Foxes fight back to snatch important win
Leicester City reignited their playoff hopes yesterday afternoon after coming from behind to beat Hull City in a fiery encounter at the King Power Stadium.
Former Foxes striker Matty Fryatt put the visiting side ahead after eight minutes with a clever chip over Kasper Schmeichel, but two goals in quick succession from Lloyd Dyer and Ben Marshall gave Leicester the lead at half-time.
Neil Danns was shown a straight red with over half an hour left to play, but Nigel Pearson’s ten men dug deep and held on for their fourth successive league win at home, closing the gap on the top six to just five points.
It was an important win for Pearson over his former employers after seeing his side concede an injury-time equaliser at Bloomfield Road against Blackpool on Wednesday night.
Leicester lined up differently to their usual 4-4-2 formation, with David Nugent playing wide on the left and youngster Ben Marshall playing just in front of the midfield behind Jermaine Beckford.
The Tigers had the better of a cagey opening, and took advantage of their first real chance when Neil Danns conceded the ball cheaply in midfield and Tom Cairney’s through ball to Matty Fryatt allowed the former Leicester City forward to chip over the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel, giving Hull the lead.
It was a clinical finish from Fryatt but a cheap goal for the Foxes to concede, albeit almost somewhat typical of recent poor defensive displays over the last month.
Corey Evans fired wide just moments later before Josh King forced a good save from Kasper Schmeichel as the visitors looked to turn the screw.
But against the run of play, Lloyd Dyer found space on the right wing, cut inside his defender and fired a low strike across goal which found its way past Vito Mannone in the Hull goal and into the bottom corner.
It was a much-needed equaliser for Nigel Pearson’s side who had been simply outplayed for the majority of the half.
Leicester’s turnaround was completed just moments later when David Nugent regained possession shortly after the restart, played the ball to Ben Marshall inside the opposing half who fired a superb 30 yard shot past the onlooking Mannone.
It was a stunning strike from Marshall, not dissimilar to his goal in Leicester’s 5-2 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Chelsea last weekend.
With the crowd of 23,000 now behind them, the Foxes began to play with more confidence, and could have extended their advantage when Lloyd Dyer’s speedy counter-attack ripped through the Hull midfield, but his final ball to Jermaine Beckford was just too heavy.
Hull might have been level five minutes before half-time when Josh King volleyed inside the area, but Sean St. Ledger made a crucial block to keep Leicester’s lead intact.
Ben Marshall then fired over after good build-up play by David Nugent just before the break, but came out the stronger side in the second-half as Lloyd Dyer beat two defenders inside the Hull penalty area before blasting wide into the side netting.
The game changed dramatically ten minutes after half-time when Neil Danns was shown a straight red by referee Nigel Miller for a dangerous challenge on Hull’s Paul McKenna.
The foul sparked confrontational scenes on the pitch, most notably between Jermaine Beckford and former Foxes captain Jack Hobbs, although on first glance both Danns and McKenna seemed to go for the ball in similar fashion.
Hull immediately went on the front foot in search of an equaliser, and came close when Cameron Stewart forced a fine near-post save out of Kasper Schmeichel.
Jack Hobbs then saw his header crash against the post as Hull began to dominate possession, but Leicester held firm and might have put the game out of sight with just over ten minutes to go when Jermaine Beckford’s excellent ball over the top to Danny Drinkwater gave the midfielder space to tee up a strike on goal, but his effort was well-saved by Vito Mannone.
Substitute Sol Bamba then hit the post with a low drive from 20 yards, before Lloyd Dyer fired wide after initially doing well to keep the ball in play on the touchline.
Hull continued to control possession, but Leicester defended resolutely and should have put the game to rest when Jermaine Beckford’s stunning cross-field pass to Dyer allowed the winger to cut inside the last defender, but his shot flew just wide of the goal.
Wes Morgan made a crucial block inside the penalty area to thwart another Hull attack, before substitute Aaron Mclean fired high and wide for the visitors in what proved to be their last chance of the game.
The final whistle indicated a vital three points for Leicester City as they continue to make their bid for the playoffs, while Hull manager Nicky Barmby will have been disappointed to see his side unable to break down the ten-man opposition.
Man of the match – Lloyd Dyer