Date: 8th December 2008 at 4:56pm
Written by:

A Matty Fryatt hat-trick for the second game in succession handed Leicester a comfortable 3-0 win at the Walkers on Saturday afternoon.

Fryatt took his goals tally for the season to 22, and is subsequenty the first player in over 40 years to reach 20 goals before Christmas (this was previously Derek Dougan back in 1966) for the Foxes.

The game began in bright fashion for the home side, with striker Steve Howard firing over from range early on. The Foxes could have taken the lead in the 5th minute when Matt Oakley headed over from Kerrea Gilbert’s ball from the right hand side.

However, just a minute later Leicester had the lead through a superbly taken goal from Fryatt. The forward cut in from the right hand side and curled a lovely left foot shot into the bottom corner past the helpless Mildenhall.

Southend had their first proper chance of the game after 13 minutes when Laurent saw his effort drop narrowly over the bar.

Fine goalkeeping from Leicester’s David Martin prevented Southend captain Adam Barret’s header from heading over the line.

Leicester could have had a penalty after 25 minutes, but a foul on Steve Howard was judged to have been narrowly outside the box. The resulting free-kick from Lloyd Dyer produced a good save from Shrimper’s keeper Steve Mildenhall.

As the Foxes looked to push on for a second goal, there really was only one team who was going to win the game at this stage, and it wasn’t the visitors, who struggled to create chances in the first half.

A few half-chances followed for both sides; first Bruno Berner with a low effort saved by Mildenhall and then Fryatt with his shot blocked for a corner. Southend’s Francis Laurent pulled his shot wide soon after.

Recent goal hero Andy King could have doubled the Foxes’ advantage right on the stroke of half-time, but put his shot over the bar.

It was the visitors who had the first real chance of the second half, when ‘keeper David Martin had to be equal to Stanislas’ shot in the 55th minute.

A storming run through the centre from right back Kerrea Gilbert almost allowed the chance for Fryatt to grab a second goal of the game, but the striker couldn’t quite reach the full-back’s ball across.

Recent loan signing Mark Davies replaced central midfielder Bruno Berner after 59 minutes in Leicester’s first substitution of the game.

It wasn’t long before Davies made his mark on the game, when he should have put the hosts two goals to the good in the 69th minute. The midfielder cut inside from the left before unleashing a powerful drive straight at Mildenhall.

Fryatt curled a long-ranger just over the bar after 71 minutes, before the inevitable happened five minutes later.

Steve Howard’s valuable flick on was met by Fryatt, who finished expertly into the bottom corner from the edge of the area to give the Foxes an almost unasailable lead with 15 minutes of the match to go.

The rout, and subsequent hat-trick were completed just minutes later when a handball from Barrett inside the box allowed Fryatt to fire the ball down the middle of the goal from the resulting penalty.

Paul Dickov, the last City player to score 20 goals in a season, replaced Fryatt in the 85th minute, the former receiving a standing ovation as he left the pitch.

Southend came close themselves with minutes of the game remaining, first with Stanislas and then with Milsom, but both saw their efforts flash narrowly wide of Martin’s goal. Unfortunately it was too little, too late for the Shrimpers, the defeat condeming them to 11th place in League One.

The win for Leicester sees them remain at the top, two points ahead of Millwall.

City: Martin, Gilbert, Tunchev (Morrison 73), Hobbs, Powell, Oakley, Berner (Davies 59), King, Dyer, Fryatt (Dickov 85), Howard. Subs not used: Cisak, Campbell.

United: Mildenhall, Francis, Clarke, Barrett �, Harding, Betsy (Feeney 80), Milsom, McCormack, Stanislas, Revell, Laurent (Walker 72). Subs not used: Grant, Sankofa, Joyce.