West Brom 3-0 Leicester
02/04/10 - 5.15 p.m.
James Morisson and a Robert Koren double condemned Leicester to their fourth league defeat in a row, dealing a crushing blow to their quickly fading play-off hopes in the process.
Morrison's superb strike after 38 minutes was followed by Koren's first on the stroke of half-time, sending West Brom on their way to an efficient victory capped off by a third goal with five minutes remaining.
City manager Nigel Pearson made four changes from the side which went down at Cardiff midweek, bringing in Bruno Berner, Matt Oakley, Lloyd Dyer and Steve Howard for Nobby Solano, Jay Spearing, Dany N'Guessan and Paul Gallagher.
In a first half an hour with largely little to discuss it was Leicester who enjoyed the majority of the possession, setting the stall out early to attack the hosts to try and end a dismal run of form.
Bruno Berner headed over early from a Martyn Waghorn free-kick, before former-Baggie Lloyd Dyer fired wide from just outside the area to hand the Foxes a confident start at the Hawthorns.
Dyer was involved once again soon afterwards when he was sent through on goal, but West Brom goalkeeper Scott Carson was equal to his efforts to stop the winger in his tracks.
There were nervy moments for Leicester themselves at the other end when goalkeeper Chris Weale was beaten in the air by centre back Jonas Olsson, the defender seeing his header come back of the post to save Weale's blushes.
Both sides continued to push for the opener without avail, but the visitors continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession without threatening significantly. The Baggies defence had to be alert to avert danger from Steve Howard's ball across the box with Waghorn lurking.
But soon afterwards a narrow match was tipped in favour of the hosts on 38 minutes. Centre back Jack Hobbs could only watch on as his clearance header was smashed past Weale from 25-yards by James Morrison for the game's opener.
In truth the goal was extremely harsh on Leicester who had up until then looked reasonably comfortable both in possession and at the back.
But soon afterwards in first-half stoppage time the scoreline was doubled by the Baggies, much to Leicester's dismay. A slack clearance from the City defence allowed the ball to fall kindly to Slovenian international Robert Koren inside the area, who made no mistake of firing the ball past Weale to hand the hosts a strong lead at the break.
With Leicester trailing at the interval with their tails between the legs, Nigel Pearson brought on Paul Gallagher to replace Martyn Waghorn up front for the Foxes.
And the away side almost halved the deficit just three minutes after the restart. Steve Howard shrugged off defender Martin Olsson from Robbie Neilson's throw-in, but the eventual effort went wastefully wide.
West Brom hit back with venom when Gabriel Tamas saw his powerful effort equalled by Weale, before Howard found himself with another opportunity for Leicester.
Andy King's perfect ball over the top was collected by the big striker, who turned inside a West Brom defender before chipping aimlessly wide once more. It was a far cry from Howard's performance back in the 2007/08 season when he found the net three times in a devastating 4-1 win for City on the day.
Both sides continued to slog it out without reward, Andy King firing over hopelessly for Leicester before James Morrison shot wide from distance.
Everton loanee James Vaughan replaced Lloyd Dyer with 35 minutes of the match remaining, but in truth found it difficult to force any impact on the match. Nicky Adams was also introduced five minutes later for captain Matt Oakley.
Despite City's efforts, the Baggies trebled their goal tally with five minutes remaining. James Morrison capped his man of the match performance with a defence-splitting ball through to Robert Koren, who rounded Weale before placing home comfortably to seal the points.
It was a flattering scoreline for the hosts on the balance of play, but few will deny West Brom a deserved victory on the day. It is a win which sees Roberto Di Matteo's men move within a point of leaders Newcastle, closing in on a cherished return to the Premier League.
For Leicester it is simply a continuation of a dismal month. With Blackpool claiming victory at Scunthorpe earlier today the Foxes' lead has been cut to just a point, with a huge game at home to QPR on Monday now meaning more than ever.
With five matches remaining it will certainly be a nervous ending to the season for Foxes fans, one which will hopefully produce a happy conclusion.
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