Leicester mark their return to Premier League football with a deserved point at home to Everton
Leicester City marked their return to the Premier League with a deserved point against Everton this afternoon at the King Power Stadium.
Aiden McGeady put the visitors in front after twenty minutes with a measured curling strike, but the Foxes responded immediately through debutant Leonardo Ulloa after Everton failed to clear their lines after a corner kick.
Steven Naismith restored the Toffees` lead on the stroke of half-time and seemed good value to push on and take all three points, but the Foxes improved after the break and drew level with five minutes remaining from substitute Chris Wood`s cool finish from twelve yards.
It was a spirited display by Nigel Pearson`s side, although Everton manager Roberto Martinez will be disappointed to have seen his side squander the lead twice despite enjoying the lion`s share of possession in the match.
Both sets of supporters were in fine voice for their season opener – the travelling Everton fans hoping to see their team push on from a fifth-place finish last year, while Foxes fans seemed quietly confident about their side`s chances on their return to the Premier League.
Aiden McGeady had the first real chance of the match with a shot on goal from eighteen yards, but his effort lacked power and was comfortably dealt with by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
At the other end, Anthony Knockaert`s free-kick was tipped over the bar by Tim Howard, and Wes Morgan`s shot from the ensuing corner failed to test the USA international.
But it was Everton who looked the more dangerous in possession and the visitors took the lead on 21 minutes when Aiden McGeady curled the ball past Kasper Schmeichel into the top right-hand corner, after the Danish international had saved well from Sylvain Distin`s initial effort on goal.
It was a fine finish from McGeady, although the Republic of Ireland international was given too much time on the ball in order to compose himself in front of goal.
Leicester`s response was instantaneous as they won a corner kick just moments after the restart, and when Distin struggled to deal with the ball into the box, summer signing Leonardo Ulloa was on hand to prod the ball past Tim Howard from eight yards and mark his Foxes home debut with a goal.
It was an instinctive finish from the former Brighton frontman, and a perfect response from Nigel Pearson`s side after going a goal down.
Everton thought that they had restored the lead just minutes later when Steven Naismith found the back of the net from close range, although the officials had correctly spotted that the ball had gone out of play in the build-up.
Anthony Knockaert then fired well over with a speculative effort from 25 yards, before Wes Morgan put in a superb challenge at the other end to deny McGeady a second goal.
McGeady continued to cause Leicester problems on the right-hand side as half time drew nearer, striking wide from outside the penalty area, before the Foxes lost Danny Drinkwater to injury with five first-half minutes remaining.
Things then went from bad to worse for the home side when Steven Naismith fired Everton ahead on the stroke of half-time with a powerful shot on goal which hit the underside of the bar before crossing the line, after some excellent build-up play involving Steven Pienaar.
It was a clinical, well-worked goal by the visitors, who had looked the stronger of the two sides in the opening 45 minutes and were good value for their half-time lead.
Leicester made a bright start to the second half but squandered chances to threaten Tim Howard`s goal, as both Liam Moore and Ulloa failed to hit the target with headed efforts.
Everton continued to enjoy the majority of possession but were quiet in front of goal, in no short measure to a superb defensive performance from Foxes captain Wes Morgan to keep £28 million summer signing Romelu Lukaku at bay for the majority of the afternoon.
Substitute Jeff Schlupp looked lively following his introduction to the match and had a glorious opportunity to draw the home side level after being played in on goal by Riyad Mahrez, but the Ghanaian international blasted well over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area – much to the despair of the Spion Kop.
Mahrez then saw his free kick deflected wide of the post with fifteen minutes remaining as Leicester continued to press for an equaliser.
With four minutes remaining, the Foxes finally drew level for the second time in the match when Andy King`s shot was blocked by England international Phil Jagielka, and substitute Chris Wood was perfectly placed to fire past Tim Howard from twelve yards.
It was a cool finish by Wood, who had been linked with a move to Championship side Wolves earlier in the week, and one which would ensure that Leicester City would mark their return to the Premier League, following a ten-year absence, with a point.
Everton pressed in search of a winner in the last few minutes of the match, but the Leicester defence, led by Morgan, held out for a deserved draw against one of the stronger sides in the Premier League.