Nigel Pearson gets Foxes back on track
Nigel Pearson’s second spell in charge of Leicester City began with a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace this afternoon at the King Power Stadium.
Jermaine Beckford broke the deadlock just before the hour mark with a cool finish from inside the area, before Paul Gallagher scored two wonder goals in the space of four minutes to put the game beyond the visitors.
It was a spirited performance by the hosts who had spent the last three weeks managerless since the departure of Sven-Goran Eriksson in October.
Pearson’s return to the King Power Stadium, after parting ways with the club in 2009 to join Hull City, saw Leicester adopt a more familiar 4-4-2 formation which proved successful during his previous stint in charge.
The hosts started positively from the outset, with Lee Peltier flashing a dangerous ball across the face of the goal in the first minute which just evaded the right foot of David Nugent.
Nugent then had a shot blocked before Andy King latched onto the end of another excellent cross by Lee Peltier, but he could only guide his header directly at Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
Paul Gallagher tested Speroni with a low driving free-kick from 20 yards before Glenn Murray fired just over for Crystal Palace on the half-hour mark.
The first-half fizzled out without much to write home about, but Leicester sprung into life after the break on 55 minutes when Paul Konchesky’s mazy run allowed the full-back to find Richie Wellens on the edge of the box, who played the ball into Jermaine Beckford who coolly slotted the ball past Julian Speroni into the back of the net.
It was a wonderfully worked team goal by the Foxes, and Beckford’s second since joining the club at the end of the summer transfer window this year.
The former Everton striker could have doubled his tally two minutes later when he intercepted a misplaced pass between Anthony Gardner and Paddy McCarthy on the half-way line, but lost his balance inside the penalty area at the final moment and his shot lacked any real power.
At the other end, Kasper Schmeichel made a brilliant point-blank save from substitute Chris Martin’s unmarked header from six yards out – a moment which would prove to be pivotal.
With just under 20 minutes remaining, Leicester doubled their lead when Paul Konchesky laid off a quick free-kick to Paul Gallagher who struck a sublime 25 yard curling strike into the top right-hand corner.
It was a fantastic individual goal that epitomised the Scotsman’s technical ability, and showed what the Foxes have missed during his time on the sideline.
And just four minutes later, Leicester put the game out of sight when Dean Moxey only half cleared Paul Konchesky’s cross and Paul Gallagher struck a 35 yard screamer past the helpless Speroni into the top left-hand corner.
It was a goal of top quality that bettered Gallagher’s first, and completed a superb homecoming for Nigel Pearson.
It was a cruel outcome for Crystal Palace, who came close late again through Chris Martin and Glenn Murray, but the final whistle meant that Leicester took all three points and climbed to eighth in the Championship as they look to return to winning ways under Nigel Pearson.