A return to form or another false dawn?

West Brom 1 Leicester 4

Report by Kate Thompson

I remember hearing a Leicester supporter on Radio 5 live many years ago, saying that all Leicester supporters had their optimism gene surgically removed at birth!  He wasn’t altogether wrong and supporting this team for so many years makes you wary of looking too far forward. 

I went to this game fearing the worst and this was not dissipated by the indifferent start.  Claude Puel made five changes, two of which I was unconvinced by.  Ben Chilwell is great going forward but surely his first job is as a left back and I’m afraid he was at fault for West Brom’s goal.  In my opinion, Fuchs is a safer bet. 

Gray is undoubtedly talented but he needs to learn that it is a team game and the best option is rarely to have a shot himself unless he is confident that he can score. Simpson was no surprise, likewise Okazaki, and I was pleased to see Iborra come back into the team.  However, I was also pleased last week that Silva played, but sadly he had an indifferent game and was not even in the squad for this game.

When Rondon scored in the 7th minute my heart sank, but this time the outcome was very different.  Having said that, had Schmeichel not acrobatically tipped a goal-bound shot onto the bar before we equalised, we might not have seen what turned out to be a comfortable win. 

The equaliser, described as a thing of beauty, was probably one of the best goals Vardy has scored; Mahrez put a peach of a long pass over his shoulder and without looking at the goal Vardy scored – with his left foot! – into the bottom right-hand corner. 

Like most Leicester fans I imagine, I needed to watch it later on television to appreciate what a remarkable goal it was.  On ‘Match of the day’ on Saturday evening Frank Lampard was eulogising about it and said it was one of the best goals he had ever seen.  And it was scored by little old Leicester!

We managed to go in at half-time without conceding but the second half was totally different.  In the 62nd minute Iheanacho put a delightful pass through to Mahrez who dinked the ball over Foster in the West Brom goal to put us in front. 

The West Brom players’ heads went down although I thought they tried to the end, and it was no surprise when Iheanacho scored himself in the 76th minute.  The rout was completed by Iborra scoring in added time. 

It was interesting that the last two goals were headers and it was refreshing to have two tall players who could make the most of the numerous crosses, especially from Albrighton (on as sub for Gray in the 67th minute).

OK, West Brom looked a beaten side long before the end, but how many times have we seen teams in a similar situation frustrate the Leicester players?  Most of them came out of the game with credit, although Okazaki had a disappointing return and it was no surprise when he was replaced by Iheanacho in the 60th minute.

The final substitution was Diabete for Mahrez in the 88th minute, perhaps because the latter had picked up a yellow card (as had Vardy and Ndidi).  My hope is that this display will give them confidence to win against our nemesis Chelsea next Sunday and progress to the semi final of the FA Cup.

Leicester:  Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan (c), Maguire, Chilwell, Iborra, Ndidi, Mahrez, Gray, Okazaki, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Dragović, Fuchs, James, Diabaté, Albrighton, Iheanacho

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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Going to West Brom ?

West Bromwich Albion  B71 4LF


The ground is located on the A41 (Birmingham-West Bromwich Road).

If approaching from outside the area the ground is about half a mile from Junction 1 of the M5. On leaving the M5 take the A41 towards Birmingham, the ground is on your right. Beware though of speed cameras on this stretch of the A41.

Street parking or alternatively there are a few private matchday car parks at some local industrial units near the ground, or at Hawthorns station which costs £4. Most of these can be reached by going down Halfords Lane beside the ground.

Approx 52 miles, 1 hour


The main pub for away fans is 'The Vine' which is about a 15-20 minute walk from the ground. From Junction 1 of the M5 turn left towards West Bromwich town centre (opposite direction to the ground). Take the first left into Roebuck Street. The Vine is down on the left. You can also street park in this area and then walk to the ground. This pub also offers Indian food and has an indoor tandoori barbeque (from 1pm on Saturdays), plus has a beer garden with children's play area.  

The Vine is only a few minutes walk away from Kenrick Park Metro station which can be accessed from Birmingham Snow Hill railway/metro station. Turn right out of the station and walk along Devereux Road passing through a residential area. At the end of Devereux Road turn left and the The Vine is just over the other side of the road on the right.

