|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Andy King hands Leicester City deserved victory over West Ham United
Richard Rae at King Power Stadium
Published Saturday 4 April 2015 17.16 BST
At long, long last, a spirited Leicester City performance, one of so many this season, was rewarded with a win, reviving the Foxes’ fading hopes of avoiding relegation.
Barely five minutes remained of a flawed but frantically entertaining encounter when the substitute Andy King, a City stalwart if ever there was one, was in the right place at the right time to poke Jamie Vardy’s scuffed shot past the West Ham goalkeeper Adrián from inside the six yard box.
It was the latest in a remarkable series of chances created by both sides in the final quarter. Only a few minutes earlier the Hammers midfielder Cheikhou Kouyaté had rolled a shot against the inside of the City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s right-hand post when it looked easier to score.
On such fine margins do seasons, and indeed careers, rest, and though City are still bottom, with eight games remaining they are, for the time being at least, only four points off safety.
Their manager Nigel Pearson, whose side had taken an early lead through Esteban Cambiasso – the first time they had scored in the opening 15 minutes at home this season – and then seen Adrián save David Nugent’s penalty soon afterwards, was an understandably relieved man.
“I’m pleased for the players, they’ve deserved better results than we’ve had of late. Before today we were looking at a season of nine games, with six at home, and we knew we had to get a result.
“One or two moments didn’t go their way, and those are the fine lines I’ve been talking about this season. Missing the penalty, which came from an exceptional move, possibly affected our belief and confidence for 20 minutes, but the whole of the second half we were in the ascendancy. They had their moments but we really tried to force the game, and all three substitutes had a positive impact.”
His side bristled with positivity from the start, and they deserved to take the lead given them in the 12th minute by Cambiasso. The deflection off James Collins that lead to the ball sitting up nicely for the veteran midfielder may have been fortunate, but the volley steered past Adrián from around 20 yards oozed class.
It should have been two three minutes later, when Carl Jenkinson brought down Leo Ulloa with a crudely mistimed tackle inside the Hammers penalty area. Nugent stepped up but Adrián dived to his left to push the spot-kick away.
Gradually West Ham began to assert themselves and slightly after the half hour deservedly equalised. Jeff Schlupp, criminally, allowed Alex Song’s pass to drop over his head on the right of the City penalty area, and Kouyaté, coming in behind him, controlled and shot low and firmly beyond Schmeichel.
Pearson replaced the ineffectual Riyad Mahrez with Marc Albrighton at the break and once again City took the early initiative. Vardy flashed a header just the wrong side of the post and then, freed by Nugent in the West Ham penalty area, saw his technique let him down as he attempted to direct his shot inside Adrián’s right-hand post.
West Ham should have taken the lead when, with 20 minutes remaining, Song and Kouyaté combined for Kouyaté to roll a close-range shot against Schmeichel’s right-hand post. Instead it was Leicester who won the game, though not before Winston Reid and Aaron Cresswell had combined to clear Andrej Kramaric’s shot off the line. When King popped up, however, the Hammers defence was finally beaten.
“It was a really open game, and from a neutral point of view it must have been fantastic entertainment, but while it’s great to play open, attractive football, but we’re professionals and the bottom line is we didn’t get anything out of the game,” said the Hammers manager Sam Allardyce.