Leicester City 2-1 Swansea City
A resilient Leicester overturned a one goal half-time deficit to claim an opening day win at the Walkers Stadium earlier today.
Two goals in the space of three minutes from second-half substitutes Martyn Waghorn and Dany N’Guessan gave the battling Foxes a deserved 2-1 win, sending their Championship campaign off to a flier.
Ashley Williams had put the Swans a goal up with his headed finish in the first half, but the home side fought back to claim the all important win.
Manager Nigel Pearson began the game with new signings Chris Weale and Richie Wellens in the side, with a back four of Michael Morrison, Wayne Brown, Jack Hobbs and Bruno Berner. Skipper Matt Oakley began the game on the right wing, allowing Wellens to pair up with Andy King in the middle. Lloyd Dyer took up the left wing spot, with Steve Howard and top-goalscorer last season Matty Fryatt beginning the game up front for the Foxes.
It was Leicester who began the game the better of the two sides, crafting some early pressure with some neat passes in and around the midfield. However, cutting edge was distinctly lacking, as the Swansea defence were rarely troubled.
It was in fact the Swans who took the lead after 15 minutes. Mark Gower’s corner was met by the head of Ashley Williams, who steered the ball home to hand the visitors the lead against the run of play.
It was much of the same for City thereafter, with feeble attempts at a fight-back thwarted by a lack of quality final ball. Matty Fryatt, clearly unfit after his non-existent pre-season, had the team’s most promising opportunity at the end of the first half, but his attempt to bustle through the Swansea defence was halted by Alan Tate.
At the break, Pearson decided rightfully that changes had to be made. Fryatt was clearly not ready for a return to competitive action, and the situation regarding Matt Oakley on the wing was not paying dividends. As a result, Fryatt and Andy King made way for new signings Martyn Waghorn and Dany N’Guessan, allowing Oakley to revert to his favoured central midfield position.
The changes proved to be a stroke of genius for City, as both substitutes began to stamp their mark on the game. Waghorn, only signed on loan from Sunderland officially yesterday, looked sharp, his pace allowing him to cause the Swansea defence problems. N’Guessan was equally effective, managing to deliver dangerous balls into the area which were finding blue shirts.
Just six minutes after half-time, Leicester were awarded a penalty when a marauding run from left-back Bruno Berner was illegally stopped short by goal hero Ashley Williams. The resulting penalty from Steve Howard was poor, as Swansea goalkeeper Dorus De Vries gratefully pushed his tame effort away to safety. You got the feeling it might just have been one of those days.
It was certainly hugely frustrating for the Foxes, who had certainly been the better side throughout the match. However, rewards were reaped soon after, as substitute Waghorn grabbed the equaliser for City.
With 68 minutes on the clock, Bruno Berner’s cross from the left found its way to the Sunderland loanee, who stabbed the ball goalwards onto an onrushing Swansea defender, a wicked deflection forcing the ball home. It was the stroke of luck that City needed, as the overwhelming sense that they could get a winner hit home.
And they did just that moments later through second half-time substitute N’Guessan. Matt Oakley’s corner was headed down by Steve Howard for N’Guessan to stab home from short range to provide Leicester with the second goal they fully deserved.
It could have been three minutes later when second half substitute Nicky Adams’ dangerous cross was met by the head of N’Guessan, but the ball ricocheted back off the bar.
However, it mattered now as Leicester saw out of the game and claimed a superb opening day win which both manager and fans will surely be delighted with. Pearson can certainly take great pride for the double substitution which gave City a way back into the game, a decision which will no doubt give him a selection headache for the visit to Ipswich next weekend.
Leicester: Weale; Morrison, Hobbs, Brown, Berner, Oakley, A King, Wellens, L Dyer, Fryatt, Howard. Subs: Logan, Gradel, Adams (78 for Dyer), N’Guessan (46 for King), Waghorn (46 for Fryatt), O’Neill, Dickov.
Swansea: De Vries: Williams, Tate, Britton, N Dyer, Monk, Pintado, McDonald, Rangel, Allen, Gower. Subs: Cornell, Richards, Serran, Orlandi (61 for McDonald), Dobbie (75 for Rangel), Lopez (24 for Allen), Bond.
Leicester 2-1 Swansea
Leicester City 2-1 Swansea City