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Ipswich 3-0 Leicester

Ipswich Town
3 - 0
Leicester City

Portman Road

18/12/10 - 5.20 p.m

Attendance: 16,728

Referee:

Roy Keane was left thanking his lucky stars as his Ipswich side hung on to crush Leicester in a farcical encounter at Portman Road.

The snow had threatened to end the clash before it had even begun, and despite an extended half-time break and a ten-minute stoppage midway through the first-half, Ipswich claimed a deserved victory on the pitch after a three-goal first-half salvo.

Stuart Attwell - a regular at the heart of controversy - saw fit to allow the game to continue despite obvious visibility and safety concerns throughout the game.

But the home side adapted much better than visitors Leicester, an early goal from David Norris added to by Jason Scotland's brace inside the first 45 minutes.

Injuries to centre backs Curtis Davies and Miguel Vitor completed City's woes, with both appearing to pull up with muscle-related strains towards the end of the game.

Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson made two changes to his startling lineup from last weekend's excellent victory over Doncaster, recalling Lloyd Dyer in place of the injured Roman Bednar together with handing Kris Kirkland his Foxes debut.

And Kirkland's first start for the club started as it ultimately ended - badly. Captain David Norris picked up on a loose ball from an Ipswich free-kick, driving the ball through a sea of bodies into the bottom corner.

Leicester almost drew level in the 14th minute, but Darius Vassell's flick-on from a Paul Gallagher free-kick was headed onto the woodwork by Town defender Mark Kennedy.

From then on Eriksson's side showed absolutely no signs of getting themselves back into the match. Ipswich were superior at finding their feet in the treacherous conditions, and had a second just before the half hour mark.

Jason Scotland picked the ball up just outside the area, and after being allowed to shoot, lashed the ball into the bottom corner past a helpless Kirkland. A fine finish it was, but City's suspect defence could have been quicker to close the striker down.

With Leicester's usual tactics clearly useless in the snowy conditions, Eriksson was forced into a changed after just 28 minutes as Steve Howard replaced the unfortunate Lloyd Dyer.

But the change proved ineffective in preventing an Ipswich third. Yuki Abe was criminally caught in possession inside his own penalty area, allowing Scotland to finish off from Shane O'Connor's opportunistic cross.

As the half-time whistle blew, talk was rife with suggestions that the match could be abandoned, but referee Stuart Attwell ordered a five-minute extension to allow the hordes of ground staff to clear the pitch lines.

Half-time: Ipswich 3-0 Leicester

The snow showed no signs of slowing, and the match was forced to a halt less than 15 minutes in to clear the pitch once again. The game's turning point arrived soon after when Attwell allowed play to continue, much to the disgust of a deflated Leicester squad.

The Foxes thought they had found a potential route back into the game when Curtis Davies headed in from another Gallagher free-kick, but the linesman's flag ruled out the goal from the onside Aston Villa loanee.

Chances became few and far between, but it was City who were controlling most of the play in the second-half (or should that be third?). Despite their possession, however, Ipswich goalkeeper Marton Fulop was generally kept at a distance from action.

Leicester's crisis was added to with 20 minutes remaining when centre back Davies was forced off through injury, and woes were completely compiled when fellow defender Miguel Vitor limped off with a hamstring injury to leave City with ten men.

By this time the Foxes appeared to have already given up hope of making their mark on the game, and Ipswich ended their horrific run of six straight Championship defeats at a canter.

City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson lamented the game's continuation, conceding that the team's usual style of play was near-impossible on the snow-covered turf.

The result leaves Leicester in 16th, a sour ending on a match which could have seen the Foxes leap into the dizzy heights of 7th with victory.

Leicester: Kirkland, Naughton, Vitor, Davies (Hobbs 70), Cunningham, Wellens, Abe, King (c), Dyer (Howard 28), Gallagher (Fryatt 65), Vassell

Subs not used: Weale, Morrison, Oakley, Moussa.

Ipswich: Fulop, O'Connor (Edwards 77), Delaney, Leadbitter, Norris (c), Scotland (Livermore 69), Smith, Zuiverloon, Colback, Fallon (Wickham 62), Kennedy

Subs not used: Murphy, Peters, Brown, O'Dea


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Writer:JBFox
Date:Saturday December 18 2010
Time: 9:11PM

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