February 26, 2013
Foxes step up the pace
Leicester got their challenge for automatic promotion from the npower Championship back on track with a 3-0 victory over Blackburn at the King Power Stadium.
Chris Wood headed his ninth goal in as many matches since joining the Foxes from West Brom at the start of the year before Harry Kane marked his home debut with a goal.
Leicester dominated the first half with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel a mere bystander, aside from a stunning save to keep out a Morton Gamst Pedersen volley with the game goalless.
A comparatively quiet second half ended with Andy King heading a third in stoppage time.
After five straight league wins at the turn of the year, it ended a three-game run without a victory and moved the Foxes within five points of second-placed Watford with a game in hand on Gianfranco Zola's team.
A neck injury ruled out Leicester's leading scorer David Nugent, so winger Anthony Knockaert replaced the 14-goal striker.
Kane, signed on loan from Tottenham last week, started alongside Wood up front.
Injury also forced Blackburn into a change. Pedersen was recalled for Colin Kazim-Richards, who could miss the remainder of the season with an ankle problem.
Leicester started brightly and Kane in particular looked sharp early on.
The Tottenham teenager forced a save, albeit a comfortable one, from Jake Kean after three minutes.
But soon afterwards he had the Blackburn goalkeeper scrambling across his six-yard line following a driving run and shot that trickled narrowly wide via the fingertips of Kean.
Kane then saw a header drop just wide of the target from a Knockaert cross in the 11th minute.
In between, Rovers' David Bentley twice tried his luck from long range - with the first effort clearing the crossbar by inches.
There were a host of chances midway through the first half. Patient build-up play from Leicester resulted in the ball rather fortuitously breaking to Knockaert on the edge of the box and Kean had to beat away the Frenchman's fierce shot.
Danny Drinkwater's dipping 25-yarder then looped just over the bar.
At the other end, an outstanding save from Kasper Schmeichel prevented Blackburn from stealing the lead.
When a corner was only cleared as far as the crescent on the edge of the box, Pedersen struck a volley that took a deflection and looked like wrong-footing Schmeichel. But the Foxes keeper seemingly changed direction in mid-air to acrobatically tip the ball over the bar.
Kean, as he did with an earlier effort from Kane, then just did enough to keep out Ben Marshall's shot from the edge of the area.
From the resulting corner, on-loan Manchester United centre-half Michael Keane blazed over from inside the six-yard box when it seemed easier to score.
Leicester finally made the breakthrough in the 29th minute. Marshall beat his man down the right and whipped in a far-post cross that Wood nodded home.
Marshall was the provider again after 42 minutes when Kane got the goal he had threatened.
It was not too unlike Wood's goal, with Kane heading in unmarked at the back post from a corner.
After an action-packed first half, the second 45 minutes had a lot to live up to - and it did not come close.
Leicester looked like they may carry on where they left off when Kane controlled Drinkwater's right-wing cross and volleyed just wide of the target.
Marshall then curled a left-foot shot over the bar in the 52nd minute.
The 19,561 freezing cold fans inside the King Power Stadium were then starved of any notable action until the 77th minute.
Substitute Lloyd Dyer, on as a 75th-minute replacement for Knockaert, almost made an immediate impact. He skipped past his man down the left and got into the box but Kean was quickly out at his feet to block the shot.
A Wood curler went narrowly wide before King completed the scoring with a glancing near-post header from another Marshall corner.
|24 Tim Howard||13 Dean Bouzanis|
|6 Phil Jagielka||5 Jean Yves Mvoto Owono|
|18 Phil Neville||3 Jonathan Grounds|
|15 Sylvain Distin||2 Connor Brown|
|3 Leighton Baines||7 Lee Croft|
|23 Seamus Coleman||8 Dean Furman|
|21 Leon Osman||15 Jordan Obita|
|22 Steven Pienaar||6 James Tarkowski|
|4 Darron Gibson||9 Chris Iwelumo|
|7 Nikica Jelavic||18 Lee Barnard|
|11 Kevin Mirallas||20 Jose Baxter|
|1 Jan Mucha||Alex Cisak 1|
|5 John Heitinga||Carl Winchester 26|
|34 Shane Duffy||James Wesolowski 4|
|16 Thomas Hitzlsperger||David Mellor 29|
|8 Bryan Oviedo||Robbie Simpson 10|
|14 Steven Naismith||Matt Smith 14|
|27 Apostolos Vellios||Kirk Millar 21|
|Steven Naismith for Kevin Mirallas (84)||Matt Smith for Chris Iwelumo (55)|
|Thomas Hitzlsperger for Steven Pienaar (89)||Robbie Simpson for Jordan Obita (55)|
|James Wesolowski for Connor Brown (76)|
|Robbie Simpson (86)|
|· Squads: Everton | Oldham Athletic|