Burnley 0 Leicester 2 match report: Leaders strengthen title charge as win over second-placed Clarets opens six-point gap
David Nugent and Chris Wood strike either side of half-time to edge Foxes closer to promotion but Sam Vokes injury will have Leicester concerned
Saturday 29 March 2014
Leaders Leicester inched closer to both the Sky Bet Championship title and a place in the Barclays Premier League next year as they defeated Burnley 2-0 to open up a six-point gap at the top.
The Clarets had not lost at home in the league in over a year yet they were soundly beaten by the table-topping Foxes, who struck in both halves through David Nugent and Chris Wood.
The former used to play for Burnley but is remembered more for being their nemesis and he scored his ninth goal against them 10 minutes before the break.
First-half substitute Wood was the provider for that strike less than a minute after coming on the field and he lashed in a second-half half volley to give Leicester a comfortable advantage over third-placed QPR.
The Clarets have reached the upper echelons with a thin squad yet, already missing a trio of key performers here, they worryingly lost another two players to injury with Sam Vokes being forced off within eight minutes.
That will cause concern among their fans, as would a QPR win over Blackpool this afternoon which would see them move seven points behind with seven games remaining.
Burnley came into a clash between the Championship's two heavyweights without arguably their three best players this season with Kieran Trippier, Dean Marney and the division's player of the year Danny Ings all out.
They suffered a further blow when Vokes, with 21 goals to his credit, went down injured inside four minutes.
The Welsh international, along with Ings and Trippier voted in the Championship's top 10 players of the season, caught his studs in the turf and immediately went to the ground on the touchline clutching his left knee.
It soon back apparent the problem would end his afternoon and boss Sean Dyche was forced into a personnel and formation change with substitute David Edgar coming in to a five-man midfield.
It was therefore unsurprising that the hosts took some time to settle and provide necessary support to striker Ashley Barnes.
However, the Championship's top scorers were not at the races either, yet they almost profited from Clarets captain Jason Shackell's error on the halfway line. He lost out to Anthony Knockaert, who released Jamie Vardy but Shackell got back and, with his arm clearly holding the Leicester striker back inside the area, the attack fizzled out.
Vardy would be withdrawn for Wood and, less than a minute later, the New Zealand international created the opener.
After breaking behind the Burnley defence he turned back and found Nugent in support, where the ex-Clarets striker shuffled the ball on to his left foot and bent a glorious finish into the bottom corner.
It meant the hosts, now without the duo who had scored 46 goals between them in all competitions, needed to score three to replace the Foxes at the summit.
They were at least stirred into life, Wes Morgan's last-ditch intervention stopping Barnes, Ritchie De Laet nodding away Chris Baird's deep cross and Kasper Schmeichel repelling Michael Kightly's centre.
The hosts felt they should have had a penalty amongst that with both Jeff Schlupp and Matty James appearing to handle in the box, although referee Chris Foy awarded a free-kick for a push on the latter.
The second period began at a frenetic pace with Knockaert lashing a 25-yard try against the crossbar before Scott Arfield smashed a shot against Schmeichel after Morgan had slipped.
But an injury would force Dyche into yet another change after the hour - Ross Wallace replacing Junior Stanislas, who also appeared to injure his left knee.
Schlupp had multiple options after a buccaneering dart down the left but picked out a claret shirt while Kightly drew Schmeichel into a smart stop.
With 12 minutes to go, though, Wood put the result beyond doubt. He chased down a long punt and nudged Michael Duff out of the way before blasting over Tom Heaton and into the net.
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