Date:Saturday April 22 2006
Leicester City followed their manager's proven recipe to perfection today, winning their last home Championship game 1-0 against Plymouth with a Matty Fryatt goal and a predictably workmanlike but unadventurous performance.
The goal came on 55 minutes from a traditional left-winger's cross by Andy Welsh and the simplest of far post headers by Fryatt.
Otherwise, perhaps the most memorable incident was a superlative last ditch goalline clearance by Nils Eric Johansson which rescued City after Richard Stearman had all but gifted Vincent Pericard an equaliser through a misjudged headed back pass.
Fryatt and Hume combined for probably City's best move of the game after 15 minutes but, although Hume rounded Plymouth 'keeper Romain Larrieu and finished in style the 'goal' was correctly ruled out for offside.
Thereafter it was an uninspired excercise in efficient football with Leicester all but denying Plymouth a single clear cut opening with their busy zonal covering but offering little by way of invention or reinforced attack.
That was until the goal and the eventual appearance of substitute Chris O'Grady who, gave a 10-minute masterclass in how to torment a defence.
With an appetite like a starving dog let off the leash, the man who scored four times in his last reserve match, teased and tormented Plymouth's tiring backline with delightful and singularly direct skills to illustrate what might have been.
After one clever dribble past two defenders he fed the ball to Hume who brought a brilliant diving save from Larrieu with a rasping 20-yarder.
Hume also had a solo run of his own which took him from the halfway line right through the visiting defence and could have ended in another special goal for the City archives.
In the event his finish smacked of exhaustion and flew high over the bar - instant anti-climax.
Victory took Leicester's tally of points to 28 under Rob Kelly in the 15 games he's been in charge - two more than Craig Levein collected in the season up to the end of January.
Their League record moved to eight wins, four draws and three defeats under the new regime and the 54 points they now have has lifted them to 15th in the table.
As promised, Kelly continued with his 'chosen men' and the regular and highly effective 4-4-2 system.
There was no easing off - victory was the result of continued hard work - but Plymouth were a poor man's Reading, having a big, strong, well organised team but, sadly for the spectacle, about as much attacking ambition as a hibernating tortoise.
Indeed, Plymouth set a new club record for failing to score for the 21st time in 45 League matches this season. Before the Leicester game they had equalled a record set in 1920-21 of 20 non-scoring games.
True Leicester's defence deserved much credit for efficiently stiffling such aspiritions as they had, but the most difficult questions they were asked were from two Stearman back-headers and a bizarre mishit back-pass from Tiatto.
Matty Fryatt was named Man of the Match but Johansson ran him close as centre-back for the suspended Kisnorbo.
Apart from his spectacular goalline clearance he contested everything and hardly put a foot wrong defensively.
Hume too was always a threat and O'Grady looked as if he would have torn the visitors to pieces had he been on for more than 10 minutes. On this form the fans were denied a treat.
Gareth Williams and Joey Gudjonsson, playing his last home match before his summer move to Holland, controlled midfield but too many times Leicester's attacks faltered because, they played wide man Welsh so far back in midfield that he was rarely far enough forward to be a threat - except when he made the goal.
Ironically, there were people calling for him to be substituted when he took a short pass from Hume and swung over his deep right foot cross straight onto Fryatt's head for the decisive goal.
So often, Welsh has been involved in vital breakthrough's during his short loan spell from Sunderland.
Leicester City: Henderson, Stearman, Johansson, McCarthy Maybury, Hughes, Gudjonsson, Williams, Welsh (Tiatto 79) Hume, Fryatt (O'Grady 82). Unused substitutes: Douglas, Gerrbrand, Sylla.
Plymouth: Larrieu, Aljofree, Connolly (Pulis 63) Doumbe, Norris, Wotton, Capaldi , Nalis, Hodges, (Buzsaky 62), Clarke (Chadwick 54), Pericard. Unused substitutes: McCormick, Reid.
Referee: P Joslin, Nottinghamshire
Leicester City cards: Stearman unsporting behaviour.
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|3. Man Utd||14||8||4||2||+10||28|
|7. Crystal Palace||14||7||1||6||+5||22|
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