Wing Play The Route To Success?
CITY 3 IPSWICH 1
Match Report by Trust Member – Sarah MacLeod
On the way to a match it's safe to say that most fans feel two emotions, apprehension but also an inexplicable excitement of the kind that can only come in the opening few fixtures of the season. Driving to the game on Saturday the back window of the car in front of mine was like a shrine to Leicester City spin, with various stickers proclaiming ‘Keep The Faith’, ‘We’re In It Together’, ‘Premiership Foxes’ that must have been collected over the years and each applied with some sense of hope and pride in the team pre-season, only to have been made redundant by another year of under-achievement.
Despite the last few years there are still a large number of fans out that turn up each August hoping for a better season, each year their resolve seems to be increasingly tested and things were shaping up no differently this season with the loss of the first two fixtures and a place at the bottom of the table going into this clash with Ipswich. The good news was that they were in no better shape, also on zero points, but their record against Leicester is a good one and fans could be forgiven for feeling depressed about our chances pre-match.
The game started at a lively pace with Tiatto putting a shot wide in the opening seconds from a good position. Hughes then had one shot blocked in the area and another saved by the Supple before the game was even five minutes old. Kelly had made four changes to his starting line-up, only one enforced, and the width provided by summer signing Josh Low allowed City to be on the offensive from the start in a way they’d not managed in their previous games. Their first goal of the season seemed like it had been a long time coming, even though it only arrived in the eighth minute of the game. Tiatto swung in a free kick from the right which Kisnorbo headed into the net unopposed, then peeled off to celebrate in front of the stand that love chanting his name, L1.
Ipswich attempted to respond with a well taken free kick from Darren Currie, but luckily that smashed off the post and out for a goal kick, although Henderson seemed to have had it covered anyway. Fryatt, a player who has so far had a frustrating season, then had several chances on goal but was thwarted each time, the most painstaking of which being when the ball was crossed in front of the open net but Fryatt was too far away to tap it in.
It did not help him that the linesman seemed to have only the faintest understanding of the offside rule. Just before half-time Tiatto, who was possibly the player of the half for his unusually controlled display, was substituted with an injury. Levi Porter took his place for his first appearance in a competitive match for Leicester (although his name has been mentioned by those interested in the academy for several years). Unfortunately Levi didn’t get to touch the ball in the remaining couple of minutes of the half and had to wait until the restart to really start off his senior career.
The half-time ‘entertainment’ is hardly worth commenting on, so I won’t other than to say the most entertaining part of it was the ground staff trying to soak Alan Birchenall, although I’m not sure that was particularly wise considering he was carrying a live microphone. After these diversions the second half got underway, Porter getting his first touch of the ball when taking a corner. Magilton made his first substitution with Parkin coming on for Forster to change their attacking style.
It did not work though as in the 50th minute City grabbed their second goal. Low chased down a lost cause to the byline where he somehow managed to scoop the ball away from the line and hit it high into the area. Porter put off the Ipswich defender which allowed the ball to go through to Hughes on the edge of the area, he hit it through a sea of bodies in the box and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Then came a lull in the play with City giving up the constant pressure they’d exerted in the first half, seemingly content to stick at 2-0. Magilton, clearly not content, made a second substitution though, bringing on Billy Clarke for Alan Lee, clearly disenchanted with his starting forwards. In the next twenty minutes Fryatt headed wide, Hughes shot wildly over, Hammond failed to pick out the diminutive Porter and Gavin Williams sent a good shot at Henderson, who had to be alert to push it around the post for a corner, before the game took up any sort of tempo again.
The players were woken up again by some off the pitch trouble between Mike Stowell and the Ipswich bench. Low accidentally ran into Magilton, who was edging out of his technical area to scream instructions. Magilton took offence at this and tried to keep hold of the ball that Low had been chasing, Stowell stepped in shoving Magilton and any Ipswich coach that tried to get involved. With Kelly holding him back Stowell and Magilton had to endure a talking to from the referee before the game could be restarted again.
This drama was immediately followed by Fryatt first slipping at the vital moment rather than putting the ball into the net, and then having a goal ruled out for offside, much to the his dismay as he’d already started celebrating. Matt Richards then came on for Darren Currie and scored almost straight away.
Hughes, who had been having a great game up until that point, cleared the ball sloppily from inside the area and saw it fall to Richards. He struck it and by way of a wicked deflection wrong-footed Henderson and grabbed a goal to awaken hope in the Ipswich fans.
Kelly took this chance to make a change of his own, swapping Hammond for Hume up front. A game in which Leicester looked to be coasting became suddenly tense as fans remembered all the leads that had been thrown away in previous years. But the goal did not seem to make Ipswich play any better and it was City who were having all of the chances again soon enough. Porter was inches away from connecting with a Fryatt cross one minute and then having a shot blocked off the line by De Vos the next after being fed by Hume. He was then replaced by Wesolowski to a warm round of applause.
As the game went into the third minute of stoppage time whistles started to echo around the stadium from fans begging for the game to be over, but there was one last twist to be played out. On the break Fryatt fed Hume, who played the offside trap well and burst through the defence to score in his trademark style, lifting the ball over the ‘keeper and into the empty net. This was almost the last kick of the game as a few passes after the restart the referee blew his whistle for full time.
It was a team performance that the fans had been waiting for and they celebrated accordingly. While you would have been hard pressed to find a man of the match in either of the previous two games there was finally cause for good-natured post-match arguments again as Tiatto, Kisnorbo, Hughes and Low could all be considered for the position.
Using wingers proved popular, and effective enough to be continued throughout the season, however there is now a selection dilemma for Kelly who must choose between not changing a winning line-up and putting in the striker that scored the last goal (especially as his ill fortune beforehand may have been caused by the lack of service in the old system). Porter had a promising debut, although he did not put a cross in his all-round play was good and he took a few good corners.
The return of Wesolowski, however brief, must also be seen as a plus.
So with points and goals finally on the board it seems as if the hope that the supporters travelled to the match with was gratified. However it can feel worse when the team gives you hope and then takes it away again. One minute you dream of top six then get thrashed at home and start dreaming of fourth from bottom, Rob Kelly said after the match that he couldn’t get carried away with one win and that is of course the correct thing to say as a manager, and the sensible thing would be for us all to adjust our feelings accordingly, but as a fan wouldn’t it be nice just once for the post-match optimism after a win to be justified over the season.
Leicester – Paul Henderson, Darren Kenton, Patrick McCarthy, Patrick Kisnorbo, Nils-Eric Johansson, Josh Low, Andy Johnson, Stephen Hughes, Danny Tiatto (Levi Porter 45 (James Wesolowski 90)), Elvis Hammond (Iain Hume 85), Matty Fryatt – Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Richard Stearman
Ipswich – Shane Supple, Castro Sito, Jason De Vos, Richard Naylor, Dan Harding, Darren Currie (Matt Richards 79), Alex Bruce, Gavin Williams, Nick Forster (Sam Parkin 45), Alan Lee (Billy Clarke 58), Dean Bowditch – Unused Subs: Lewis Price, Fabien Wilnis
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