The Park Hotel which is just off junction one of the M5 and a 10 minute walk to the ground. You can park on their car park for £5 and away fans are always welcome. There are plenty of families who meet in here before games and it is a very safe environment. There is also plenty of street parking in and around the area of the hotel if you don't want to pay the £5. 

By Train

The closest railway station is The Hawthorns which is about five minutes walk from the ground. The Hawthorns is served by a Metro service from Birmingham Snow Hill station. The Metro service takes eight minutes to the Hawthorns from Birmingham Snow Hill and trains run every 15 minutes.

Train takes approx 1 hour to Birmingham Snow Hill, off peak day return £14-60 return to the Hawthorns


All information is provided in good faith but the Foxes Trust cannot be held responsible for any errors. Thanks to the Football Ground Guide

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Another point gained or another two lost? Faltering steps to “further sustainable success”

LCFC 1 v 1 Bournemouth

Report by Stuart Dawkins

So, yet another scrambled 1 -1 draw against opposition that Leicester would be expected to beat at home and the fifth successive league game without a win.  This is not the form of the team which the owners wish to pursue “further sustainable success” according to this week’s financial results announcement.

Puel does seem to favour changing the shape of his team to meet the specific needs of his opponents.  In this case, and with Simpson absent, he picked a host of midfielders – James, Silva, Ndidi, Albrighton and Mahrez and left Vardy more or less alone up front.  Amartey took over at right back, and Fuchs replaced Chilwell.  An early injury to Amartey meant that we never really got to judge whether that formation was the right one.

The first fifteen minutes was an oddly shapeless affair.  Mahrez had a one-on-one chance, but never looked to have the control to beat Begovic.  Both sides’ passing was inconsistent and little or nothing of real consequence occurred.  Probably the key moment in the match came in the eighteenth minute when Amartey – clutching his hamstring in an ominous way – was replaced by Chilwell.  This necessitated a switch to a back three, with Albrighton dropping back on the right and Chilwell playing wide on the left.  At least, I think that was the plan, as for the next half hour or so, Leicester looked to be confused by their own shape. 

It was a poor game, with too many mis-placed passes, and in the 33rd minute the second key moment occurred.  Bournemouth broke behind the City defence – not for the first time – Leicester survived a decent shout for a penalty before the ball broke to the edge of the box, Albrighton slid in and caught King before the ball to give away a very soft penalty.   Leicester’s attempts to persuade the referee that the ball was not correctly placed on the spot came to nothing, and King scored easily.

Whilst City created a few half-chances, they looked even more shapeless after conceding than they had done before, and Bournemouth’s defence rarely looked troubled before half time.

The second began with no changes to either team’s line-up.  Silva was booked for a sloppy trip; it was not one of his better days.  His pedigree shows what a talented player he is, but too often in his City career he has chosen the tricksy option and given away possession.  He was replaced by Iheanacho soon after, but not until Leicester had survived another decent penalty shout.

Leicester began to look more comfortable with two men playing in the forward role.  Almost immediately, Vardy got behind the defence whilst Iheanacho distracted the central defenders.  Vardy’s cut back to Chilwell produce a good shot which cannoned off a defensive head when it might well have found the net.

In a carbon copy of the previous match against Stoke, City were now creating chance after chance and corner after corner, but a combination of good blocks and good fortune meant that none of Maguire, Morgan nor Iheanacho could convert half-decent chances into goals.  With ten minutes to go, Puel (as last week) brought on an attacker for a defender – this time Diabaté for Fuchs.  The City pressure continued with three or four chances coming in one flurry before Bournemouth’s defence managed to get the ball clear.

Bournemouth – particularly ‘keeper Begovic – had wasted time throughout the second half, and four minutes’ additional time did not look generous.  As it was being signalled, James’ boot inadvertently caught defender Francis’ head, and further time ticked away.  The referee signalled to City’s complaining players that he would make allowance for the time taken by this injury, and Schmeichel’s 100-yard charge up the pitch to complain got a deserved yellow card.  The Dane’s commitment to the City cause is admirable, but his tendency to visibly lose his cool makes me wonder how long Puel will keep him as Vice-Captain when there are other, cooler, heads available.

