Berner's blast sparks Leicester revenge mission

Leicester City 3 Nottingham Forest 0
Click to follow
The Independent Football

In-form Leicester enjoyed the taste of vengeance in a scoreline that increases the likelihood that these East Midlands adversaries will cross swords again in the Championship play-offs.

Nigel Pearson's team crashed 5-1 at the City Ground in December, when Forest were at the peak of their powers and shaping as candidates for a top-two finish. The tables were turned comprehensively here, however, as Forest suffered a fourth consecutive away defeat and Leicester completed an unbeaten February that yielded four wins and three draws.

The result keeps them in fifth place, cushioned by a six-point gap between themselves and seventh-placed Sheffield United that assumes greater significance as the end of the season draws closer.

Forest are seven points better off than Leicester but slip back into third place after West Bromwich Albion's win over Derby. More worryingly for manager Billy Davies, frustrated by Forest's failure to add to his squad in January, they have lost some of the energy that characterised their play up to a month ago. An extension to their season may feel like the last thing they need.

It was probably significant that all yesterday's goals came in the final quarter of the match as Forest began to look weary. Until that point, with Forest abandoning two wide men in favour of a system that countered Leicester's three-man central midfield, the sides had largely cancelled one another out. Chances were scarce, the closest to a goal a header from Rob Earnshaw that hit the bar.

Leicester had not asked many questions of Davies's solid back four but after Kelvin Wilson, the Forest centre-back, had needed lengthy treatment after a jarring tackle on Martyn Waghorn, chinks began to appear. Paul Gallagher spurned the first opportunity, lofting the ball over the bar after Matt Oakley had teed up a shooting chance, but the breakthrough was not long in coming.

Gallagher played the ball into the penalty area, James Perch repelled it but the danger was not cleared and when Richie Wellens hit the ball back into the six-yard box, Bruno Berner, the full back, lashed it into the net.

Forest appealed for a penalty with 12 minutes remaining, claiming that Berner used hands to block a Perch shot, and within two more minutes the contest was effectively over as Gallagher delivered a 20-yard free-kick that was too good for Lee Camp in the Forest goal.

A third Leicester goal, steered home by Andy King as Berner threaded a pass into the Forest box, made the scoreline that bit more satisfactory for Pearson, who spoke about "answering one or two critics" while declining to elaborate. Leicester are unbeaten in eight matches.

To add to Forest's worries, they collected five cautions. "We are in a very good position with 12 games left but we did not compete today and after we went behind Leicester deserved to go on and win," Davies said.

Comments