Preston 0-1 Leicester
24/04/10 - 3 p.m.
Andy King's superb second-half strike confirmed Leicester's place in this season's Championship play-offs at Deepdale earlier this afternoon.
With Swansea going down at Bramall Lane it meant that only a point would have been required, but Leicester stormed to their fourth victory in succession to book their place in the play-offs for the first time in 14 seasons.
The last time the Foxes reached the play-offs was in the 1995/6 season, when Steve Claridge notched a dramatic late winner in the last minute of extra time against Crystal Palace at Wembley.
That particular win kick-started five years of football that would go down in the memories of Leicester fans as some of the greatest ever, as top ten Premier League appearances became common-thought in the late 90s.
For this particular match City boss Nigel Pearson was forced into two changes prior to kick-off, with Lloyd Dyer and James Vaughan taking the places of injured Richie Wellens and the suspended Steve Howard respectively.
Morrison --- Hobbs --- Brown --- Berner
King --- Spearing --- Gallagher
Waghorn --- Vaughan --- Dyer
In a tentative opening chances were few and far between for both sides, and it took until the 14th minute for Preston midfielder Ross Wallace to fire a free-kick on goal.
Jack Hobbs tested goalkeeper Andy Lonergan with an acrobatic effort soon afterwards, before Bruno Berner produced another in reply for Leicester.
Preston were denied what they believed to have been a stonewall penalty when the ball hit the arm of Berner inside the area.
At the other end City were denied a goal of their own, when in bizarre fashion Paul Gallagher beat goalkeeper Andy Lonergan from a drop-ball. Referee Gant Hegley decided to disallow the goal however, indicating Gallagher to re-start the game once again.
HALF-TIME: PRESTON 0-0 LEICESTER
Goalkeeper Lonergan was replaced at the break by Wayne Henderson, who should have been beaten in the early stages of the second half.
A good cross from Lloyd Dyer on the left flank was squared back across goal by Gallagher for the un-marked Martyn Waghorn to somehow side-foot over from close range.
Leicester were once again cursing their luck in the 54th minute when they had a second goal disallowed. Goalkeeper Henderson and defender Elliott Ward collided under pressure from James Vaughan after a long ball over the top, with the City striker subsequently penalised after tapping the ball home.
But after a second-half of solid graft Leicester finally had their rewards in the 63rd minute. Sean St.Ledger's wayward pass was picked up by Andy King, who burst from the centre circle, bustling through a Ward challenge before firing a great effort past Henderson.
The momentum was with the visitors all the way from here on, and Henderson was in action once again just over ten minutes later when he produced a fine save to keep out Vaughan.
Former City defender Callum Davidson and striker Neil Mellor created opportunities in reply for North End, but Leicester battled out the remainder of the game to send their travelling support into raptures, the unbelievable prospect of back-to-back promotions creeping further into sight.
The victory sees City guaranteed of their place in the play-offs with one game to spare, their opponents on May 9th likely to come in the form of Cardiff City.
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