The game looked to be over, but the referee was true to his word on timing, and more than four minutes additional time had been played when City’s tenacity earned a free kick thirty yards from goal.  It looked too far out for Mahrez to trouble the ‘keeper, but that did not stop the Algerian playing a curling shot inside the left-hand post to beat Begovic’s despairing dive and equalise.  Cue bedlam amongst the home supporters, and a pelting with snowballs for the away ‘keeper from fans behind his goal.

Many of the notional 31,384 crowd missed the goal as they had already left.  I say ‘notional’ as the arctic conditions had, perhaps understandably, led to many empty seats that would normally have been occupied by season ticket holders.

The City players left the pitch to chants of “Riyad, Riyad”, and the Algerian applauded all four corners of the ground.  He had played a decent game throughout and produced the moment of highest quality – not a bad day for him at all!

How to summarise this game, indeed this recent spell of games?  The team only seems to knuckle down when it is behind.  One can praise their grit in coming back from behind, but really it should not be necessary when playing at home against teams still battling against relegation.  I’m sure most City fans are desperate for the “sustainable success” this season to include further progress in the FA Cup and comfortably gaining the seventh-place spot and an outside chance of Europa Cup qualifiers next season.  To do that, they will have to play with intensity for the whole 90 minutes, not just the final 15.  Puel also needs to find a settled midfield who work well together and hope that at least one of his right backs remains fit!

Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, James, Ndidi’ Adrien Silva, Mahrez, Vardy, Albrighton.  Substitutes: Chilwell, Gray, Iheanacho, Hamer, Dragovic, Iborra, Diabaté

Bournemouth: Begovic, Francis, S Cook, Aké, A Smith, L Cook, Gosling, Daniels, King, Wilson, Stanislas. Substitutes: Boruc, Surman, Defoe, Fraser, Mousset, Simpson, Taylor

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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Shaqiri Shakes Schmeichel

Leicester City 1 Stoke City 1    – 24 February 2018

Report by Tish Krokosz

Rumour has it that City enjoy a bonding session during the week in which they all share plenty of KFC products and thrash out their problems in readiness for the weekend match. No doubt, last week’s chicken problems that affected this well-known culinary outfit also had an effect on City’s play against Stoke. Otherwise, how does one explain the unsatisfactory performance for most of the match. This was one description I heard at half-time; other words included poor, un-connected, second-rate, unconvincing and timid.

Yet, we started the game on the front foot with plenty of confidence, speed, skill and expectation. There were countless corners won, but, as most current fans are aware, these are a waste of time as we do not make the most of these opportunities. With a little luck and more accuracy City could have been two-nil up within ten minutes. For some reason we seemed to switch off after this initial onslaught and decided to pass the ball to the opposition rather than to ourselves. Are we too gentlemanly? It was almost as if the team felt sorry for Stoke for not having enough of the ball and kept passing it to them unnecessarily.

There was the potential there to absolutely hammer a poor Stoke side. Mahrez had plenty of opportunities to run rings round their defence who looked very ragged at the outset. He was on form and created chances for himself and for a forward line that was lacking in manpower. There were some delightful crosses but no-one with the height or power to take advantage of them.

It reminded me of the Morecambe and Wise sketch with Andre Previn in which Eric Morecambe was accused of not playing the music correctly. His answer was that he was playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order. City’s play was like this: sometimes great but there was no cohesion and players would not be aware of the next move or could not anticipate a pass that might come their way.

It is rare for City to have so much possession. They did not know how to utilise it. Too often our midfield would knock the ball back to the defence (purely to keep hold of it) rather than create something up front. Vardy playing a lonesome role is ineffective against a four man defence. High crosses are wasted if there is no Slimani or Ulloa to create an opening.

Stoke clearly came for a point and were prepared to fill the defence and midfield and hope for a break after a City mistake. This came just before half-time when Ndidi was robbed of the ball on the touchline by Allen, who was probably the most dominant player on the field. He quickly fed it to Shaqiri who had acres of space to move towards goal and thump a shot past the diving left hand of Schmeichel.

