The good, the bad and the ugly

Brighton 1  City 1

Report by Kate Thompson

It is an over-used cliché, but this really was a game of two halves.  Several Leicester fans were badly delayed by an accident on the M1 and many (including my sister and friends) only got to the ground in time for the second half.  Had they known, they may not have been upset at missing the horror show that was the first half and which went from bad to worse.

The line-up seemed rather strange, although no-one could object to the inclusion of Iborra; Ndidi has not been his usually dominant self for a few matches now.  Okazaki up front was bizarre and although he worked as hard as ever, made little impact despite a rather soft penalty claim in the third minute. 

Sadly, Iborra’s cameo led ultimately to the Brighton goal as he lost the ball in the final third, not for the first time.  This came in the 11th minute and Brighton were ahead three minutes later when Murray (who else?) seemed to have acres of space to score with a header.

Maddison (who also has not been at his best in recent games) gave away a silly foul in the 25th minute, clipping the heels of one-time City favourite Knockaert in an area where he could not have much of an impact on the game.  Maddison did not learn from others’ mistakes when on a yellow card, and went down in the box in the 28th minute when there was minimal contact. 

As it was at the far end from the City supporters, it was not clear if it was a dive or not but the man who mattered – the referee – clearly thought it was and the inevitable second yellow meant that Leicester had to play the rest of the game with ten players.  Fortunately, Brighton did not press home their advantage and were made to pay for it.  Maddison later admitted that he had dived and that he would learn from his mistake.

Iborra was injured in the 32nd minute and was replaced by Ndidi, who seemed back to his best – perhaps being dropped was the spur he needed!  For the rest of the first half it was damage limitation and the section of City fans calling for Puel’s sacking were in full voice.

For once, Puel’s second and third substitutions were inspired – Vardy in the 55th minute and Iheanacho in the 70th.  Vardy was putting himself about in a way we haven’t seen for a while and clearly unsettled the Brighton players and their fans, who anticipated what was to come. 

In the 79th minute Iheanacho was tripped in the penalty area and Vardy despatched the penalty with power and accuracy (Mahrez take note!).  After this, there were few chances for either side although Iheanacho could have scored at the death with a shot that only just went wide.

It is difficult to know what the future holds.  Being charitable, perhaps the players are still adapting to the chairman’s death and their heads are still not right, but they cannot go on with starting so sluggishly and playing catch-up.  They are still in tenth place in the table, but a few more displays like the first half and we will be worrying about relegation again.

LEICESTER: Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Evans, Chilwell; Albrighton, Iborra (Ndidi 32), Mendy, Gray (Vardy 55); Maddison; Okazaki (Iheanacho 70). Subs: Ward, Simpson, Soyuncu, Fuchs.

BRIGHTON: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo; Knockaert (March 72), Propper, Kayal, Izquierdo; Gross; Murray (Locadia 90). Subs: Steele, Bong, Bissouma, Balogun.

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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LCFC DSA Quiz Night

The Leicester City Football Club Disability Support Association are holding a quiz night on Tuesday 11th Dec at the Blues Bar from 6,45pm for until about 9.30pm

The DSA invite fellow City fans to form team(s) with a max of 8 people per team

The evening costs £8 per adult and £4 per under 16 to include quiz, a hot meal and mince pies. LCFC vouchers for winning teams, while a raffle drawn on the night will include a signed shirt along with other prizes.

Fully accessible venue. monies payable on night, however to aid planning if you want to enter a team, contact Sandra Fixter (Chair LCFC DSA) sandralfixter@gmail.com

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TIME TO SAY GOODBYE

LEICESTER CITY 0 BURNLEY 0

Report by Paul Weston

I was asked to write this report for the Trust about four weeks ago. I now find myself almost lost for words after the devastating event on 27 October which has shaken our Club and the local community to the core and reverberated throughout the whole football world. So many words have been written by respected journalists over the past two weeks. I cannot compete with that but I will try and describe in my own words my thoughts and how the match day unfolded against Burnley on 10 November.

It was an early start from Suffolk to make sure that I got to Leicester in good time to meet my niece and husband who were travelling from Essex. Her banner is in the picture below (and lovingly made by my sister!).

It is a journey that I have driven so many times before and, as I drove to Leicester, my mind wandered thorough all the good times, and bad, that I had experienced in supporting Leicester City over the years. It has been a roller coaster ride culminating in winning the Premiership title which was beyond our wildest dreams. However, none of the bad times could compete with the death of our chairman and his four companions at our stadium in such awful circumstances. I never had the pleasure of meeting Khun Vichai, yet why have I been trying to come to terms with how devastated I feel for his son Top and his family? It seems so unfair and tragic that our chairman helped to make our dreams come true and yet died at the very heart of our Club.

