Leicester 0-0 Middlesbrough
14/08/10 - 3 p.m.
Spoils were shared at the Walkers Stadium as Leicester's goal-infested start was ended with an entertaining goalless draw with Middlesbrough.
Gordon Strachan will be the happier of the two managers with the final outcome as he saw his side dominated against for much of the match.
Leicester looked comfortable at the back for the majority of the game, but were also matched by their opponents at the other end as neither side managed a breakthrough.
Foxes manager Paulo Sousa handed Portuguese star Moreno a starting berth alongside Jack Hobbs at centre back, while Richie Wellens and Steve Howard were also included in the side after impressive midweek performances.
Neilson --- Hobbs --- Moreno --- Berner
Oakley --- King --- Wellens
Dyer --- Howard --- Campbell
It was Leicester who flew out of the the traps quickest on a dreary afternoon, the first real opportunity coming on eight minutes in the form of an Andy King header which cracked the crossbar.
At the other end Middlesbrough, always looking to break on the counter, were twice denied by superb challenges from Jack Hobbs.
First it was Kris Boyd who was stopped in his tracks after a neat ball through from the Middlesbrough midfield, closely followed by a second excellent challenge on Scott McDonald to deny the Australian.
It was a huge relief to see Hobbs back to his best after an unsteady opening, his two goal-saving tackles keeping the scoreline level.
Middlesbrough perhaps should have taken the lead with almost 20 minutes played when winger Luke Williams, seemingly given acres of space throughout the first half, weaved his way inside before firing narrowly wide of Chris Weale's goal.
With their hat-trick of scares over it was Leicester who began to take a hold on the match, and could have broke the deadlock soon afterwards.
Good work from Lloyd Dyer allowed the winger to cut the ball back for Richie Wellens, who instead of shooting with his left offered only a timid attempt with the outside of his right boot.
The tireless DJ Campbell was working hard on the left of City's front three, and almost found the net himself when his dangerous free-kick was tipped over excellently by Jason Steele in the Middlesbrough goal.
Steele was on hand to deny Campbell shortly after when the latter's right foot shot was gathered smartly by the young goalkeeper.
Leicester did have the ball in the net after Andy King rounded Steele to poke the ball home, but Campbell's excellent through ball was adjudged to have reached the midfielder in an offside position.
Five minutes before the break a Matt Oakley free-kick caused confusion in the Middlesbrough penalty area with both Steve Howard and Jack Hobbs ready to pounce, but the ball was eventually hooked clear to safety.
It was a promising end to the first period, Foxes fans discontent only with whistle-happy referee Mike Jones who was a nuisance throughout.
The second half began in rather low-key fashion, the first offering on goal coming from a McDonald header the Middlesbrough striker really should have done better with.
Strachan would have had every reason to be delighted with his goalkeeper on the afternoon, as Steele was once again on hand to punch clear Oakley's dangerous free-kick into the penalty area.
From here on in it was all Leicester, but a stout defending from the visitors prevented any opening for Sousa's side.
First DJ Campbell headed wide from Lloyd Dyer's excellent ball in from the right, before that man Steele palmed away Steve Howard's effort on the edge of the area.
Middlesbrough came within inches of breaking Leicester hearts through Gary O'Neil, but the half-time substitute's excellent volley curled narrowly high and wide.
Sousa introduced right back Michael Lamey for his home debut in place of the excellent Robbie Neilson, joined also by striker Matty Fryatt who replaced Campbell up front.
Scott McDonald stung the hands of Weale with a powerful drive on the angle with minutes remaining, before Leicester raced up the other end to cause havoc from a corner which proved just out of reach for both substitutes.
It was a frustrating outcome to a match Leicester should have edged, but the clean sheet will provide manager Paulo Sousa with some positive thoughts after excellent showings from Robbie Neilson and Jack Hobbs in particular.
Moreno, despite his questionable showings in the air, also impressed with a composed and tidy performance.
Up front DJ Campbell worked tirelessly in an impressive showing, the only thing missing from an otherwise admirable performance being a goal.
The fact Leicester's endeavours up front did not lead to a goal lend their hand to some resilient defending from Middlesbrough, David Wheater and Jason Steele taking particular plaudits for superb displays.
The Foxes take a point on the board and an encouraging display away to Burnley at Turf Moor next weekend, where an opening victory is once again the target to take from a tough fixture.
Leicester: Weale - Neilson, Hobbs, Moreno, Berner - King, Oakley, Wellens - Campbell, Howard, Dyer
Subs: Logan, Kennedy, Lamey (for Neilson, 80), Morrison, N'Guessan, Gallagher (for King, 74), Fryatt (for Campbell, 80)
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Bates, Wheater, McManus, Williams, Thomson, Robson, Bailey, Boyd, McDonald
Subs: Coyne, Lita (for Thomson, 70), Miller, Arca, Kink (for Boyd, 85), O'Neil (for Williams, 46), Hines
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