Football: Heskey hits back

Click to follow
Coventry City 1

Huckerby 78

Leicester City 1

Heskey 89

Half-time: 0-0 Attendance: 19,894

TYPICALLY, LEICESTER refused to concede what would have been their third consecutive defeat even after a seemingly harsh sending-off left them to play for most of the second half with 10 men.

Martin O'Neill's side lost Frank Sinclair after 48 minutes when a foul on Steve Froggatt, somewhat dramatised by the Coventry winger, was deemed worthy of a second yellow card following a first-half caution for pulling back Darren Huckerby.

The incident changed the balance of what had been a fairly even, if rather scrappy contest, and Coventry's pressing of the Leicester goal eventually brought a 78th-minute pay-off when Huckerby stooped between two defenders to head the ball past Kasey Keller after Trond Soltvedt had helped on Marc Edworthy's cross.

It was tough on Leicester, who had defended with characteristic resilience in the preceding minutes. Steve Walsh, the veteran centre-back, defied his years by catching Huckerby in full flight to foil one attack, and then Keller saved at point-blank range, again thwarting Huckerby, although Gary McAllister should have scored with a follow-up header.

Leicester's response was not to give up, but to throw everything into recovering the point they deserved. Their boldness was rewarded only two minutes from the end as the splendid Muzzy Izzet, who combined skill with work-rate to stand out in midfield, outjumped the goalkeeper Magnus Hedman to Neil Lennon's cross and made it possible for Emile Heskey to stab in the equaliser. It should be said that Heskey had battled through a first- half back injury that required several applications of pain-killing spray.

"They deserved something for the effort they had put in, not just today but in the last three games," a relieved O'Neill said, confirming he had asked referee Mike Riley to reconsider the dismissal of Sinclair, the first Leicester player to be shown a red card this season.

"Mike is one of the better referees but I thought he was a bit harsh on this occasion and he has said he will look at the incident again on video," O'Neill added. The Leeds official booked four other players in addition to Sinclair.