Friday, 22 April 2011

Conclusions from the City Ground

Nottingham Forest3-2Leicester
(HT 1-1)
Tudgay 15
Earnshaw 72
McKenna 85
Oakley 20
Vassell 73

Att: 24,217
BBC Match Report



Screamer: Oakley gave Leicester a lifeline
  • An entertaining game for the neutral. This derby was one that, for once, lived up to the hype credited to it by the media. The pace of the game made for an intriguing midfield battle with plenty of end-to-end stuff. Ultimately Forest had the first half, Leicester captivating for only a ten-minute period around Matt Oakley's equalizing goal. The second half again bought the stadium alight, with both sides looking for three points. Forest gained the advantage and Leicester instantly responded, demonstrating how superbly this league can entertain the masses.
  • A poor finish to a wonderful eighty minutes of entertainment. Forest's farcical winner, making Foxes fans cringe as one as the ball bumbled underneath Chris Weale, ended the game as it was. Deflated Leicester players failed to find that same spark as they had done twice before, even with the likes of Paul Gallagher, Ben Mee and Miguel Vitor trying to put something - anything - into motion. As the fizz of the first eighty-odd minutes faded, Forest played a defensive game with the ball in the corners and killing the sense of occasion that gave this game its initial grandeur.
  • We are out of it now. No more optimism. Six points off the play-offs, three games to play. The maths do still add-up, but without facing any of the four teams that now lie between the Foxes and Forest - now in sixth - a miracle is what is needed to see us in the Premier League next year. Yesterday's blog post about looking to squad-building for next season wasn't premature after all.



Winners
Matt Oakley
Ill? On drugs? Whatever it is, Oakley is on fire at present as Leicester's most in-form player. The ex-Derby midfielder slammed-home a twentieth minute equalizer that well-matched the quality of Tudgay's opener. From beyond twenty yards, Lee Camp had no chance of saving Oakley's powerful shot, despite his getting a hand to the ball. Having failed to find the net in 78 Foxes appearances, the veteran has now scored twice in three matches, both goals crucial in giving City a foothold in their respective games. Fair play to Oakley, who's had a fair amount of stick recently, in putting two fingers up to that criticism in the best way possible. Odd, then, that he was substituted with just five minutes of the first half gone. Eriksson was clearly looking for something different from Yuki Abe, his replacement.

Man of the Match: Vitor put in another solid performance
Miguel Vitor
Vitor defended solidly this evening and demonstrated in parts some maturity far beyond his years. The 21-year-old was firm at the back and his distribution going forward was something a seasoned Paul Gallagher would have been aspiring to in his youth. Vitor was Leicester's standout man of the match this evening and if Eriksson can persuade Benfica to part with this loanee, it will be a very good piece of business for Leicester indeed.

Paul Gallagher
If Waghorn wept in Cardiff, Gallagher was the man to show the fans how much effort has been put in this year's play-off push. Leicester's most improved player must be assured of a key role next season and his sense of duty, commitment and pride is second to none in this squad.



Losers

Andy King
The golden boy's poor run of form continues to hamper him and the team, his usual sparkle and magic absent from this match as in many performances of late. In the second half his long run ended as he failed to find a good ball through to a breaking Yakubu. King needs to find more form if he is to avoid the scorn of all to often fickle Foxes fans.

Chris Weale
If any man will take the blame for this it will be the goalkeeper. This was a good performance from Leicester City in which two goals were scored to fight back - in that spirit we all hold so dear - against two decent strikes from the opposition (albeit one of them offside). A pity, then, that the winning goal was so farcical, a tame shot from McKenna bobbling under Weale to find its way into the back of the net. A poor way to start the end of what will surely be his final season as the Foxes' number one. 

Yakubu

Plenty of effort - and a sense of humour - from the Yak but that failed to deliver. His single attempt on goal was a tame effort indeed and his replacement by Vassell early in the second half introduced a bit more pace to the Foxes attack.
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