Fryatt On Target In Well Earned Point

Sunderland 1 Leicester City 1 

To most City fans the trip to Wearside had not come at an ideal time. The fortunes of both clubs had changed in the last week with Leicester’s 4 match unbeaten run coming to an end with defeats at WBA and against Hull, whereas Sunderland have recovered dramatically from their disastrous pre-‘Keano’ start, winning their last three. 

In fact this fresh wave of optimism brought by the arrival of the former Manchester United legend, plus several deadline day signings was evident on the faces of the home fans walking to the mightily impressive Stadium of Light.  

The away fans in contrast were slightly more subdued. Having fired blanks in 5 of our 7 league games this season, and our only goal away from home being last weeks ‘own’ effort by Darren Kenton, 0-0 seemed to be a popular opinion of our best hope. 

Rob Kelly made two changes from Tuesday night’s defeat, with O’Grady and Wesolowski coming in for Hume and Low. Sunderland’s only change from their 3-0 win at Leeds was Chris Brown replacing the injured Connolly. 

After the blaring 'Dance Of The Knights' from Prokofiev's 'Romeo & Juliet' had died down, City started brightly, winning a couple of corners and Wesolowski firing wide from 25 yards. However it was not long before the Black Cats came into the game. Ross Wallace and Kenton started a good battle that would last all game and on 10 minutes the Scottish winger won a free kick. The cross was met by Brown but his header went just wide of the right hand upright….

On 15 minutes Sunderland were forced to make a change. Daryl Murphy, injured challenging for a high ball, was replaced by Dwight Yorke, the Trinidad and Tobago star making his Sunderland debut. The home side were now enjoying their best spell. Henderson saved a volley from Varga whilst the impressive Wallace produced a good run and low cross but there was no one to convert the chance. 

The rest of the half though was Leicester’s, the Foxes playing some of their best football of the season. Good link up play on 27 minutes from Kenton, Fryatt and Hughes led to a chance for Levi Porter but his volley was blocked for a corner. A couple of good runs from O’Grady also caused the home side problems, although both times his low crosses were cut out before they could meet their intended targets. 

Fryatt picked up the games only yellow card five minutes before half time, for not retreating at a free kick. Kavanagh’s effort took a deflection, taking the pace off the shot and making it easy for Henderson to gather. 

The half time whistle came soon, and although Leicester had yet to have a scoring opportunity, their battling qualities, and dominance in midfield meant that players and fans alike were more than satisfied from the first 45 minutes showing. 

City picked up from where they left off and within two minutes of the restart they were ahead. Picking the ball up just inside his own half, Johnson advanced about 20 yards before picking out Fryatt on the edge the penalty area. The striker cleverly turned an oncoming defender before curling a low right footed shot past Alnwick’s left hand into the corner. 1-0 and cue ‘Keano, what’s the score?’ from the delighted away contingent. 

The home fans appeared stunned and it was Leicester that continued to dominate the proceedings. McCarthy nearly made it 2-0 from a Porter corner, and O’Grady shot on the turn into the side netting. With Johnson playing his best game for the club and Wesolowski playing like a seasoned pro, Keane was the manager in need of making some changes.  

The 65th minute substitution bringing off Liam Miller for Tobias Hysen provided instant results. Just a minute after coming on, Hysen, son of former Liverpool defender Glenn, picked the ball up wide on the right before cutting inside. Allowed to advance he let fly from 25 yards, and despite Kenton’s late lunge it left Henderson with no chance. 1-1 and the majority of the 35,104 attendance could sense a victory that looked unlikely just five minutes previous. 

It was to be though a relatively quiet last 20 minutes on the pitch with the home sides play not matching their vociferous support. A shout for a penalty was waved away after Johansson’s challenge on Brown, and Henderson made a couple of easy saves from free kicks. 

Both sides had half chances to win it near the death. A free kick given away by McCarthy was headed just over the bar with Henderson beaten, and Fryatt could have won it in injury time had his control not as been as heavy as it was, allowing a defender to cover and prevent a one-on-one with Alnwick. 

After 4 minutes injury time the referee signalled the end of what had been a good showing by Leicester, and one which gives encouragement to the team and fans alike that if they battle like they did today, as well as play some nice patient football, then the Foxes should slowly rise up the table. 

How they do though will depend on the two star performances of the day. Fryatt’s first goal of the season will hopefully act as a catalyst to the form he showed last year, and Wesolowski showed why the youngster has already been coveted by the Australian national team with a performance beyond his years. 

Star Man – Weslowski (picture courtesy of Raymonds/

PLAYER RATINGS (out of 10)

HENDERSON – 7 – Looked solid in everything he did. Relationship with back four improving every game.

KENTON – 8 – Tough battle with Wallace but more often than not held the upper hand.

JOHANNSON – 7 – Quiet game, kept things simple. Sunderland never really threatened down his wing.

KISNORBO – 7 – Made some good blocks and his partnership with McCarthy is crucial to Leicester’s success

McCARTHY – 7 – Another solid performance. Important player in set pieces at both ends of the pitch.

HUGHES – 5 – Another performance where his involvement was too sporadic.PORTER – 7 – Some useful runs and crosses, although at 5’4” he does tend to get pushed off the ball easily.

JOHNSON – 8 – Best game in a Foxes shirt. Set up the goal, and worked well in disrupting Sunderland’s flow

WESOLOWSKI – 9 STAR MAN – A quality product of our youth system. Won the battle against the experienced Kavanagh. Hopefully will remain injury free in the foreseeable future.

FRYATT – 8 – The service to him was much better than in previous games. Made some clever runs and took his goal excellently.

O’GRADY – 7 – Can drift in and out of the game, but when he has the ball he is a real handful.

Sunderland: Alnwick, Neill Collins (Leadbitter 55), Cunningham, Varga, Robbie Elliott, Liam Miller (Hysen 65), Whitehead, Kavanagh, Wallace, Brown, Murphy (Yorke 15). Subs Not Used: Ward, Danny Collins.

Leicester: Henderson, Kenton, Kisnorbo, McCarthy, Johansson, Wesolowski, Johnson, Hughes, Porter, Fryatt, O'Grady. Subs Not Used: Logan, Maybury, Hume, Tiatto, McAuley.

Att: 35,104 Ref: M Pike (Cumbria).

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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