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Is any manager safe with City?

Leicester City players have expressed their guilt about Craig Levein's sacking and after gifting Southampton today's FA Cuptie at the Walkers one wonders how many more managers they'll get sacked.

The third round clash was settled in the first minute of stoppage time when Patrik Gerrbrand allowed a harmless-looking through ball to bounce over his head and substitute Kenwyne Jones was left unchallenged to smash the ball past Douglas.

At 1-0, it was City's first home defeat in a cuptie against Southampton, a first game loss for caretaker manager Rob Kelly and City's fourth beating in successive games.

As one wag said on the stairs going into the West Stand, 'I can't see heads all I can see is de-feat.' And how prophetic he was.

There has always seemed to be so many coaches at Leicester so why has no-one mentioned the fundamental truth - that at professional level, when you get a chance you've got to take it.

Elvis Hammond had City's one golden chance in the 56th minute. Good work by Steven Hughes left him clean through and one on one against the goalkeeper.

The expected lob into an empty net didn't materialise but instead Saints keeper Bartosz Biakowkski stayed big and managed to parry the ball to safety.

Barely a minute later Alan Maybury broke through on the right, had Iain Hume unmarked on the penalty shot but instead smashed the most appalling right footer into oblivion.

Two splendid chances in a minute. No goals.

Those among the 20,427 crowd expecting a new dawn under caretaker managers Rob Kelly and goalkeeping coach Mike Stowell enjoyed perhaps 25 minutes of renewed optimism when City were genuinely busy and dominant.

During this time Paddy McCarthy clipped a glancing header wide from Ryan Smith's cross and watched another header drift over after he had beaten the offside trap.

Generally though it was the same old failings for City. They had two shots on target throughout the match from 10 shots overall and Southampton won with their only shot on target from five attempts altogether. Exciting is wasn't.

Spurs apart,two goals in their last seven games says it all really. Kelly opened with Hume and Hammond up front, Maybury right midfield, Johansson at left-back, Hughes and Gudjonsson in midfield, altogether too many defenders and scurriers to make a real attacking impact.

Genuine centre-forward O'Grady was left on the bench, top scorer DeVries was a late replacement and there was, as ever when we're beaten, no Alan Sheehan (presumably injured because you couldn't justify any other reason).

There was no James Wesolowski either. He simply sat idle while Southampton bossed midfield for at least 35 minutes either side of half-time while Leicester created nothing.

As I said. This team has already seen off one manager and I saw nothing against Southampton to suggest Rob Kelly will be occupy the hotseat more than momentarily.

What Leicester offered was nothing better or more cohesive than in most of our previous matches this season and nothing that was good enough to win.

In essence we lost because Southampton took a chance and we didn't.

Individuals did well enough, particularly McCarthy at centre-back and Hume, but as an effective chaser rather than a striker. Stearman and Douglas could hardly be faulted and that was about it.

As City fans, we all got cold for nothing really.

A game that promised so much ended in the most numbing anti-climax. And, our 12th defeat by a single goal this season.

City Douglas, Stearman, McCarthy, Gerrbrand, Johansson, Maybury, Gudjonssson, Hughes, Smith, Hume, Hammond (DeVries 67) subs not used: Henderson, Kisnoprbo, Wesolowski, O'Grady.

Southampton: Bailkowski, Lundekvam, Baird, Brennan, Higginbottom, Prutton (Gillett 36), Oakley, Potter, Blackstock (Jones 83), Dyer, Pahars. Subs not used: Smith, Cranie, Fuller.






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The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 28 2006

Time: 7:37PM

 

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