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City Hit Rock Bottom Rovers for Four

Leicester City 4:0 Doncaster Rovers

City swept aside a doomed Doncaster Rovers at the King Power Stadium on Saturday…
A fairly dull opening half hour saw a couple of chances at each end with Nugent having a long ranger tipped over by Ikeme and Beckford’s effort blocked on the line by Diouf, while Coppinger and Barnes went close for Rovers.
But  Rovers lost Piquionne to injury in the 20th minute, and El-Hadji Diouf at the break and rarely troubled City again.
City took a 33rd minute lead when Morgan’s ball forward was nodded down by Nugent for Drinkwater who converted in off the right hand post.
After Schmeichel saved from Coppinger late in the half Rovers looked a beaten side, with their small band of followers accepting their fate with good humour.
Two minutes into the second half it was game over as Peltier cut in from the right and, stumbling, hit a hopeful cross/shot towards the near post. Former City keeper Ikeme somehow allowed it to squirm between him and the post for a howling error.
Ikeme saved well from Dyer and Konchesky and then Gallagher and King were introduced for the final half hour.
Marshall then added another to his growing portfolio of blinding goals in the 78th minute, cutting into the area from the left before sending a measured 18 yarder into the top right hand corner.
Moments later he curled another effort onto the angle of post and bar.
But City managed a fourth in the 89th minute – the subs combining, King sending Gallagher through for an easy finish.
Although the maths refuses to give up, it is impossible to shrug off the feeling that it is all too late for City to reach the play-offs…

Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Morgan, Bamba, Konchesky, Marshall, Wellens (King 61), Drinkwater, Dyer (Gallagher 61), Nugent, Beckford (Schlupp 81). 
Unused Subs: Howard, St Ledger.

Doncaster: Ikeme, Chimbonda, Beye, Lockwood, Ilunga, Gillett, Oster, Barnes (Robert 74), Coppinger, Piquionne (Brown 20), Diouf (Stock 46). Unused Subs: Friend, Bennett.

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire). Attendance: 22,054.

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Gallagher Goals see off Cardiff

Leicester City 2:1 Cardiff City

Paul Gallagher, back in the starting XI for the suspended Danns, scored both City goals in a 2-1 over Cardiff at the King Power Stadium on Saturday…

City dominated the game right from the start but didn’t have much luck in front of goal after some neat approach play. Gallagher sent a shot wide and a Mills header also failed to find the target.
Despite the one way traffic from a fluid City side the home fans had to wait until five minutes before the break for the first goal.
Konchesky sent a fierce half volley goalwards but it was blocked by Marshall.
Gallagher floated in the resulting corner which saw hesitancy in the Cardiff defence leading to a scramble that saw Wellens barged over for an obvious penalty. Gallagher did his usual neat job from 12 yards to give City an overdue lead.
Moments later it looked as though Cardiff had levelled when Miller lobbed the ball over Schmeichel and into the net,  but celebrations in the Welsh corner were halted by an offside flag.
City started where they had left off in the second half with Dyer setting up Nugent for a shot which Marshall did well to reach. Beckford, then beat two Cardiff defenders before seeing Marshall block his shot at the near post.
City extended their lead in the 70th minute after Dyer had been brought down by Cowie 20 yards out. Gallagher’s swinging shot over the wall and into the top left hand corner left Marshall a spectator.
City being City, we weren’t allowed a comfortable close to the game. With 13 minutes remaining a Peltier push on Gestede saw the second penalty award of the game and Whittingham crashed it home to give the Bluebirds some hope.
City weathered a bit of late pressure but hung on for the three points that their impressive display had earned.
Nigel Pearson commented: “We were dominant and a little unlucky to concede a penalty because there was a foul on Kasper leading up to the incident. I think we played with confidence and created some good chances as well. There have been suggestions we look jittery when we concede a goal but I thought we coped with that well and stayed the dominant side to win well.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Mills, St Ledger, Konchesky, Gallagher (Howard 90+2), Wellens, Drinkwater, Dyer (Marshall 71), Nugent, Beckford. Unused subs: Delfouneso, Logan, Morgan.
Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton, Gerrard, Turner, Taylor, Cowie, Gunnarsson (Kiss 7 (Mason 65), Whittingham, Conway, Vuckic (Gestede 46), Miller. Unused subs: Parish, Blake.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Bolton). Attendance: 21,375.