King Power shirts were everywhere in the town centre and, by the time we had arrived at Jubilee Square, the crowd had certainly surpassed by miles the original 5,000 target. The atmosphere was one of celebration and certainly not of memorial. The crowd grew and grew with club shirts from different teams on view, evidence of the support that we have received from the wider football family. Rain drops started to fall as the walk to the stadium gradually proceeded, with Maguire and Maddison in evidence, both who could not start the match through injury.

The downpour did not dampen the spirits of the fans as they got closer to the stadium through the town. Onlookers filmed the massive crowd, people hung from balconies taking photographs. Car horns peeped through the town’s underpass.

As we approached the stadium the clouds parted and the sun shone from a blue sky. It seemed fitting. We went to our bricks on the Kop side, as we frequently do, to give them a lucky rub before the match. How many supporters also have similar stupid superstitions?

I must admit that I could not bear to go any nearer to the crash site. I could visualise what had happened all too well and so went into the stadium concourse early for the pre-match events which were extremely impressive. Alan Birchenall spoke well and from the heart. It was touching that so much of the short film about our beloved Chairman featured his connection with people, both young and old. Tears flowed. So many could learn from his humility and how wealth can lead to countless acts of kindness instead of greed.

The two minutes silence was observed wonderfully well by everyone present. The special scarves formed a sea of white. When Mike Dean blew his whistle, it felt like all the pent-up emotion was released and a massive roar energised the team into one of the best starts to a match we have witnessed this season.

City created many chances and should have been 3-0 up by half time. N’Didi’s shot was just wide, Vardy’s shot was blocked on the line, Ghezzal’s header hit the woodwork and Gray’s shot saved by Hart. Slick passing was evident, and the team was amazingly full of energy, or was it adrenaline after a turbulent two weeks? Burnley looked very ordinary and seemed content to slow the game down at every opportunity.

After an interval during which we honoured members of the forces in our normal manner the second half progressed but never hit the heights of the first half. City players tried their utmost to get a goal their efforts deserved and the crowd willed the ball to cross the line. On sixty minutes the crowd burst into applause for its chairman just as Vardy burst through on goal. How fitting that a goal could have been scored then, but it was just not to be.

Puel surprisingly pulled Albrighton off and brought Iheanacho on. Suffice to say in 30 minutes he had an absolute stinker and unfortunately during this period Burnley grew stronger as City players wilted. Chris Wood could easily have scored from Burnley in this period. If only Okazaki had come on earlier than six minutes from the end of the match as he clearly had the ability to join up play and could control the ball – something beyond the skills of Iheanacho.

As the match ended 0-0 the team and back room staff gathered together and then were joined by Top, his brother, Claudio Ranieri, Nigel Pearson, Craig Shakespeare and Steve Walsh. They applauded the fans around all sides of the stadium and then Top bowed to us all from the centre spot. It was such a poignant moment and our hearts went out to the small man in the middle who has lost his father, yet on whom our Club’s hopes for the future depend.

We have been blessed when Khun Vichai bought this club. Thank you with all our hearts.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira, Morgan, Evans, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Ghezzal, Gray, Albrighton, Vardy. Subs: Simpson, Soyuncu, Iheanacho, Ward, Okazaki, Iborra, Fuchs.

Burnley: Hart, Lowton, Long, Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Defour, Cork, Lennon, Vokes, Wood. Subs: Heaton, Barnes, Brady, Hendrick, Westwood, Bardsley, Vydra.

Referee: Mike Dean.

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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GRAY GRABS VICTORY FOR VICHAI AND CITY

Cardiff 0 City 1

With the recent events, the results and therefore match reports of games became secondary to supporting our players. LCFC staff and owners as they grieved the loss of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, however with our first home game since the tragic crash played, we are now publishing match reports for both games played since. Our match reporters of course reflect on the mood of the day as much as the events on the pitch

Match Report by Colin Hall

After one of the most difficult and harrowing weeks in the club's history, a 55th minute strike by Demarai Gray was sufficient to earn victory for Leicester City over hosts Cardiff.

As the club and much of its fanbase remained in mourning over the loss of five people, including chairman/owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Claude Puel's side displayed considerable levels of character and resilience, particularly when talismanic defender Harry Maguire was forced out of the game with a knee injury before the half-hour mark.

Although the clash, between a home team embroiled in a relegation battle likely to last much of the season and a visiting side enduring an indifferent run of form, was far from a footballing classic, the scenes witnessed both before and after the game will live long in the memories of those of us fortunate to be present.

