Nugent Secures Win
King Power Stadium
Attendance: 20, 680
A poor start to the match was too much for Derby County to overcome as they eventually went down 4-1 to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in front of the SkySports cameras. Nigel Pearson's side started brightly but poor marking allowed Zak Whitbread to head home inside six minutes and another mistake by James O'Connor eventually gave Martyn Waghorn a simple finish to double the lead. It was all one way in the first thirty minutes but The Rams fought back and got a foothold when Michael Jacobs picked out Theo Robinson and he took a touch before thumping his effort into the roof of the net. Conor Sammon and Robinson both forced saves from Kasper Schmeichel as they looked for the equaliser and they made the running in the second period without being able to find the breakthrough. David Nugent came off the bench in the closing stages and secured the points for Leicester against the run of play when heading in from close range and then superbly volleying home from inside the area to give the scoreline a flattering look.
James O'Connor came into the side at leftback in place of the injured Gareth Roberts and Jeff Hendrick also returned to the starting lineup in place of Craig Bryson who missed out with a sore knee. Leicester started the game brightly but it was poor defending that gave them their opening goal when Zak Whitbread headed home a Martyn Waghorn corner on six minutes from ten yards out. Waghorn continued to threaten and his freekick from twentyfive yards was turned behind for a corner before another set piece saw him hit the cross bar although it looked more like a miss-hit cross from his reaction.
The former Sunderland striker was in a battle with Adam Legzdins and the Derby goalkeeper reacted superbly to keep out a firmly struck volley from inside the area from the same player before he tipped over a curling effort from Anthony Knockaert as Leicester continued to press. Another mistake lead to the home side taking a two goal lead on twentythree minutes, O'Connor gave the ball away at the back and Jamie Vardy ran into the are before squaring the Waghorn who calmly slotted home.
Legzdins stood up well to deny Jamie Vardy after a poor pass from John Brayford but The Rams slowly found their feet and Paul Coutts tested Kasper Schmeichel with a low drive from twentyfive yards. They did find a way back into the match minutes later when Will Hughes found Michael Jacobs and his clever clipped ball released Theo Robinson who took a touch before thumping his finish beyond Schmeichel's reach. Derby were now on top and Conor Sammon could have leveled things up when a burst of pace took him between two defenders but his low shot was kept out by the feet of the former Leeds United keeper who also reacted well to tip another Robinson shot behind to keep his side in front at the break.
Derby continued where they left off in the firsthalf with Schmeichel palming out a cross-shot from Sammon although Richard Keogh had top be on his toes to deny Vardy after he turned Jake Buxton and ran at goal. Hendrick had a low shot blocked in front of goal with the ball eventually being cleared after some panic in the Leicester backline and there were one or two moments of extreme uncertainty for the home side without The Rams being able to find that equaliser.
As the game looked set for a big finish with Derby on the front the result was put out of their reach by substitute David Nugent somewhat against the run of play. Waghorn beat O'Connor to the ball inside the Derby area only to be denied by Legzdins with a sharp save but the ball eventually came to Ben Marshall who was given too much room to cross and Nugent beat Keogh in the air to head home from close range. The former Preston striker then added to The Rams' agony with a fourth goal as he curled a volley into the top corner with the outside of his right foot to secure the points.
Derby County: Legzdins; Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, O'Connor (Freeman 76); Coutts, Hendrick, Hughes, Jacobs (Bennett 85); Robinson (Tyson 81), Sammon.
Subs Not Used: Fielding, O'Brien, Hoganson, Davies.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, De Laet, Konchesky, Drinkwater, Morgan, Whitbread, Vardy (Nugent 66), King, Dyer (Marshall 66), Waghorn, Knockaert.
Subs Not Used: Logan, James, Schlupp, Moore, Futacs.