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City Fail to Pull a Cracker

Leicester City 1:1 Ipswich Town

A large Boxing Day crowd went home disappointed from the King Power Stadium after another disjointed performance and a 1-1 draw against Ipswich…

Nigel Pearson brought Mills, Abe and Beckford in for St Ledger, King and Howard but this failed to get City out of their December rut which has brought just 2 points out of 12.
City looked to be in trouble right from the kick-off when Martin was brought down in the area by Konchesky for an obvious penalty after just thirty seconds. City were reprieved however when Schmeichel dived low to tip Chopra’s spot-kick round the right hand post for a fine save.
It was only a temporary let-off however, as Ipswich took a 4th minute lead through Bowyer with too many defenders ball-watching.
Ipswich sat back after this but City still looked out of sorts and could not find a way through. Sonko was given a yellow card after tripping Beckford who may have felt he was clean through, and Gallagher and Bamba forced fairly comfortable saves from Lee-Barrett, but failed to create many decent attacking moves, being booed off by some sections of the crowd at half-time. 
City improved slightly in the second half, which saw King on for Dyer, and Nugent should have put City ahead when he got on the end of a low Konchesky cross from the left but placed his effort to close to the Ipswich keeper.
Gallagher then swung a free-kick narrowly wide of the left hand post from the edge of the area.
But City were labouring to find a way through the towering Ipswich defence, but they got a break in the 69th minute when Scotland handled a Gallagher flag-kick in the area.
Gallagher made no mistake with his usual back-to-goal run up, crashing the ball past Lee-Barrett.
City then went in search of a winner, with Schlupp and Howard on, but still had no tried and trusted method of creating chances. Gallagher saw a free-kick deflected wide when a Konchesky blaster might have been a better option, and Mills should have directed a header on target, but we still seem to have no-one with any hint of aerial prowess. 
A 1-1 draw it was, and Nigel Pearson may now be realising the importance of the January transfer window.
This team, in any combination, will not get promoted.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Mills, Bamba, Konchesky, Gallagher, Abe, Wellens (Schlupp 87), Dyer (King 46), Beckford (Howard 84), Nugent. Unused Subs: Weale, Danns.
Ipswich: Lee-Barrett, Edwards, Sonko, Delaney, Cresswell, Martin, Andrews (Bullard 43), Bowyer, Murphy; Scotland (Ellington 83), Chopra (Emmanuel-Thomas 72). Unused Subs: Wright, Wabara.
Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire). Attendance: 27,091.

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City Stumble at Home to Posh

Leicester City 1:1 Peterborough United

City failed to turn pressure into goals dropping two points at home to Peterborough on Saturday…

City, with Gallagher and St Ledger in for Danns and Mills, were the dominant side through what proved to be a frustrating first half.
An early period of pressure saw plenty of action in the Posh penalty area, though the ball never quite fell kindly to a blue shirt.
King had a shot cleared, while there were two penalty shouts for a Rowe handball and contact on Nugent as he attempted to round keeper Lewis. Beckford and Nugent both sent headers narrowly off-target before Lewis denied Nugent with a good block.
United had a rare chance when Bamba was caught napping at the back and Scmeichel spread himself well to snuff out a chipped effort from Taylor. 
City came closest to an opener when Wellens put Beckford through but his low shot came off the inside of the post with Lewis beaten.
For all City’s dominance the sides went in goalless at the break…
but the stalemate only lasted ten minutes into the second half. After a short corner involving Nugent and Gallagher a slice of fortune presented Gallagher with a bit of room eight yards out and he made no mistake firing City into the lead.
Unfortunately instead of pressing forward in the same manner they had all game City began to concede ground to the visitor, sitting further and further back.
With 20 minutes remaining Peterborough hit back with an unlikely equaliser following a slick move which ended with Sinclair crossing from the right and Leicester-born Tomlin ghosting in unmarked to apply the finishing touch with a diving header.
Howard and Schlupp replaced Beckford and Nugent up front but City couldn’t revive that earlier attacking play and United looked the more likely to add to the scoreline with a frantic goalmouth scramble in Schmeichel’s area finally being extinguished.
The final whistle heralded a hugely disappointing point in front of a big crowd…
Nigel Pearson sharing their frustration: “It is a frustrating result. We should have kicked on after we had got the goal, but we then made too many errors like not tracking players and allowed them back in to it. It is frustrating when we had so many positive situations.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, St Ledger, Bamba, Konchesky, Gallagher (Danns 71), King, Wellens, Dyer, Beckford (Schlupp 76), Nugent (Howard 76). Unused Subs: Weale, Fernandes.
Peterborough: Lewis, Alcock, Bennett, Zakuani, Rowe, Tomlin, Frecklington (Newell 68), McCann (Kearns 58), Boyd, Sinclair,Taylor (Tunnicliffe 46). Unused Subs: Thompson, Jones.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire). Attendance: 25,948.