Who was to blame? Ndidi for dithering and not controlling the ball, albeit in a seemingly safe position? The defensive midfield for being absent and giving Shaqiri so much space? Schmeichel for not anticipating the shot earlier? Whatever the answer, the home fans were dissatisfied at half-time. City had the chances early on but did not take them. Our passing was poor and there was a lack of cohesion in the team.

There was hope that Puel would recognise some of these problems and would make some changes after the interval. Unfortunately, it was the same eleven that came out after the break. Yet it was clear that the City players were game to try and rectify the deficit. Two shots early in the second half were blocked by the opposition defence.

But the visitors were almost gifted a ludicrous second goal after 55 minutes. They sent a hopeful ball down the left wing and nobody seemed interested in chasing it. Schmeichel had all the time in the world to saunter out to the right of the penalty area and clear the ball upfield. For some reason he decided to kick it gently to the middle of the pitch where a Stoke player could easily take hold of it and pass it to Shaqiri. Our keeper was stranded out on the right and the Stoke forward had an open goal to aim for. Luckily for City his left-footed shot was rushed and curled away to the right of the post and City (and Schmeichel in particular) were spared any further blushes.

Five minutes later we were treated to the changes that should have occurred at half-time with Diabate replacing Gray and “Ian Nacho” coming on for Simpson. Suddenly, there was a lot more urgency in Leicester’s attitude and more effective attacking. The loss of Simpson at right back meant that Albrighton was asked to run up and down the right wing and it was from an overlap position, having picked up a neat through ball from Mahrez, that he was able to drill a low cross into the penalty area in the 70th minute. Vardy was running into the near-post position to clip it into the net but could not reach the ball. He did not have to – Butland very kindly turned it into his own goal and City were level.

From this point to the end of the match City were switched on again. The change was remarkable. Soon after the goal, further City pressure saw a brilliant save by Butland. Mahrez had picked up a loose ball outside the penalty area and fired in a tremendous shot on target. Butland dived to his right and saved one-handed pushing the ball with his right hand to safety. Vardy hit the ball back in and it was bobbling loose once again on the right of the area. Maguire picked it up and moved forward with it towards the goal. Despite the attention of the Stoke defence he unleashed a powerful shot that (television replays show) was finger-tipped away by Butland on to the post. The ball rebounded to safety and City were foiled again.

Yet this was still not the end of the excitement. Two minutes from full time, Adam, who had come on for Martins Indi fifteen minutes earlier, inexplicably headed an innocuous ball backwards into the path of Mahrez who had a clear run on goal. The crowd rose to their feet expecting to see a late winner, but a combination of keeper and defender managed to recover and block the shot on goal. The City crowd gave a combined sigh of despair. No doubt, the Stoke supporters gave a sigh of relief.

Was there time for any more action? Yes, there was. After a poor clearance by Stoke from yet another corner, Mahrez swung a cross from the left wing into the danger area within the box and James had a clear header which tantalisingly bounced against the far post. Two years ago, luck would have been on City’s side and the ball would have bobbled into the goal. On this occasion, it was a red and white striped shirt that reached the ball and kicked it to safety.

It was a frustrating game. City started well and finished well but for almost an hour in between they played in an incohesive way with no obvious direction and often facing the wrong goal. Once again, the team choice baffled a lot of fans. Why was Gray chosen in preference to Silva? Why has James been chosen ahead of Iborra? Nobody had a shocking game for City; yet no one stood out above anyone else. If Stoke had taken a 2-0 lead following Schmeichel’s kamikaze clearance it would have been terribly unfair as they were unworthy of all three points.

I am often critical of the referee. In this game, Oliver was probably too good. By that I mean he spotted many infringements correctly but by blowing the whistle every time, even for minor misdemeanours, it slowed the game down. My one major criticism, and many referees are guilty of this ploy, was that on the occasion of a Stoke player going down injured but not interfering with play, the game was stopped and, following treatment to him, City were ordered to kick the ball back to a Stoke player from the half-way line. At the point of the whistle being blown, City had possession of the ball, so why should it be given away?

Looking at the table, I notice that we have had 1-1 draws at home to the three teams in the relegation zone. City can do better than this and in each case should have done better. This represents six points thrown away. With them we would be on the tails of Arsenal. Instead, we are crawling towards safety.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Simpson (Iheanacho 62), Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, James, Ndidi, Albrighton, Gray (Diabate 61), Mahrez, Vardy. Subs not used: Jakupovic, Silva, Dragovic, Iborra, Fuchs.

