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City Hit The Drop Zone

City Hit The Drop Zone

'How long before something's done,' cried fans after Leicester plunged into the Championship's relegation places for the first time this season with a 2-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

Chants of 'Levein Out' at the end were no more than half-hearted but the signs stood out clearly at Hillsborough, Leicester are in big trouble.

You knew it was going to be a bad day when the City team bus had to stop short of the players entrance because its roof dome wouldn't pass under the tunnel that leads past the VIP area.

The squad had to walk the extra 40 yards and one wag said 'they'll be worn out and let the game slip'.

How prophetic that turned out because Leicester struck first after only seven minutes when right back Richard Stearman collected his first League goal of the season with a spectacular overhead kick.

Williams corner was headed goalwards by Nils Eric Johansson but rebounded off a defender to Stearman who quickwittedly gobbled what was less than a half-chance from close range.

Stearman had led several attacks at that stage but was rarely seen up there again as Leicester predictably tried to stiffle the game and failed.

Wednesday No.11 Chris Brunt served warning minutes later when a close shot of his deflected to Graham Coughlan whose own effort was brilliantly blocked on the line by Rab Douglas.

The leveller came on 31 minutes when Brunt was given the freedom of Sheffield in midfield, and responded by waltzing into shooting range and cracking a 28-yard special past Douglas's right hand.

Stearman was then injured in what looked at first like a fairly innocuous collision. He was substituted at half-time but that was not before Coughlan had given Wednesday a 40th minute lead.

Again the goal was scored from where our left-back should have been. A long John Hills free kick was delivered to the far post where Coughlan rose unchallenged to put a textbook header over Rab Douglas into the opposite corner.

Anyone expecting a pulsating fight-for-your-life second half from Leicester was sadly disappointed.

In 'up for it' parlance City's response was flacid. Joe Hamill, with a shot that deflected harmlessly, Williams with a good chance that he dragged wide and Hamill with a shot that went over the bar were early efforts that preceded some of the most uninspiring football Leicester have produced in even this torrid season.

And yet, after Matt Fryatt's debut appearance as a 75th minute substitute, City nearly stole an equaliser, Mark DeVries being denied by a brilliant last ditch save from Nicky Weaver on 88 minutes.

Douglas turned a dipping Brunt shot wide of the post as time ran out and Sheffield's triumph took them four points clear of the relegation zone while Leicester slipped into the bottom three because of Brighton's 2-1 home win against Leeds.

Sheffield Wednesday: Weaver, Hills, Wood, Gilbert, Simek, Coughlan, Brunt, O'Brien, Whelan (Bullen 79), Tudgay (Corr69), Burton.

Leicester City: Douglas, Stearman (Gerrbrand 45), McCarthy, Johansson, Maybury, Hughes, Williams, Kisnorbo, Hamill (Fryatt 75); DeVries, Hammond (Hume 66).

Date:Saturday January 14 2006
Time: 8:11PM

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