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Pearson’s Happy Homecoming

Leicester City 3:0 Crystal Palace

Nigel Pearson got his second spell as Leicester manager off to a flying start with a Paul Gallagher inspired 3-0 win against Crystal Palace at Filbert Way on Sunday…

In defence St Ledger stepped up to replace the suspended Bamba, while Pearson employed ‘his’ midfield of Dyer, King, Wellens and Gallagher in a standard 442. 
There was immediate eveidence of City attempting to get the ball forward more swiftly and early chances fell to Nugent and Gallagher, without reward.  Nugent’s header from a Peltier cross and Gallacher ‘sighter’ both being comfortably fielded by Speroni.
Otherwise it was a frustrating half with Beckford’s first touch seeming to have deserted him and Palace gaining confidence as City ran out of ideas.
The half fizzled out into a goalless stalemate.
Ten minutes into the second half City got the goal they desperately needed, following a good flowing move.
A Good run from Konchesky set up Wellens who teed up Beckford for a cool finish past Speroni from inside the area. A big roar of relief greeted this goal, and it’s importance for both team and player, but Beckford then wasted an easier chance two minutes later. 
City then sat back a bit and were living dangerously for a while…
Dikgacoi wasted a good chance from close in and then Martin headed straight at Schmeichel with the whole goal at his mercy.
However, this was soon forgotten when the crowd witnessed two pieces of Gallagher magic.
In the 70th minute Gallagher received a pass from Wellens and curled a superb shot into the top right hand corner from 25 yards.
Three minutes later Gallagher outdid that effort, latching on to a loose ball 30 yards out he arrowed a fantastic shot into the top left hand corner to raise the roof and seal the points.

With the game won Pearson gave Howard, Abe and Schlupp a run out, before pronouncing: “The key to our success today was that we imposed ourselves on Crystal Palace. The important thing is that the players enjoyed themselves. It is not a criticism of what has gone before but my job is to ensure the players play with a freedom to enjoy themselves.”

Hopefully Pearson will soon manage something that Sven couldn’t – a place in the top six.

City: Schmeichel, Peltier (Abe 76), Mills, St Ledger, Konchesky, Gallagher, Wellens, King, Dyer, Beckford (Schlupp 74), Nugent (Howard 75). Unused Subs: Weale, Danns.
Palace: Speroni; Clyne, McCarthy, Gardner, Moxey, Zaha, Wright, Jedinak, Parr (Martin 61), Dikgacoi (Scannell 61), Murray. Unused Subs: Price, Ambrose, Easter.

Referee: M Brown (East Yorkshire). Attendance: 22,449.


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City Show Some Mettle to Beat The Iron

Scunthorpe United 0:3 Leicester City

City returned to winning ways at Glanford Park on Saturday, on a pitch that resembled an allotment and in the process, found an unlikely goalscoring hero…

Sven gave Miguel Vitor his first start since he limped off injured at a snowy Ipswich (replacing the injured Bruma) in December and also recalled Gallagher in place of Lloyd Dyer who dropped to the bench.
Scunthorpe started brightly and might have taken the lead on 15 minutes when Garner met Duffy’s corner and headed goalwards only for Wellens to block the ball on the line where the grateful Ricardo fell on it. From then on Ricardo had little to do for the remainder of the first half as City settled down and dominated affairs. First Abe (sporting a black armband to acknowledge the awful events in his homeland) let fly with a curling shot from 25 yards that came back off of the crossbar before Nelson headed the ball clear from under his own bar as Yakubu closed in on the falling ball.
It wasn’t long after in the 31st minute before City took a deserved lead. Gallagher’s corner was headed on by Mee for Vitor to poke the ball home from a yard out.
Scunthorpe came out for the second half with renewed purpose and thought that their efforts had been rewarded with a penalty in the 48th minute when Naughton’s pressure on Garner as he chased a through ball, was penalised. But Scunny’s delight was short-lived as the linesman on the far side had put his flag up seconds earlier to indicate that Garner was offside. Scunthorpe were to feel hard done to soon after when Garner put the ball in to the net from a nod-back but it was clearly Garner’s hand and not his head that got the final touch.

In between these two scares King could have doubled City’s lead when he arrived at the far post to side foot a Vassell cross just wide following a superb move down the left.
City doubled their lead in the 72nd minute when, following another corner, Vitor was on hand to head home off the underside of the bar as he met a Gallagher cross from 6 yards out. Scunthorpe heads dropped visibly at this point and a third goal followed soon after when Gallagher took a free kick quickly and rolled the ball to Naughton who took one touch and slammed the ball low in to the net past Lillis from 20 yards.
The remainder of the game was a stroll for the visitors as Scunny fans headed home early and City fans delighted in the return to form. It was a convincing display from Sven’s side who overcame the poor pitch to play some decent football at times. It wasn’t always pretty with stray passes aplenty and the required extra touch meaning that the slick passing game was impossible today, but City showed character and fully deserved the win against a side that has claimed some big scalps recently.
Sven was in a bouyant mood: “Last Tuesday we lost in a bad way. We have talked a lot about it since and today we were very concentrated and showed aggression, we have come back in a brilliant way. With nine games to go, if we can show the spirit we showed today, we won’t lose many games and we’ll win a lot.”

