Newcastle 1-0 Leicester
St. James' Park
31/08/09 - 7.45 p.m.
Leicester succumbed to their first defeat of the Championship season at the hands of Newcastle United at St. James' Park last night.
Danny Guthrie's scorching drive from the edge of the area after 52 minutes was enough to hand the home side a 1-0 victory, in a closely fought tie in the North-East.
Nigel Pearson welcomed back Steve Howard to the first team following his hamstring injury, with Paul Gallagher beginning the game on the left hand side of midfield. New signing Ryan McGivern started on the bench, following his loan move from Manchester City.
Leicester began the game the better of the two sides, with winger Dany N'Guessan looking lively early on. However, a final ball was always lacking as City failed to test Steve Harper in the Newcastle goal in the early stages.
Kevin Nolan had Newcastle's best chance of the half early on when he found space inside the box to fire on goal. His effort was weak however, as Chris Weale gratefully pounced on the ball.
Neither side were able to take a hold on the game, and Leicester's best two chances of the half came from set-pieces. Steve Howard's bullet header from a Matt Oakley corner was kept out superbly by Harper to keep the scoreline in the balance.
Just before the break, Paul Gallagher's low effort from a free-kick looked destined for the net until Harper was once again at hand to push the ball away to safety.
The Foxes should have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time after capitalising on some slack Newcastle defending. Matty Fryatt burst through the middle with plenty of support, but instead chose to criminally scoop the ball high and wide. Had he passed to either Gallagher or Howard, it would surely have read Leicester in front at the break.
After being the better side in the first half, it was rather a different story in the second. Overall City failed to capitalise on the presence of right back Danny Simpson filling the void at centre back, and paid the price.
With Shola Ameobi out injured it was left to the devices of Nile Ranger to lead the line up front for the Magpies, a job in which the youngster performed magnificently.
After a scrappy opening five minutes, Newcastle took the lead after a moment of real quality from Danny Guthrie. The midfielder skipped through the Leicester defence before smashing the ball past Weale in the City goal to hand the home side the lead.
It was cruel for Leicester who had controlled the first half, but had only themselves to blame after a lacklustre display of firepower in all areas of the pitch.
The Magpies goal had changed the flow of the game drastically, and almost found themselves two goals to the good after Geremi's fierce drive wide.
The game's standards were beginning to decline rapidly, as Leicester's attempted pretty football was proving to be futile against a well organised Newcastle side. It was clear that there were still remnants of the Premier League amongst the Geordie ranks.
City only had themselves to blame as they failed to use their most potent weapon in Steve Howard, instead trying to persist with the channels for success. However, an equaliser proved to be elusive, leaving the Foxes pointless along with their first defeat of the season.
Leicester: Weale; Neilson, Hobbs, Brown, Berner, N'Guessan, Oakley, Wellens, Gallagher, Fryatt, Howard. Subs: McGivern, Morrison, A King, Dyer (60 for Gallagher), Logan, Adams (89 for N'Guessan)), Waghorn (68 for Fryatt).
Newcastle: Harper; Enrique, Nolan, Barton, Guthrie, Simpson, R Taylor, Smith, Geremi, S Taylor, Ranger. Subs: Krul, Lualua, Kadar (88 for Barton), Baheng, Tozer, Donaldson (84 forGuthrie), Vuckic (84 for Ranger).
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