Stoke City: Butland, Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi (Adam 74), Stafylidis, Alle, Cameron, Ndiaye, Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting (Johnson 84), Diouf (Campbell 64). Subs not used: Pieters, Jese, Sobhi, Grant

Referee: M. Oliver                       Attendance: 31,769

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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Report by Eddie Blount

City duly progressed to the quarter-finals of the F A Cup but a stubborn performance by the Championship side meant that in boxing parlance this match went the distance. Both sides were at less than full strength but City fielded the strongest side they have used in the competition this season, indicating that Puel regards this as a trophy worth winning. Given that it acts as a doorway to Europe most City fans would agree and an attendance of over 28000 confirms that.

At the start the main focus was on the return of the prodigal son. He was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos, the former seriously outnumbering the latter. His early touches were accompanied by rather isolated sounds of disapproval but these soon dissipated as Mahrez was involved in all the best things City did (and occasionally in some of the worst). It was as if he had never been away and when he was subbed just before the end he was given a standing ovation which he clearly and genuinely appreciated. Make no mistake we will miss him when he’s gone!

Sheffield set up with a bank of four behind a bank of five, often six, and played a high line in an attempt to compress the play into a patch of ground twenty yards either side of halfway. Thus it was difficult to find a way through the congestion and we saw City playing the ball about happily enough but making about as much progress as a set of First World War generals.

Sheffield to their credit ran, tackled and covered tirelessly and their well -organised ‘parked bus’ routine made for a game lacking in the excitement often associated with cup fixtures. Going forward they had little to offer, short on numbers and short on pace and short on ideas, so the City defence was rarely troubled.

This was no doubt ideal as a first runout for returning skipper, Wes Morgan who sauntered through the game without really breaking sweat. The Blades only had a couple of chances, one in each half. On the half-hour mark a cross from the right was headed by one City defender against another, the ball ricocheting fortuitously for Sheffield straight to Stevens whose effort was brilliantly blocked by Maguire when a goal seemed certain.

In the second half their only real chance came oddly when City were ahead and threatening to run up a score. A lovely first-time cross from the left was met first time by Baldock and from a distance it looked goal-bound, only for Schmeichel to save superbly, low to his left.

City on the other hand were continually threatening though rarely dangerously. The main threat came from the Mahrez-Vardy combination though Iheanacho put in a good shift a la Okazaki – without falling over as often. Vardy was slipped in twice in the first half, too wide the first time so the keeper, who played well, was able to block his cross-shot, but Vardy should have done better the second time when his effort met the same fate.

The second half was less evenly contested than the first with City dominant without the killer punch to finish the Blades off. The breakthrough came on 66 minutes when Mahrez received the ball widish right with two defenders in attendance. He went right and so did they. He turned back, they carried on, leaving him in space with the ball on his left foot. He promptly delivered a curving cross beyond the far post where the waiting Vardy was lurking unmarked. A clever, looping header back across the keeper found the far corner of the net, rather to the surprise of the fans who felt the angle was too narrow and expected the striker to head to a team-mate as did keeper Blackman.

For the next five minutes it was all City and we could have had a couple more at least. First Gray, again a mixture of the good and the less so, cut in from the left and delivered a fine shot only for Blackman to make an even better save, then Vardy netted from a Mahrez header across goal only for it to be ruled out for offside. Replays show that Mahrez was as level as makes no difference and the decision could easily have gone the other way. It would have been interesting to see what VAR made of it as it belonged to the same category as the Welsh non-try at Twickenham recently.

1-0 is never game over and thus we suffered the anguish of thinking that whilst never really being in the game United could get lucky at a set piece and force a replay. We should have more faith! One more win and we’re at Wembley.

City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez (James 90), Ndidi, Iborra, Gray, Iheanacho, Vardy (Albrighton 84)

Sheffield Utd: Blackman, Basham, Wright (Evans 76), O.Connell, Baldock, Lafferty, Carruthers (Duffy 76), Lundstram, Stevens, Wilson (Brooks 46), Donaldson

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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