Date:Wednesday March 31 2010
Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
Leicester lost their third match in succession after going down to ten-man Cardiff, despite a gallant fight-back against their play-off chasing rivals.
The Foxes went into the match having not won in three, losing their last two matches against Reading and Derby. The pressure was on against their Welsh counterparts to extend the gap over Blackpool and further solidify their position in the top six.
The game started open and free-flowing, Leicester finding themselves with an early corner which was cleared. Cardiff were threatening without causing too much in the way of danger, but on nine minutes the Bluebirds took the lead. Kelvin Etuhu`s shot from six yards was parried by Chris Weale, but Ross McCormack struck the rebound into the back of the net to hand the Foxes a difficult mountain to climb.
In comparison to the Derby match Leicester responded well, but Cardiff could have extended the lead on 12 minutes when Chris Burke shot wide of the post.
Later in the first half, as the wet and windy conditions deteriorated, Cardiff could have doubled the lead. But Ross McCormack's header was hacked off the line by Andy King to keep the scoreline the same.
The home side were causing all kinds of problems down City's left-hand side, capitalising on the make-shift Robbie Neilsen who stepped in at left-back on the evening.
And Cardiff got their second just before half time when Weale could again only parry a shot inside the area. This time the ball fell to Gavin Rae, who squared to Peter Whittingham, the winger side-footing the ball home to hand the Foxes the almost-impossible task of a comeback.
But that impossible task was almost given a life-line right on half-time. A wind-assisted corner from Martyn Waghorn appeared to force the ball over the line, but the linesman kept his flag down, adjudging the ball not to have crossed. Replays suggest that they ball may well have been over.
In the opening stages of the second half Leicester looked much better and brighter than Cardiff, with substitute Steve Howard making an instant impact on the Foxes` style of play.
Six minutes into the second period Leicester had a goal back, a corner from Waghorn hooked home by Howard. The door had been opened for a City revival.
But just as Cardiff in the first half, Leicester pushed forward without malice. The substitution of Waghorn for Everton loanee James Vaughan in the 70th minute sparked the game into life.
The striker had an immediate impact as he was played through clean on goal by Liverpool man Jay Spearing, only to be halted just outside the area by a cynical rugby tackle by Gabor Gyepes, who saw red.
Paul Gallagher`s free-kick went wide, and with it went Leicester`s best chance of an equaliser.
After the sending off, Cardiff went into ultra-defensive mode, inviting City on. But Leicester couldn`t find a way through, Richie Wellens going closest by stinging the hands of David Marshall in the Cardiff goal.
The home side showed their expertise at time wasting, but it mattered little as the game finished with a victory for the Welsh outfit. The result leaves Leicester in sixth place, only four points ahead of Blackpool in seventh.
With a testing fixture at West Brom on Friday up next for the Foxes, a fantastic season now seems to have hit a rocky patch.
Date:Wednesday March 31 2010
|Leicester City||1||-||0||Crystal Palace|
|1. Leicester City||13||8||4||1||+8||28|
|2. Man Utd||13||8||3||2||+10||27|
|3. Man City||13||8||2||3||+14||26|
|6. West Ham||13||6||3||4||+4||21|
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