Date: 29th December 2010 at 2:06pm
Written by:

Leicester suffered their fourth straight defeat on the road as goals from Steve Morison and Jason Puncheon handed ten man Millwall a comfortable victory at the Den.

Morison fired the home side ahead early in the first half, before Puncheon added a second after just 25 minutes to leave the Foxes reeling in East London.

Kenny Jackett’s side were reduced to ten men shortly after the break when Alan Dunne was sent off for a rash challenge on Richie Wellens, but City could not capitalise and were condemned to a deserved defeat in the capital.

Sven-Goran Eriksson handed recalls to Lloyd Dyer and Roman Bednar up front in place of Darius Vassell and Steve Howard as City went in search of improving their dreadful away form for the campaign. Club captain Matt Oakley was also introduced in place of Yuki Abe in midfield.

Indeed it was Leicester who fashioned the game’s first opening after 8 minutes, and perhaps should have taken the lead. Captain Oakley’s header through the middle sent Paul Gallagher on his way, but his eventual shot was dragged wide of David Forde’s post.

But the visitors were soon to be punished for the wasted opportunity as Millwall took the lead on 12 minutes. Liam Trotter’s bustling run down the right eventually provided the cross from which striker Steve Morison fired home for his ninth league goal of the campaign.

Defending was suspect once again from the Foxes, first of all from a suspectly weak Greg Cunningham and then from both centre backs who seemed more than willing to leave Morison alone in the area.

Either way, Leicester were a goal down once again and had work to do. But as it happened, the home side merely doubled their advantage at the Den on 25 minutes courtesy of yet more horror defending.

A bouncing ball in the penalty area was left by both Jack Hobbs and Michael Morrison, allowing Jason Puncheon the chance to get to the ball first and poke the ball past Kris Kirkland in the Leicester goal. Somebody should have perhaps reminded them that gifts were handed out some three days before.

Eriksson’s side found it extremely difficult to break down a solid Millwall outfit after the second goal, and didn’t even register their next attempt on goal until five minutes before the break.

A useful passing move from the visitors eventually saw the ball drop at the feet of right-back Kyle Naughton, but his volley from range sailed wide of the post.

Paul Gallagher was left similarly frustrated just moments later when his effort from distance rose high over the crossbar to see City trailing by two at half-time.

Half-time: Millwall 2-0 Leicester

Foxes chief Eriksson made two changes at the break, Chris Weale and Darius Vassell replacing Kris Kirkland and the hapless Roman Bednar, whose first-half performance left much to be desired.

With the words of Eriksson ringing in their ears, it was Leicester who sprang out of the traps after the re-start. And they should have pulled one back just a minute into the half when Lloyd Dyer spurned a glorious opportunity which was tipped wide by Forde. Too add insult to injury, a goal-kick was given.

Millwall were then reduced to ten men in the 54th-minute when full-back Alan Dunne was shown his marching orders for an over-zealous challenge on City midfielder Richie Wellens.

Wellens was replaced ten minutes later by striker Steve Howard.

Leicester found themselves with most of the ball after the red card, but it was Millwall who continued to create the better chances by hitting City on the break.

Substitute Danny Schofield almost made an immediate impact, slipping the ball to Steve Morison on the wing, whose first-time cross only just evaded the oncoming Puncheon.

Leicester were almost handed a gift themselves on 75 minutes when Darren Ward’s poor back-pass was intercepted by Howard, who contrived to fire wide on the angle.

The Foxes frantically searched for a winner, but ultimately proved little match for Millwall’s superb defensive unit. Tony Craig was on hand to head away a Matt Oakley pile-driver, epitomising the centre-back’s display for the whole match.

Elsewhere drafted midfielder Tamika Mkandawire did a fine job of nullifying the attacking threat of Andy King in the middle of the park, handing the young midfielder nothing all game.

The defeat leaves Leicester in 17th place, still only five points off the play-offs, but with matches played over most sides in the league.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Barron, Abdou, Ward, Craig, Puncheon (Hackett, 89), Mkandawire, Trotter, Morison, Henry (Schofield, 60).

Subs not used: Mildenhall, Lisbie, Smith, Marquis, McQuoid.

Leicester: Kirkland (Weale 45), Naughton, Morrison, Hobbs, Cunningham, Wellens (Howard 61), Oakley (c), King, Gallagher, Dyer, Bednar (Vassell 45).

Subs not used: Waghorn, Berner, Abe, Moussa.