Beckford’s fine display rescues point for Foxes
Jermaine Beckford’s late goal rescued a point for Leicester City in a fiery encounter with Middlesbrough at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes took an early lead through David Nugent’s header, but Middlesbrough drew level ten minutes later when Scott McDonald converted from a Seb Hines corner.
Tom McMahon’s second-half free-kick looked to have secured all three points for the visitors, but Jermaine Beckford pounced onto a loose ball before coolly slotting home an equaliser with four minutes remaining.
Beckford turned in a stellar display for Leicester City, maintaining his excellent form from the FA Cup and silencing any critics since his big money move from Everton last year.
The hosts took the lead after just seven minutes when Richie Wellens picked out an unmarked David Nugent inside the six yard box with an audacious chip across goal, leaving the England international with the simplest of headers.
It was Nugent’s tenth goal of the campaign and exactly what Nigel Pearson will have wanted from his side following three consecutive wins in all competitions.
But Tony Mowbray’s men had other ideas and came close to equalising when Marvin Emnes’ volley flew wide of the near post after Matt Mills’ sliced clearance had conceded a corner kick.
Emnes then forced a fine save from Kasper Schmeichel with a fierce strike from twenty yards, before Middlesbrough drew level through Scott McDonald’s close range finish after Leicester failed to deal with Seb Hines’ corner kick.
It was a poor goal for the Foxes to concede but showed typical determination of a Tony Mowbray side refusing to lie down.
Paul Gallagher struck over before the half-hour mark after a mazy run from David Nugent, while Tom McMahon fired just wide at the other end of the pitch.
Nugent again fired wide of goal, and, despite appearing to be fouled after the ball had been played, received a caution for pleading his case with the referee.
Paul Gallagher was then brought down on the edge of the box under another late challenge by the Boro’ defence, but the subsequent free-kick failed to test Luke Steele.
On the stroke of half-time, Neil Danns played a sublime ball over the top to Jermaine Beckford, but his volley flew just over the bar after a fantastic first touch.
Beckford had another chance to restore Leicester’s lead in first-half stoppage time, but his dangerous strike was tipped over the bar by Luke Steele.
The second half continued where the first had left off, with strong challenges flying in with very few cautions from referee Gavin Ward.
Chances were few and far between for both sides, before Nigel Pearson then offered home debuts to new signing Danny Drinkwater and Aston Villa loanee Nathan Delfouneso, who sparked life into the game as Leicester went in search of a winner.
Jermaine Beckford then rattled the crossbar with a thunderous volley from a tight angle with Luke Steele completely beaten, before Sean St. Ledger conceded a free-kick on the edge of the Leicester penalty area after Danny Drinkwater had lost possession in a dangerous position.
Tom McMahon stepped up to curl an excellent strike past the helpless Kasper Schmeichel from twenty yards, giving the visiting side an unlikely advantage with ten minutes remaining.
Steve Howard entered the fray with seven minutes remaining as Nigel Pearson went in search of an equaliser with four strikers on the pitch, and the manager was rewarded for his bravery when Jermaine Beckford pounced on a loose ball back to Luke Steele, rounded the keeper and slotted home with precision.
It was Beckford’s sixth goal in four games, capping off a scintillating performance from the former Everton and Leeds striker, and a deserved equaliser for the Foxes.
Leicester went in search of a winner when Steve Howard laid the ball off to Neil Danns on the edge of the area, but his shot was just off target.
Jermaine Beckford could have won it for the home side at the death when he broke the offside trap and latched onto Neil Danns’ long ball, but his volley was off-balance and fell harmlessly wide of the goal.
The final whistle meant that Leicester have still failed to win back-to-back games in the Championship this season, although Nigel Pearson will have been pleased with his side’s character to rescue a deserved point.
Man of the Match – Jermaine Beckford