One footnote to the game; a young City fan finished the day in hospital after his over-enthusiastic celebration after the third goal, led to him falling in to an exit walkway, a fall of about 20 feet. It is reported that he suffered a fractured skull. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Scunthorpe: Lillis, Nelson, Raynes, Gordon (Nolan 46), Hughes (Collins 71), Wright, Wright, Duffy, Dagnall (Ibrahim 79), Miller, Garner. Subs Not Used: Slocombe, Grant, Reid, Godden.
Leicester: Ricardo, Bamba, Vitor, Naughton , Mee , King, Abe, Wellens, Yakubu  (Waghorn 75), Gallagher (Oakley 81), Vassell (Dyer 86). Subs Not Used: Moreno, Weale, Parkes, Berner.

Referee: Rob Shoebridge (Derbys). Attendance: 6,528.

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Happy Birthday for Sven…

Leicester City 4:1 Barnsley

Sven Goran Eriksson celebrated his 63rd birthday at the Walkers with a blinding performance from his City side, a 4-1 win over Barnsley being notable for the quantity and quality of the goals…

Sven made one change to the side that won at Barnsley with Gallagher taking Dyer’s place.
The windy conditions made for a scrappy start, though City threatened on several occasions. Gallagher sent a free-kick over the bar; Yakubu almost broke through on his own before being halted by a Shackell challenge; and King sent a header wide.
City then took a 15th minute lead when Gallagher was allowed too much room to tee up a shot from 25 yards, it flew past Steele into the top left hand corner.
The lead was nearly extended soon afterwards when Steele saved a fierce Wellens effort and then Van Aarnholt sent a free-kick crashing against the crossbar.
Although Barnsley had a good spell for a while City made it 2-0 as half time approached.
Set up by a Vassell backheel King beat one defender and then shot against the legs of another. The ball came back to him and his exquisite 9 iron chip left Steele a bystander as it sailed over the Tykes’ keeper and into the net.
But Barnsley were not in the mood to roll over and die, and had the ball in Weale’s net almost instantly, though their celebrations were halted by a linesman’s flag.
Soon after that scare, some great work by Chelsea-loanee Mellis on the edge of his area saw him side-step the City defence before curling a shot beyond Weale’s reach.
Incredibly Barnsley almost equalised just before the break when Nouble broke clear and rounded Weale, but saw his low shot blocked by Naughton who made up the ground with his pace.
Half time entertainment in the form of the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders kept the crowd, somewhat on the sparse side, happy. Well done Birch.
The second half saw City regain control of the game. Steele did well to save a Gallagher effort but City would not be denied for long. The visitors were caught on the break and King charged forward fifty yards before planting a perfect finish low to Steele’s left.
City were looking comfortable now and Sven brought Dyer and Oakley on for Vassell and Abe. Steele had to produce a series of spectacular saves to keep out long range efforts from Gallagher and Wellens; while at the other end Weale had to be off his line sharply to deny Mellis.
Steele continued to keep City at bay, pulling off a great save from Oakley, but he was eventually beaten by a piece of magic in the 89th minute.  
Naughton, out on the right, latched onto a half clearance and fired a 30 yard rocket into the top left hand corner to seal a fine victory.
The birthday boy was content: “We didn’t play our best football in the first half but in the second half we got better and the four goals means I am very happy. All the goals were beautiful and the last one by Kyle Naughton, he has a good shot, but that was incredible.”
While the Barnsley boss Mark Robins dubbed City: “…the best side in the division”. 
As City relentlessly close in on the play-off places, it is beginning to look as though he is right… 

Leicester: Weale, Bamba (Hobbs 82), Naughton, Mee, Van Aanholt, King , Abe (Dyer 62), Wellens, Yakubu, Gallagher, Vassell (Oakley 62).  Subs Not Used: Berner, Waghorn, Howard, Ricardo.  
Barnsley: Steele, Shackell, Hassell, Hill, Trippier, Doyle, Mellis  (Noble-Lazarus 83), Arismendi  (Colace  66), Haynes, Nouble, O’Connor (Butterfield 74). Subs Not Used: Gray, Lovre, O’Brien, Preece.
Referee:K Hill (Herts). Attendance: 22,667.

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