Bad Day At The Office
Attendance: 25, 930
A disappointing afternoon at the Walkers Stadium saw Leicester City complete a straight forward victory with goals from Andy King and Steve Howard giving them a 2-0 victory against Derby County. The Rams didn`t really get going early on and, after Darius Vassell had a goal disallowed, Andy King gave the home side the lead with a neat finish after being played clean through on goal. Nigel Clough`s side enjoyed a good spell towards the end of the half with Commons and Moore both coming close and Paul Green should have done better with a header after the break. It was a miss that his side paid dearly for when Commons clipped the heels of Naughton in the area and former Ram Steve Howard fired home from the spot to secure the three points and keep up Leicester`s recent revival under Sven Goran Erikkson.
Dean Leacock, Stephen Pearson and Luke Moore all made starts in place of Ben Pringle, Robbie Savage and Shefki Kuqi as Nigel Clough made three changes to the side who won at Portman Road on Tuesday as all three dropped to the bench and Steve Howard started up front for the home side against his former club. Paul Green had the first effort of the match when his thirty yard effort flashed wide of Chris Weale`s left-hand post but it was Leicester who started brightly and Darius Vassell had an effort ruled out by the linesman`s flag after a neat finish from the edge of that area.
Andy King came close when he headed a cross just over the top on ten minutes and Leicester`s leading scoring gave his side the lead shortly afterwards when Steve Howard played the ball through a static Derby backline and he stroked home from the edge of the area giving Frank Fielding no chance. The Rams looked to get back in the match straight away and neat move found Kris Commons just outside the box but his firm effort was straight at Weale who claimed with ease.
Another run from King threatened to increase the lead but he got the ball stuck under his feet at the vital moment and Shaun Barker was able to clear to safety. Derby were beginning to enjoy more of the possession and were stroking the ball around and Commons again threatened with a long range effort but his shot was wide of the mark and Luke Moore lifted a chance over the top when Commons and Cywka combined to send him through on goal. Despite the territorial advantage The Rams couldn`t create any further clear cut chances and went in a goal behind at the break.
Leicester began the second period on top and Steve Howard twice got on the end of balls into the area but he couldn`t get his efforts on target and Green should have done better at the other end when he met a cross from Moore but he headed wide from close range. Substitute Lloyd Dyer brought a fine save out of Frank Fielding just after the hour mark when he let fly from inside the area after beating Dean Moxey down the right and Shefki Kuqi was brought on in place of Stephen Pearson with twenty minutes to play as Nigel Clough looked to change things around and engineer a route back into the match.
Before the striker had chance to make an impact Leicester had gone further ahead with Steve Howard the man to score from the spot after Commons tripped Kyle Naughton as he ran into the area, the former Derby man making no mistake to double the lead. Russell Anderson came on in place of Barker, who had picked up a knock, and Conor Doyle replaced Cywka in further changes for The Rams but they couldn`t dig out any further chances despite enjoying the territorial advantage. Paul Gallagher very nearly added another in the closing stages but Fielding did well at his near post to deny him and Leicester comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to claim the points on a disappointing afternoon for Derby.
Leicester City: Weale, Hobbs, Gallagher, Howard (Waghorn 90), King, Naughton, Wellens, Abe, Davies, Cunningham, Vassell (Dyer 64).
Subs: Fryatt, Logan, Berner, Moussa, Morrison.
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, Barker (Anderson 78), Leacock, Moxey, Bailey, Green, Cywka (Doyle 84), Pearson (Kuqi 69), Commons, Moore.
Subs: Deeney, Bywater, Savage, Pringle.