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Kelly facing ultimate irony

Kelly facing ultimate irony

With today's 1-0 win over Wolves, City's caretaker manager Rob Kelly could be in danger of losing his job when unbeaten in the League and when most home fans would rather give him the Freedom of the City.

Today's victory over ninth placed opponents was worth savouring. First back-to-back win of the season, first clean sheet in 17 matches, three goals in three starts for new striker Matty Fryatt, success against top Midlands rivals Wolves, the list goes on.

Statistics say there were 22 goals attempts by the two sides and that City had nine.

But the only one that counted was Matty Fryatt's tap in from a ghastly mistake by Wolves goalkeeper Stefan Postma after 70 minutes.

It all came from a corner on the right by Joey Gudjonsson.

This was headed innocuously towards goal by Paddy McCarthy and appeared to be a simple gather for the keeper in the middle of his goal.

Somehow though the ball squeezed out of his hands and out to Fryatt who, in true predatory fashion just stretched and tapped it into the net.

It wasn't really a created chance and, indeed, the game was more about huff and puff than creative football.

But City had their heroes, no doubt about that and non more so than previously much-maligned Paddy Kisnorbo. He was so effective at centre-back that he collected the Man of the Match award.

It must have been a close thing between him and his central defensive partner Paddy McCarthy becuase the young Irish skipper was immense.

Between them they gave Wolves accomplished strikers Tomasz Frankowski and Kenny Miller barely the sniff of a chance all game and what a bonus for McCarthy to have a hand in the winner.

Kisnorbo's emergence as a defender has allowed diminutive Australian James Wesolowski to take his rightful place in midfield and his ball winning, positional play and sound distribution were a key to Leicester's victory.

He and Joey Gudjonsson had it hard at first against their strong, experienced Wolves opponents but gradually they won the battle on motive power and sheer persistence.

So strong were Leicester defensively that a Carl Court header which cleared the bar was perhaps their best chance in the 13th minute.

Leicester too had an excellent opportunity when Postma only got fingertips to a Gudjonsson corner and the ball fell to McCarthy who volleyed high from five yards.

Douglas scared the City part of the 21,358 crowd when a harmless-looking ground shot took a nasty bobble and deflected to eventual safety off his head but he was back in more customary action soon afterwards when tipping an angled Miller shot over the bar, the only spectacular save he was called on to make all match.

City never looked in great danger of having their defence breached and once ahead, Chris O'Grady came on towards the end, replacing the ever-willing Hume as Fryatt's helper up front and, as at QPR, proved excellent in holding possession and winning valuable time.

Fryatt might have been City's match winner with a goal which capped a solid all-round performance but the real reason for victory was City's spirit, the collective organisation which Rob Kelly has obviously inspired and the players' refusal to lose almost any of the individual battles.

Considering that Nils Eric Johansson had his foot heavily strapped so that he could play at all and Alan Maybury was so ill beforehand it was thought he might miss out, this was heroic stuff.

With all three of the teams in the relegation places losing victory lifted City three points clear of danger and improved their goals difference advantage over third bottom Brighton.

The feeling was tangible among the crowd - who were also at their very best in the support they offered - that, gradually the clouds seem to be lifting at Leicester.

And caretaker, Rob Kelly and Mike Stowell are suddenly very popular men among those fans, and rightly so.

City: Douglas, Stearman, McCarthy, Kisnorbo, Johansson, Maybury, Gudjonsson, Wesolowski, Hughes, Hume (O'Grady 74), Fryatt. Subs not used: Smith, Gerrbrand, Hammond, Williams.

Wolves: Postma, Edwards, Lescott, Gyepes, Naylor, Ricketts, Ince, Kennedy, Frankowski, Miller (Ganea 85)Cort (Rosa 67). Subs not used: Oakes, Craddock, Anderton.

Bookings: none for either side.

Referee: Lee Probert (Bristol) deserved credit for keeping the game going and controlling things well enough not to have to book anyone.

*PS: It was City's first 1-0 win in the League this season and having had Fryatt to score first and City to win 1-0 it will make an especially pleasant trip to Ladbrokes on Monday!.

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Writer:
Date:Saturday February 4 2006
Time: 6:57PM

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