chopra’s turn to go close, sending an effort wide when well placed. Boothroyd then fired a shot inches wide, before the home side made the breakthrough in the 21st minute.
Boothroyd nodded a long ball into the path of Chopra, who tucked the ball under the advancing Weale for a simple finish that left City with a mountain to climb.
They set about climbing that mountain three minutes later…
Fryatt got on the end of a through ball, the ball looped up onto Howard’s head and he nodded it back to Fryatt who fired in a shot on the run from 12 yards. Marshall half blocked it but the ball had enough momentum to trundle slowly over the line and it was the Leicester corner’s turn to celebrate.
City had their tails up now and ten minutes later they levelled the tie. A long free kick from Gallagher was nodded goalwards by Howard and the ball hit Hudson’s head and looped over the keeper and into the net for an unlikely own goal.
There were chances for Fryatt and Whittingham late in the half but the teams level on aggregate at the break.
That state of affairs did not last long into the second half as City delighted their noisy following making it 3-1 on the night in the 49th minute. 
Gallagher’s corner from the right was cleared back to him and he delivered a precise cross to the far post where King was waiting unchallenged to nod the ball home.  

For a while Cardiff’s heads went down and the crowd were quiet, a goalmouth scramble saw the ball cleared off Cardiff’s line, but City couldn’t add a fourth.
The home side then levelled the tie in the 70th minute and  City Wembley dream began to unravel.
Referee Howard Webb and his linesmen failed to spot Chopra in an offside position before he was brought down by Bruce in the area. It was par for the course for Webb who’s officiating had grown increasingly erratic as the game progressed.  Whittingham sent Weale the wrong way with an assured penalty and the whole stadium was transformed into a cauldron.
Bothroyd smashed a shot against the bar after a good run; Hobbs blocked a Chopra shot on the line and then Whittingham sent a free-kick against the bar as Cardiff piled on the pressure.  
However, City almost booked a trip to Wembley late on when Howard saw his well struck volley beaten away by Marshall. The Bluebirds’ keeper then punched a Waghorn corner onto his own post in time added on, but there was no avoiding extra time.

The pace slackened a little in the additional half hour, but both sides had chances to win the tie.
A low drive from McCormack was tipped round the left hand post by Weale, and Etuhu forced a good save from the City keeper at his near post. Spearing then found Waghorn in space on the left and he chested down well before volleying wide of the right hand post. 
But the two sides could not be seperated and the evening moved on to the dreaded penalty shoot-out…
At first things seemed to be going well for City. The shoot-out took place at the end where the visitors were housed and Berner coolly planted the ball past Marshall.
Chopra responded in kind and then Howard sent Marshall the wrong way, before McCormack levelled with another textbook spot kick.
Solano then sent an unstoppable shot past Marshall before Ledley’s low shot just evaded Weale to square at 3-3.
Then Kermorgant stepped up, and what was going through his mind we may never know.
He opted for a ridiculous delicate chip that Marshall shooed away with one hand and the Cardiff City stadium erupted.


It was a horrible moment, compounded when Kennedy took a proper penalty to put Cardiff in the driving seat.
Waghorn, with possibly his last kick in a City shirt hit a decent enough shot but Marshall flew to his left to tip it away and the season was over.
An inconsolable Waghorn had to be half dragged away as the home fans poured onto the pitch.
It was a devastating end to what will be looked back upon as a season of quite some achievement.

Nigel Pearson summed up the evening and the campaign: “Tough – it’s tough on the players. I think tonight our performance epitomised us this year. I think the commitment, desire, application was first rate. I can’t ask a great deal more. Once you get to a penalty shoot-out it’s about dealing with it and they’ve been better than us in it. There are a lot of very, very disappointed players in there and although the emotion’s a bit raw at the moment, I’m proud of what they’ve achieved this season.”

Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton (Quinn 89), Hudson, Kennedy, Burke (Etuhu 60), Whittingham (McCormack 89), Ledley, Blake, McPhail, Chopra, Bothroyd. Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Gyepes, Wildig, Capaldi.
Leicester: Weale, Berner, Bruce, Hobbs, King, Dyer (Waghorn 72), Solano, Wellens, Gallagher (Spearing 72), Fryatt (Kermorgant 89), Howard. Subs Not Used: Logan, Vaughan, N’Guessan, Morrison.
Referee: S Bennett (Kent). Attendance: 26,033.

