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Fryatt goal fails to lift leaky City

Fryatt goal fails to lift leaky City

Another defeat, another uninspiring display. When will the curtain finally fall on this most woeful of chapters in Leicester City's playing history?.

Matt Fryatt's 41st minute first goal for City in his home debut was trumped by Cameron Jerome's brilliant headed opener and a curling second half free-kick from Jason Koumas which gave Cardiff City a 2-1 win at The Walkers.

It all meant Craig Levein's City losing their fifth League match in succession and taking their miserable run to two points collected from 27.

It was the 14th successive game they failed to keep a clean sheet and the fourth game running that they conceded two goals.

Logically this should be an epitaph to a miserable managerial record rather than a match report.

An epitaph to a manager who:

*Refuses to change his tactical approach.

*Reacts too slowly when things go wrong.

*Continues to select underperforming players

*Fails to score sufficient goals to win matches.

On the face of it the statistics suggested Leicester dominated. They had 23 shots to Cardiff's 10 but Cardiff scored two goals from their fewer chances and therefore pocketed the points.

But the reality was different.

Many of Leicester's chances were long-range and speculative or the result of random rebounds.

In fact Leicester played so little flowing football and displayed so little passion in their so-stereotyped approach that a neutral would never have guessed the importance of the game.

Once again the fans were obliged to watch the woeful passing of Johansson, the inadequacies of Maybury as left-back and the ineffectiveness of Kisnorbo and even Hughes in midfield which always left Leicester firing on too few cylinders to disturb the organised Cardiff defence.

Cardiff took the lead after 13 minutes when winger Ryan Smith carelessly lost possession in midfield. Cardiff fed the ball to right winger Neal Ardley and Cameron Jerome arrived first to glance a brilliant header past Rab Douglas.

City equalised with a deserved but fortuitous Matty Fryatt header four minutes from half-time. DeVries and Stearman were involved, Fryatt's header was cleared by Darren Purse but the assistant linesman rightly ruled a goal.

Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Alexander twice denied Fryatt a further goal either side of half-time with excellent saves but Cardiff grabbed the winner when centre-forward Steven Thompson appeared to sucker the referee into giving a free-kick on the edge of City's box.

Right or wrong, Jason Koumas justified his reputation from such places by bending a shot across Douglas and into the far corner of the net.

City huffed and puffed with Williams and DeVries having half-chances but they rarely threatened a real breakthrough and it was a measure of the crowd's disgust that they chanted 'hallelujah' when Levein finally introduced substitutes Hume, Wesolowski (for his debut) and Hammond near the end of the game.

It was too late although Hume and Wesolowski did have scoreable chances and the chants turned predictably to 'Levein Out' as the game concluded.

There were bright spots. DeVries was a warrior, conjuring all sorts of unlikely half-chances, Stearman and McCarthy were solid defenders, Fryatt always dangerous and Wesolowski did more attacking in 15 minutes than Kisnorbo managed all match.Williams too was busy but his marksmanship dismal. Fortunately results favoured City and at the end of the day they were no further adrift than they were at kick- off.

But as an attempt to rescue their wretched season this was a weak-willed, unimaginative and utterly disheartening performance so typical of many others this season.

There was no evidence to suggest things might change, no evidence of a brave new philosophy. That being so glaringly evident is it time for the board to finally face the uncomfortable truth?

Leicester: Douglas, Stearman, Maybury, Johansson, Maybury (Hume 77), Smith (Hammond), Kisnorbo (Wesolowski), Williams, Hughes, Fryatt, DeVries.

Cardiff: Alexander, Barker, Purse, Cox, Ardley, Koumas, Weston (Boland 62), Ledley, Scimeca, Thompson (Cooper 66), Jerome (Ndumba-Nsungu 90).

Date:Saturday January 21 2006
Time: 8:03PM

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