Leicester City secured only their second run of back to back victories on bank holiday Monday, after overcoming Ipwich Town 2-1 in a closely fought encounter.
Nigel Pearson continued with the same starting XI that successfully defeated Doncaster Rovers only two days earlier in a convincing 4-0 victory, despite having a now again fully fit Andy King and Paul Gallagher at his disposal. Long-term injury victim Martyn Waghorn continued to miss out on the first team, despite resuming full training over the course of the build-up to the bank holiday weekend.
Both teams started the game with an early lead in mind; Jason Scotland for Ipswich going close with a drilled 25 yard effort prior to David Nugent’s right footed effort from the edge of the box sailing harmlessly wide of the target. The Tractor Boys followed up on Scotland’s early effort by pressurising Kasper Schmeichel into making good saves from a powerful Josh Carson shot and a well worked free kick by former Sunderland man Gary Leadbitter. Despite sustained pressure from the home side throughout the first half, Leicester certainly didn’t shy away from goal, attempting to make hay by inducing the use of the wing; with the pace of in form wingers Lloyd Dyer and Ben Marshall threatening the Ipswich goalmouth. However, a calm and collective display of defensive excellence by Carlos Edwards restricted the two wing men’s influence up front, and ensured the home side had the better chances in the first half.
With the half time whistle in sight, the intensity of the game increased; initially thanks to a well deserved goal for Paul Jewell’s men with Jason Scotland scoring with a well struck effort from the edge of the penalty area to beat a powerless Schmeichel and fly into the bottom right of the goalmouth. Ipswich Town 1-0 Leicester City.
It seemed as if Ipswich had scored at what can only be described as an ideal time on the brink of half time, however, as the cliché exclaims: ‘a team is most vulnerable after they have scored’. Leicester made sure this tired old cliché still has life in it thanks to a deflected free-kick by Ben Marshall which hit the back of the net in first half injury-time; stunning fans, players and commentary teams alike. Ipswich Town 1-1 Leicester City.
Nigel Pearson played a brave hand during half time, deciding to make a double substitution which introduced Andy King and Paul Gallagher in place of Danny Drinkwater and Lloyd Dyer respectively. Pearson’s bold tactical change appeared to be a straight player swap as opposed to a change in formation. Immediately, the substitutions were seemingly a wise move by Pearson, as Leicester began to dominate the encounter. As per usual, it was the partnership of Beckford and Nugent leading the Foxes’ bombardment on goal, with Beckford in particular going close on the 50th minute mark with a close range effort being superbly saved by Arran Lee-Barrett inbetween the sticks for Ipswich. Despite being yielded a yellow card thanks to an unfair challenge on Lee-Barrett by half time substitute Andy King, Leicester dominated. Moments after a Paul Gallagher shot went unbearably close for City, the former Blackburn winger turned provider after an in-swinging cross from out wide connected with the awaiting head of David Nugent, and subsequently hit the back of the net with a powerful presence. The goal sent Leicester into a precious lead, and meant that Nugent has now scored 6 goals from his last 5 games at Portman Road. Prolific. Ipswich Town 1-2 Leicester City.
Holding onto leads on the road has not been a strength of late for Pearson’s side, but they looked strong going into the game’s final quarter – with centre backs Sol Bamba and the excellent Wes Morgan marshalling the defence well and Nugent working tirelessly in tandem with Beckford to disrupt the Ipswich service. Gary Leadbitter let rip from distance 15 minutes before time forcing Schmeichel to wave the well taken effort past the post, in Ipswich’s only real clear cut chance on goal prior to the full time whistle. The home side’s relentless and a desperate pursuit of an equaliser nearly furthered their downfall as Jermaine Beckford’s close range dinked shot was saved again by an impressive Lee-Barrett after a clever chip from late substitute Steve Howard sent Beckford through on goal.
Despite the efforts of both teams, the game remained as it had been following Nugent’s 57th minute header as it proved to be the winner, with Leicester City winning for the second time in two days and maintaining their stuttering push for a play-off slot with just four fixtures remaining. Full time: Ipswich Town 1-2 Leicester City.