Even the act of securing entrance to the Cardiff City Stadium proved eventful, with a combination of inadequate turnstiles and eccentric stewarding delaying admission for many Foxes for up to half an hour.

However, once inside, the host club made amends of sorts by offering fans free food and drinks packs. With Leicester staff also handing out free T-shirts commemorating Vichai, chaos reigned in the visitors' concourse for a while before order was eventually restored.

No sooner had we finally managed to take our seats than Cardiff fans were joining us in paying respect to Vichai, unfurling Thai flags, laying a wreath and immaculately observing a minute's silence. These actions, together with those seen at other grounds, along with the many tributes left by fans of other clubs outside the King Power Stadium, illustrate the respect and admiration held for him throughout the game.

When the game finally commenced, the Foxes, wearing the grey and orange away kit for the first time in the Premier League, looked understandably subdued. Nevertheless, the defence held firm during the opening period, with Kasper Schmeichel's goal only being seriously threatened on two occasions.

The first of these saw Paterson burst clear on goal, only for to be denied by a spectacular recovery tackle by Maguire. This was the incident that caused the game-ending injury to the visiting defender, which proved sufficiently serious to rule him out for several weeks – a blow for England as well as the Foxes.

Cardiff's next chance arose when Wilfred Ndidi conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area to allow Gray, who had lain prostrate for some time with an injury, to receive treatment. Camarasa's subsequent effort cleared the Leicester wall and struck the crossbar, though Schmeichel may have had the shot covered had its flight been a fraction lower.

The hosts were as physically competitive as to be expected from a side managed by Neil Warnock, but this was an occasion when the Foxes refused to be bullied, and instead set about making their superior quality tell. Indeed, the visitors started to create clear chances of their own, though for various reasons were not able to convert any of them before the interval.

Ten minutes into the second half, the breakthrough finally arrived, when a fine passing move on the left involving Marc Albrighton and Ben Chilwell saw the latter cross for Gray to fire home from close range.

While the players celebrated ecstatically in front of the travelling contingent, the winger peeled off his shirt to reveal a T-shirt underneath bearing the message “For Khun Vichai”. This caught the referee's attention and earned Gray the most contentious of bookings.

Although he was technically in breach of the law, this was a time where the official might have reasonably claimed not to see the incident. After all, it was an excuse referee Probert deployed throughout the afternoon, most notably when former Fox Sol Bamba used an arm late in the first half to block a goalbound attempt by Jamie Vardy. In addition a succession of foul throws by home midfielder Gunnarsson also went unpunished. Suffice to say, the sooner VAR is introduced to this league, the better.

Nevertheless, the Foxes successfully dealt with everything that both opponents and officials could throw at them, and the sight of thousands of home fans leaving the stadium leaving the ground well before the end told its own story.

Once the final whistle sounded, the entire playing squad – including players not involved in the match – gathered in front of the Blue Army to thank us for our support and pay further homage to our departed owner. The fans responded with chants in honour of Vichai and various individuals – as well as in support of Puel, whose composure and dignity in recent days has seen his stock rise sharply among the Foxes fanbase. Could this be a turning point in his tenure at the club?

Despite our immeasurable loss, this occasion saw a rekindling of the spirit among players and fans alike which proved such a key factor in propelling us to the Premier League title and sustaining us during our exploits in the Champions League.

If this spirit can be maintained during the coming weeks and months, it is not inconceivable that further glories may yet lie ahead for us. 

Cardiff (4-4-1-1): Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Camarasa, Gunnarsson, Arter (Ward 79), Murphy, (Madine 85); Reid (Hoilett 65); Paterson.Subs not used: Smithies, Cunningham, Damour, Harris.

Booked: Arter, Hoilett.

Leicester (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Ricardo, Morgan, Maguire (Evans 27), Chilwell; Mendy, Ndidi; Albrighton, Maddison (Iborra 82), Gray (Simpson 70); Vardy. Subs not used: Iheanacho,Ward, Diabaté, Fuchs.

Goal: Gray (55)

Booked: Ndidi, Gray.

Referee: Lee Probert.               Attendance: 30,877.

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Fans Groups Lay Wreaths For Vichai

Prior to the game today LCFC Supporters Club, Union FS,  Foxes Pride, Disabled Supporters Association and the Foxes Trust joined together to lay a Fans Group wreath in memory of Vichai

We were joined by Burnley Fans Groups which includes Accrington Clarets, Boundary Clarets, Burnley Football Supporters Club, Central Lancs Clarets, Colne Clarets. Disabled Supporters Group

Earby Clarets, London Clarets, North Manchester Clarets, Rossendale Clarets,  South West Clarets,  Skipton Clarets and West Yorkshire Clarets