|Ipswich Town 1 v 0 Leicester City|
Saturday, 2nd March 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Town 1-0 Leicester City
Saturday, 2nd Mar 2013 17:39
David McGoldrick netted his second goal for the Blues five minutes from time as Town claimed a crucial 1-0 home victory over Leicester City. Sub Daryl Murphy dispossessed Foxes skipper Wes Morgan – who he had clashed with not long beforehand – and threaded through the on-loan Forest man.
Mick McCarthy named an unchanged side, as did his Leicester counterpart Nigel Pearson. Goals-against-Town-specialist David Nugent missing from their 18 due to a neck injury.
Having impressed in the U21s in midweek, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas returned to the bench alongside Frank Nouble, who netted a hat-trick in that game, a 4-3 victory against Colchester United.
Ben Marshall, who scored in the Foxes’ 2-1 victory at Portman Road last season, struck the game’s first shot from distance in the third minute but failed to test Stephen Henderson in goal for Town.
On a rather less than perfect Portman Road pitch, the opening 15 minutes was scruffy but even without either goalkeeper being overly tested. On 14 Aaron Cresswell might have done better with the ball on the left of the area but took too long and his cross hit a defender.
On 23 Harry Kane sent a dangerous ball across the edge of the Town six-yard box but Luke Chambers diverted it behind. A minute later, Lee Martin saw a shot from 20 yards deflect wide.
The game was much closer than the 6-0 at the King Power Stadium earlier in the season, but in the 28th minute the visitors threatened to go in front when on-loan Tottenham man Kane got behind the Blues’ backline but hit the sidenetting with his shot.
Paul Konchesky lashed over from 25 yards just after the half hour mark with the teams still evenly matched and with clear cut chances non-existent at either end.
Kasper Schmeichel was almost caught out by a low Carlos Edwards cross from the right in the 33rd minute but recovered to claim, then Luke Hyam played the pass of the game so far over the top for Michael Chopra, but Michael Keane got in a vital touch as the striker tried to take it past him.
On 35, Schmeichel was forced into a fine save diving away to his left from a Chambers header at the far post after Cresswell had sent in a deep corner from the right. From the resultant flagkick, David McGoldrick headed over.
That brief spell of pressure gave the Blues confidence and in the 37th minute Chopra almost got a touch to a McGoldrick cross from the left. Applying any sort of touch would almost certainly have taken the ball past Schmeichel.
In the final scheduled minute of the first half, Kane had the ball in the net for Leicester but with the linesman’s flag already having been raised.
The Blues will have gone in happy at the break having shaded a first half of few chances. Leicester had started the stronger but Town had come more into it, enjoying the greater share of the ball and creating a couple of opportunities towards the end of the period.
There was an early booking for Anthony Knockaert at the start of the second half after the Leicester midfielder somewhat needlessly kicked the ball away. Somewhat unwisely he launched into a vociferous protest and had to be pulled away from referee Darren Deadman by his team-mates.
Town started the half on the front foot. After Hyam had had a shot blocked, Martin sent a dangerous ball across the Leicester area but either behind or in front of his team-mates.
On 49 Edwards played in McGoldrick on the right of the area for the chance of the game so far but Schmeichel was off his line quickly to block.
In the 55th minute Martin saw a shot from 25 yards blocked after McGoldrick and Cresswell had worked a freekick to him.
Kane was presented with a golden opportunity to put his side in front in the 58th minute when Chambers failed to find Smith or his goalkeeper with a pass backwards from a few yards outside the area and sent the Tottenham loanee in on goal. But, when it seemed easier to score, he somehow put it the wrong side of Henderson’s right post.
It was a lucky escape for Town, who quickly went looking for an opportunity at the other end, Chopra’s first touch on a McGoldrick ball over the top taking it too close to Schmeichel.
On 62, an Edwards cross from the right reached McGoldrick at the far post but the striker screwed his shot well wide.
Aside from the Kane chance, Town were continuing to look the more threatening side. On 70 Cresswell shot wide after a Martin cross from the left was cleared to the edge of the box. The left-back will feel he should have done better.
For the Foxes, Ritchie De Laet completely missed a volley at the far post in the 72nd minute from sub Paul Gallagher’s freekick on the right when he will feel he ought to have made contact.
At the other end, Edwards sent a dangerous ball across the Leicester box with Morgan getting a touch which took it away from McGoldrick.
Hyam picked up Town’s first booking for pulling back Kane, then on 76 Danny Drinkwater shot over from the edge of the Blues box with the game still very much in the balance but with the visitors starting to make a bit more of an impression.
Soon after, Chopra and Morgan clashed as they chased a ball down the left but referee Deadman made no comment and the pair appeared to make up shortly afterwards.
Blues boss McCarthy swapped Martin and Chopra for Emmanuel-Thomas and Daryl Murphy for the final 10 minutes, the departing duo receiving a warm ovation as they went off.
Within a minute of his introduction, Murphy irked Foxes skipper Morgan after they clashed in the air. The ex-Forest man felt he’d been caught by an elbow and protested to referee Deadman, then made his annoyance known to Murphy and picked up a yellow card.
Kane headed a Konchesky cross from the left over when he should have hit the target with the Foxes by now having more of the game.
However, moments later it was the Blues who would go in front. Morgan appeared not to have regained his composure after the earlier incident when Murphy dispossessed him midway inside the Leicester half. The Irishman played in McGoldrick on the left of the area and the striker beat Schmeichel as he advanced off the line to claim his second goal for Town.
On 89 Henderson did well to get a punch to De Laet’s cross from the right under pressure, the keeper getting clattered by Kane after the ball had gone. Andy King’s shot struck Smith and flew over.
Leicester came close to an equaliser deep in injury time when a cross from the right fell to King inside the area but sub Emmanuel-Thomas superbly threw himself in front of his shot to block. Soon after, the whistle went to confirm a vital three points to the Blues.
It was a game which could have gone either way and Leicester will rue missing a number of opportunities, Kane missing several of them, most notably after Chambers’s poor pass.
There was little between the teams throughout with Town battling away as they have done since McCarthy took over as boss but also played some good stuff themselves.
McGoldrick had had one chance before the goal which he took with the confidence of a man who has now netted 19 goals this season for the Blues and Coventry.
The result takes Town up to 42 points and into 18th place, six points from the relegation zone with Sheffield Wednesday in action against Nottingham Forest – Town’s opponents on Tuesday - at Hillsborough this evening.
Town: Henderson, Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards (c), N'Daw, Hyam, Martin (Emmanuel-Thomas 80), Chopra (Murphy 80), McGoldrick (Drury 90). Unused: Loach, Kisnorbo, Mclean, Nouble.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, De Laet, Konchesky, Drinkwater, Morgan (c), Marshall (Gallagher 69), King, Keane, Knockaert (Dyer 66), Kane, Wood. Unused: Whitbread, Vardy, Logan, Waghorn, Wellens. Referee: Darren Deadman (Cheshunt). Att: 17,021 (Leicester: 1,091).
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