Writer: Simon Poole
Date:Sunday May 22 2011
7/5/11 - 12.45pm
Leicester City ended their season on a high note by beating a spirited Ipswich Town side in an entertaining match at the Walkers Stadium this afternoon.
Goals from Andy King, Yakubu and Yuki Abe had given the Foxes a comfortable advantage at the break, but Grant Leadbitter and Connor Wickham hit back for the visitors within the space of two second-half minutes.
Diomansy Kamara kept his nerve to convert from close range to thwart any further comeback and give Leicester their thirteenth home win of the season.
It was a fine display of football by both sides and Sven-Goran Eriksson will have been pleased that his side gave a good home performance despite falling short of the playoffs.
It was also the third game in their last four at the Walkers Stadium in which Leicester had scored four goals - and also meant that they ended the Championship campaign as the league`s highest goal scorers at home.
Ipswich should have taken the lead after just three minutes when a slip by Miguel Vitor gifted David Norris a glorious opportunity but the Ipswich skipper fired wide of the mark from twelve yards.
Leicester responded positively and came close themselves when recently-named player of the season Richie Wellens made a decent break from midfield before finding Yakubu on the edge of the area, but the Nigerian`s fierce strike flew just over the crossbar.
Yuki Abe was then on hand to make a goal line clearance from a corner kick before Chris Weale made a great double save from Connor Wickham`s long range strike and Jason Scotland`s follow up effort.
Ipswich would soon be made to pay for their missed chances as Leicester took the lead through Andy King who was picked out at the back post by Paul Gallagher`s brilliant cross with the Welshman on hand to head home his sixteenth goal of the season.
The goal came at a cost, however, as Darius Vassell picked up an injury in the process and was replaced by Diomansy Kamara - just before Miguel Vitor limped off for the home side and was replaced with fan-favourite Alexsandar Tunchev.
Tunchev was soon in the thick of the action in front of goal, turning Paul Gallagher`s free-kick goal bound and forcing former Leicester goalkeeper Marton Fulop into an acrobatic save.
Leicester did double their advantage three minutes before half-time when Andy King`s effort struck the woodwork but fell directly into the path of Yakubu who finished neatly to score his fourth goal in three games.
It was an instinctive finish from the Everton loanee who has been linked with a permanent move to the Walkers Stadium in the summer.
Jason Scotland then squandered another fine opportunity to grab a goal back for the Tractor Boys but his close range effort was again well saved by Chris Weale.
Leicester capitalised on another missed chance by the visitors in first-half stoppage time when Andy King`s pinpoint pass found Yuki Abe in acres of space who fired past Marton Fulop from eighteen yards for his first goal for the club.
It was a proud moment for the Japanese international and a well-deserved goal after a fine debut season for the Foxes.
Ipswich looked dead and buried at the break but came out firing on all cylinders in the second half with Connor Wickham firing just wide of the post.
The visitors were awarded a penalty on the hour mark when an Ipswich Town corner kick was cleared but adjudged to have struck the arm of Jeffrey Bruma, with Grant Leadbitter converting from the spot to give Paul Jewell`s men a lifeline.
Patrick Van Aanholt`s terrible back pass moments later then allowed Connor Wickham through on goal who fired past Chris Weale to make it 3-2.
It was a good finish by the England under-21 international and capped an all-round impressive display by the youngster.
Leicester soon restored their two-goal cushion after 72 minutes however through some excellent build-up play involving Yakubu and Patrick Van Aanholt on the left side of midfield which allowed the Dutchman to deliver a fine low ball into the penalty area, and although Andy King`s initial effort was blocked, Diomansy Kamara was on hand to fire home from close range and put the game beyond Ipswich.
It was a goal that also capped a fine performance by the Fulham loanee who appeared keen to impress the Leicester coaching staff, after also being linked with a full-time move to the East Midland in the summer.
The game began to die down after an end-to-end few minutes - although not before a tussle between Kamara and Grant Leadbitter following a foul on Yakubu that resulted in both players being cautioned.
Connor Wickham came close for the visitors in stoppage time after a mazy run but his shot flew wide of the near post.
The full-time whistle was followed by a lap of the pitch by both Leicester City players and staff, and Foxes fans left the Walkers Stadium mostly content after an entertaining season with plenty to look forward to over the summer.
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Date:Sunday May 22 2011
|Leicester City||1||-||0||Aston Villa|
|Hull City||0||-||1||Leicester City|
|West Ham||2||-||0||Leicester City|
|15. Aston Villa||22||5||7||10||-14||22|
|18. Hull City||22||4||7||11||-10||19|
|20. Leicester City||22||4||5||13||-14||17|
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