Beckford's cool aim brings down Di Canio
King Power Stadium
Sunday 29 January 2012
Paolo Di Canio kept his cool but so, with equal significance, did Jermaine Beckford as Leicester advanced to the FA Cup last 16 at the expense of a Swindon team who deserved at least a replay. The League One side, mirroring the inventive, attacking instincts of their Italian manager, tested the side from the Championship for long periods with football of no less quality than that which had brought about the downfall of Wigan, of the Premier League, in the third round.
Two cool finishes from Beckford, extending a remarkable record in the competition, won Leicester's passage. There might have been a different outcome, had the moment at which Di Canio had to suppress his natural volatility produced a stiffer response from the referee, Darren Drysdale. It came in the last seconds of the first half , with Swindon pushing forward as they had done since falling behind in the fourth minute. Leicester's Paul Konchesky brought down the midfielder Simon Ferry with a high and reckless challenge that could have inflicted serious injury.
Di Canio, who will launch an appeal tomorrow against his third touchline dismissal of the season, after being sent to the stands at Macclesfield a week ago, might easily have erupted as Drysdale produced only a yellow card. Instead he limited himself, sensibly, to a few words in the ear of the fourth official.
Calm afterwards, Di Canio nonetheless was adamant that the defender should have been sent off. "I don't blame Paul because he was a friend when I was at Charlton. But he went in with his leg straight and Simon has three or four swellings – it was clear it was a sending off."
Given the busy role Kasper Schmeichel had played in keeping Leicester level, not to mention a goal-line clearance by Sean St Ledger, it would not be unreasonable to suppose that against 10 men, Swindon could have earned the reward their football merited. As it was, Beckford struck again eight minutes into the second half and thereafter Di Canio's team were never serious contenders.
The FA Cup seems to bring out the best in Beckford. Famous for the goal for Leeds, then of League One, that knocked out Manchester United in the third round in 2010, Beckford's two goals yesterday followed a replay hat-trick against Nottingham Forest 12 days ago. His career tally in the competition stands at 14 goals from 16 appearances.
His first yesterday, swept home from close range after the centre-half Joe Devera's clearance had gone straight to Matt Mills, caught Swindon cold; the second came at the expense of the captain and right-back Paul Caddis, who blocked a Paul Gallacher cross but in doing so gave the ball directly to Beckford, who could not miss.
In between, Schmeichel had twice saved from the constantly dangerous Alan Connell, whose attempt to steer home a low cross from Alessandro Cibocchi was cleared off the line by St Ledger before Konchesky, in a more heroic moment, denied Matt Ritchie's follow-up. Di Canio was right to be proud of his team.
Leicester (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Peltier, Mills, St Ledger, Konchesky (Kennedy, 73); Gallagher, Danns, Wellens, Dyer; Beckford (Howard, 65), Nugent (Hopper, 81).
Swindon (4-4-2): Foderingham; Caddis, Devera, McCormack, Cibocchi; Ritchie, Ferry (Thompson, 81) Risser, De Vita (Gabilondo, 54); Connell (Murray, 60), Benson.
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Man of the match: Cibocchi (Swindon)
Match rating: 7/10
Leicester City 2 (Beckford, 2) Swindon Town 0
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