 

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A Night to Forget

Leicester City 0:0 Doncaster Rovers

City were unable to build on the good performances against Newcastle and Blackpool in a dire 0-0 draw against Doncaster at Filbert Way on Tuesday night…

Waghorn lost his place to Wellens as City looked to cement their place in the play off frame, but a tedious spectacle unfolded in front of what looked like the smallest attendance of the season. 
At first Rovers seemed to be quite up for it, and the early action took place in City’s penalty area. Hayter saw an on-target shot deflected wide by his own player and City had to deal with a couple of corners.
But after that Rovers were happy to sit back, stifle the game, and hope for a 0-0 draw, which wasn’t expected from a team with a reputation for a stylish passing game.
Unfortunately City couldn’t break them down, and whenever they came close the linesman’s flag shot up.
N’Guessan sent one effort wide and King sidefooted a shot yards over.
Then a poor night got worse on the half hour. Following some frantic action round the Rovers’ goal mouth, which left keeper Sullivan injured, Fryatt and Stock were involved in a horrible collision on the right hand corner of the penalty area which left Fryatt motionless on the ground.
After seven minutes of treatment Fryatt was loaded onto a rigid spinal stretcher, wearing a neck brace, and carted off to hospital.
Waghorn replaced him, but City were no nearer to finding a way through and the half ended goalless.
City’s best chance of the night came early in the second half when Gallagher was clean through on Sullivan but sent his lobbed shot well over the bar.
City never came that close again on a frustrating night that may have implications for the rest of the season with Fryatt suffering a broken jaw.
Nigel Pearson was not happy: “Fryatt has broken his jaw in two places. Obviously it’s not going to be a short-term thing. But it’s not a very good challenge is it? I have seen the video… They got what they came for. For a side that comes with a footballing reputation they were very, very negative and it proved to be a very frustrating night for us.”

Leicester: Weale, Brown, Berner, Hobbs, Morrison, King, Oakley, Wellens, Gallagher (Dyer 60), Fryatt (Waghorn 36), N’Guessan (Howard 88). Subs Not Used: Logan, Solano, Bruce, McGivern.
Doncaster: Sullivan, Chambers, Martis, O’Connor, Roberts, Wilson, Coppinger, Oster (Hird 85), Stock, Sharp, Hayter. Subs Not Used: Guy, Spicer, McDaid, Smith, Mutch, Dumbuya.

Referee: R Booth (Nottinghamshire). Attendance: 18,928.

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Boxing Day Treat at Filbert Way

Leicester City 2:1 Sheffield United


City survived a defensive re-shuffle to claim all three point against Sheffield United at Filbert Way on Boxing Day…

Nigel Pearson made two changes to his side with Neilson and McGivern returning for Berner and Brown; Hobbs and Morrison forming the centre-half partnership. Hobbs went down injured in the first minute but recovered after lengthy treatment.
An exciting, end-to-end game unfolded in front of a decent sized Boxing Day crowd. Former City-player Jordan Stewart should have put the Blades ahead early on when he had a sight of goal and some space, but his shot thumped straight into Weale’s chest.  
At the other end a wild slice from Montgomery was heading for the top left hand corner but Bunn managed to tip it over the bar at full stretch. 
Bunn had to perform another fine save in the 25th minute when Morrison connected beautifully with a shot from 35 yards. The resulting corner was delivered from the left byOakley; Bunn came out to claim it and missed, and Morrison muscled his way in to head home at the far post.
Eight minutes later City made it 2-0. Fryatt found himself some space on the right and cut into the area. He beat one challenge and was then heading away from goal when he was tripped by Montgomery. The ref pointed straight to the spot and Fryatt confidently stroked the ball into the bottom right hand corner with Bunn diving the wrong way.
City almost took a 3-0 lead down the tunnel when Wellens sent a looping 20 yarder crashing onto the crossbar.
Both sides made a change at the break: O’Neill coming on for Hobbs who was still feeling his early knock, and Camara coming on for the Blades.  
This immediately had an impact on the scoreline. While City’s unfamilar backline were still getting organised, Camara poked the ball over the line from close in with his first touch. 
With the new defence having failed its first test City’s lead was looking fragile, but they managed to regain their shape and were soon putting Bunn under pressure. A great run and shot from Dyer was tipped away by the Blades keeper; then Neilson’s driven cross was missed by a couple of inches by King.
Bunn then saved good efforts from Howard and then Fryatt, Howard sending the rebound sailing into the Kop.
At the other end Weale parried a fierce effort from Ward over the bar.
In a nervy ending Morgan glanced a header wide when it looked easier to score and City took all three points.   
City moved up to fourth place and Nigel Pearson commented:  “I’m pleased we are still in the play-off picture but I am sure there are 10 or 12 managers who think they still have a chance. It’s very tight and it only takes a couple of bad results to drop out of it.”

Leicester: Weale, Hobbs (O’Neill 46), Neilson, Morrison, McGivern, King, Dyer (Gallagher 89), Oakley, Wellens, Fryatt, Howard. Subs Not Used: Berner, Logan, N’Guessan, Adams, Kermorgant.
United: Bunn, Morgan, Kilgallon, Taylor (Camara 46), Stewart, Walker (Geary 49), Quinn, Montgomery (Evans 73), Harper, Cresswell, Ward. Subs Not Used: Bennett, France, Reid, Little.

Referee: D Deadman (Cheshunt). Attendance: 23,999.

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