|Leicester City 6 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 17th November 2012 Kick-off 15:00
Leicester City 6-0 Town
Saturday, 17th Nov 2012 17:07
Town fell to their second successive hammering on the road as Mick McCarthy’s men were thoroughly outclassed by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. David Nugent took his record to 11 goals in 11 games against the Blues with two early goals, the first a penalty, with Lloyd Dyer, Anthony Knockaert, Martyn Waghorn and Marko Futacs netting the rest.
New loanee Bradley Orr made his Town debut and Lee Martin returned to the side with Tommy Smith dropping to the bench and Luke Chambers switching to centre-half.
Martin was back after his one-match ban in place of Richie Wellens, who returned to the Foxes last week at the end of his one-month loan, but wasn’t in Nigel Pearson’s 18.
Arran Lee-Barrett was back on the Town bench in the absence of Scott Loach, who missed out with the thigh injury he sustained at Walsham in the Suffolk Premier Cup in midweek.
Neither side threatened in a quiet opening but on eight the home side went in front via a penalty after a mix-up at the back between Higginbotham and Henderson. The full-back left a through ball from Andy King for the keeper who hesitantly came off his line and dived at Dyer’s feet, tripping him as the winger sneaked in between the Town pair.
Inevitably it was David Nugent who stepped up to take the spotkick and the striker slammed the ball into the roof of the net. Remarkably, it was the one-time England striker’s 10th goal in 11 matches against the Blues.
It had been all Leicester since the goal, Aaron Cresswell having blocked an Andy King strike on 10, and on 17 Nugent made it 2-0 with his second of the game.
Strike partner Waghorn cut in from the right and hit a left-foot shot which Henderson could only palm out and Nugent walked the rebound in off his midriff for his 11th in 11 against Town.
The Blues finally threatened in the 20th minute but Martin’s shot from just inside the area was blocked by Wes Morgan. But it was the Foxes dominating possession and creating most of the danger, Cresswell cutting out a Dyer cross from a quick Leicester break from a corner.
On 27 it was 3-0. Dyer brought the ball in from the left and with Luke Chambers standing off him, hit a shot across Henderson and into the net.
Double-scorer Nugent, who had been suffering with an injury coming into the game, made way in the 31st minute, Jamie Vardy taking over.
Henderson saved Knockaert’s low shot from the edge of the area on 35, then from the corner Cresswell blocked from Dyer with the game still one-way traffic.
Edwards failed to find Murphy with a pass with Town in a rare promising position in the 37th minute, Morgan cutting out the Town skipper’s weak touch.
Leicester extended their lead further in the 44th minute. Dyer yet again got away down the Foxes left after being sent away by Waghorn and with several players having escaped behind the Town centre-halves, Knockaert diverted the low cross past Henderson ahead of Vardy, who otherwise would have done the same.
Referee Keith Stroud blew his whistle soon after to temporarily put the Blues players out of their misery, although facing the unenviable prospect of a well-deserved half-time dressing down from Mick McCarthy.
It had been a woeful half with Town never really recovering from conceding the early penalty, which was a result of miscommunication.
From there Leicester looked every bit the confident side challenging at the right end of the table that they are, while any self-belief Town had gained from the victory over Burnley seemed to have drained away.
As they waited for the players to return, the 990 travelling Town support tucked away up in a remote corner of the King Power Stadium will have been worried about what the second half might bring.
Chambers headed a Cresswell freekick from the left wide in the 49th minute, but Leicester were soon on top and threatening again. Dyer, who was giving Orr a Blues debut to forget, again got away down the Foxes left and whipped over a ball which Waghorn headed against Henderson’s left post.
But the former Sunderland man didn’t have to wait too long for a goal. In the 53rd minute he was fed by King and as the England U21 international broke into the area, he swept his first goal of the season across Henderson and into the net to make it 5-0.
Luke Hyam and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas replaced Guirane N’Daw and Daryl Murphy as the game moved towards the hour mark and the Blues had a short spell where they began to threaten.
Martin and Emmanuel-Thomas both had strikes blocked, then Cresswell sent over a low ball which was scrambled behind for a corner. On 64 Emmanuel-Thomas blasted a 25-yard freekick into an advancing member of the Leicester wall. However, Kasper Schmeichel will rarely have enjoyed a quieter afternoon.
Normal service was soon resumed though, with Dyer scampering away on the left of the Town area before hitting a low shot which Henderson gathered.
Schmeichel was finally forced into a save in the 71st minute when Edwards crossed from the right and Emmanuel-Thomas scuffed his shot goalwards, giving the keeper little serious trouble.
At the other end, Henderson was out quickly to prevent a sixth, blocking at Vardy’s feet after the former Fleetwood man had been played in by King. Soon after, the Welsh midfielder, one of the Foxes’ star performers, turned a shot into Henderson’s arms from a Ben Marshall cross from the right.
Former Fox DJ Campbell was replaced by Michael Chopra for the final 11 minutes, the home fans jeering their former player off the field.
On 82 Leicester sub Futacs made it 6-0, left winger Dyer again the man creating the goal. Four minutes later, Chopra had the ball in the net for the Blues but having strayed offside.
Town should have pulled a goal back in the 88th minute when Edwards sent over a deep cross from the right and Emmanuel-Thomas volleyed across goal, but too high for Chopra to divert into the net. Moments later, Nigel Reo-Coker was booked for a foul on Marshall. The sub hit a cleverly thought out freekick just over.
As the game moved into injury time there was further chaos in the Town defence as hesitation between Chambers, Higginbotham and Henderson almost let in Futacs, the on-loan Stoke man eventually touching the ball away from the Hungarian striker.
Not long after, the final whistle went with manager McCarthy ensuring that his squad went over to applaud the Town support and shaking hands with all his team, and some of the Leicester players, as they left the field.
Another thoroughly dispiriting afternoon for travelling Blues fans, who had already endured the 6-0 defeat at Blackpool and the recent 5-0 loss at Crystal Palace.
While those scorelines may have been harsh on Town, there was little flattering about this hammering with the Foxes having dominated from start to finish.
The Blues have probably only been worse against Sheffield Wednesday this season and for the most part the home side looked like they were in a different league.
After the optimism after last week’s victory over Burnley this was very much a return to earth with the size of the job Mick McCarthy has ahead of him once again all too evident.
Town: Henderson, Orr, Chambers, Higginbotham, Cresswell, Edwards (c), N'Daw (Hyam 58), Reo-Coker, Martin, Murphy (Emmanuel-Thomas 58), Campbell (Chopra 79). Subs: Lee-Barrett, Hewitt, Smith, Mohsni.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Drinkwater, Morgan (c), Whitbread, King, Dyer, Waghorn (Futacs 75), Schlupp, Knockaert (Marshall 65), Nugent (Vardy 31). Subs: Logan, James, Moore, Lingard. Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire). Att: 20,779 (Town: 990)
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A stronger squad, with several consistent performers, has been a crucial factor in Ipswich’s success this season. If we remain a Championship club next season, however, we are likely to see exits. The idea that Mick McCarthy’s holistic strategy, planning for the long-term future of the club, may fall apart because of the magnified finances and stature of Premiership is an unfortunate but very real possibility.
The Run-In by tractordownsouth
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