Date:Wednesday May 10 2006
Louis Dodds sublime winning goal, which completed his hat-trick in the closing minutes of extra time, earned Leicester City victory by 3-2 over Coalville Town in the Westerby Chalenge Cup final at The Walkers tonight.
How fitting is was that the free-scoring Academy Player of the season should claim the glory in a match which Coalville might easily have snatched yet City could have won by a distance.
In the end with time running out and penalties beckoning, Dodds turned deftly on the left edge of the penalty area and chipped the most delicate of curling shots over Coalville goalkeeper Steve Wilson for the winner.
And delicacy was needed because, earlier and even afterwards, chances galore were either deflected by Wilson, blocked by defenders, had rebounded to safety off the woodwork or simply been squandered by inaccuracy.
Dodds himself might have had five or six goals. But his two goals in the first 19 minutes - a tap in after a four-man move and a coolly taken chip with the outside of his right foot after Levi Porter's clever pass seemed to have put City in the comfort zone.
Indeed Dodds could have completed his hat-trick a minute into the second half when beaten only by the awkward bounce of the ball when clean through.
Andy King then failed to tap an Alan Sheehan cross into a vacant goal before Ashley Warner pulled a goal back for Coalville.
Suddenly Leicester looked as if they might pay for their wastefulness in front of goal and a shock looked even more possible.
First Ashley Brown had a "goal" disallowed for hands but then Dave Tongue was allowed a completely free header on the edge of City's box and Richard Saunders deflected the ball home for 2-2.
Coalville sent their big aerial players forward as the 90 minutes drew to a close but City's lightweight defenders held out.
In extra time Odhiambo and Gradel had shots blocked, Bobby McKay and Levi Porter were next to squander glorious opportunities, Gradel dragged a simple chance wide and Tom Tejan-Sie hit a post.
It seemed City would have to face tbe lottery of penalties until Dodds' so-cool and accurate decider gave City's essentially under 18 side City's only trophy win for the season to place alongside the Academy's runner-up spot in the Premier Academy League.
City were never at their best against a tall, strong and often dangerous Coalville.
Their early close-passing attacks, mostly conducted by Levi Porter, gradually became disjointed as individuals tried to do too much on the ball.
Led by left-back Danum Russell the visitors contested everything and, on pulling a goal back, committed increasing numbers to an attack always threateningly led by Ashley Warner.
In extra-time those efforts took a toll and City's return to a quick passing strategy re-exerted their edge and finally earned victory in a well attended final.
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|AFC Bournemouth||1||-||1||Leicester City|
|West Ham||1||-||2||Leicester City|
|1. Man City||4||4||0||0||+10||12|
|2. Crystal Palace||4||3||0||1||+3||9|
|3. Leicester City||4||2||2||0||+3||8|
|5. Man Utd||4||2||1||1||+1||7|
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