Football: Sent-off Speedie will miss final

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The Independent Online
Leicester City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Tranmere Rovers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

(Leicester win 2-1 on aggregate)

LEICESTER CITY reached a third consecutive Wembley play-off final by ending Tranmere's Premiership ambitions in a dramatic finish at Filbert Street last night, in which Eric Nixon, the Rovers' goalkeeper, and David Speedie, the Leicester substitute, were sent off for their contribution to a brawl after the home side had taken the lead four minutes from time.

Speedie was credited with the decisive goal, although it appeared that Tranmere defender Shaun Garnett may have hooked the ball over the line himself, under pressure from Speedie and Steve Walsh, after Mark Blake had swung in a free-kick.

After the disappointment they suffered in the Coca-Cola Cup semi-final, Tranmere were stunned to have the Wembley prize dashed away again and their frustrations boiled over in the ugly scene that developed in injury time. Keith Cooper, the referee, stood back to observe as almost every man on the field became involved and he then dismissed both Speedie and Nixon, the goalkeeper having knocked down Leicester's Simon Grayson after rushing 30 yards from his goal to join in the argument. Speedie will now be suspended for the final on 30 May.

Tranmere were the superior side technically last night, but there was much spirit and endeavour behind the more direct style of Leicester. Inspired by Julian Joachim's tireless running, they led in first-half injury time when Blake hit the post from 30 yards and Ian Ormondroyd stabbed home the rebound.

Tranmere's equaliser came within a minute of the second half, cleverly worked by Liam O'Brien and Ged Brannan on the right and finished off from close range by Pat Nevin.

Leicester City (5-2-3): Ward; Coatsworth, Willis, Grayson, Carey (Speedie, 65), Whitlow; Blake, Gibson; Joachim, Walsh (Thompson, 89), Ormondroyd. Substitute not used: Poole (gk).

Tranmere Rovers (4-4-2): Nixon; Thomas, McGreal, Garnett, Nolan; Morrissey, O'Brien, Brannan, Nevin (Jones, 90); Aldridge, Irons (Muir, 55). Substitute not used: Mungall.

Referee: K Cooper (Pontypridd).

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