Danns keeps Leicester looking up
Leicester City 2 Blackpool 0
King Power Stadium
Wednesday 30 November 2011
After all the lavish spending under Sven Goran Eriksson, it has taken the pragmatic Nigel Pearson's return to the managerial chair to lift Leicester City into the top six of the Championship – for the first time since he left for Hull City 18 months ago.
Andy King, who was part of the Wales squad under the late Gary Speed, set Leicester on their way in the first half, and the substitute Neil Danns confirmed Blackpool's first defeat in five matches in the closing minutes. Both goals were created by Lloyd Dyer, marginalised during Eriksson's tenure yet reinstated by Pearson.
Ian Holloway, back at the club he took down into the third tier four years ago, was rueful after a game in which his team started impressively. "It's another disappointing night for me at this ground," the Blackpool manager said, "and I've probably had too many of them. Goals change games. We forced one magnificent save from their goalkeeper before they scored with a toe-poke under our keeper. We huffed and puffed in the second half but gave them one on the break."
Holloway argued that Pearson – who succeeded him at Leicester, led them into the play-offs for a Premier League spot and has taken seven points from nine since returning – had "brought energy back to the place". He added: "How he ever left here in the first place, I'll never understand." Pearson, in turn, complimented Blackpool, describing them as "a very decent side who play with a shape that's very difficult to get on top of". Leicester's points-per-game ratio was lower than average, he noted, which meant they "knew they had to work hard – there's still an awful lot of points to play for".
The excellence of the goalkeepers kept the scoreline blank until 10 minutes before the break. Kasper Schmeichel kept out Gary Taylor-Fletcher's free header before Matt Gilks parried Jermaine Beckford's close-range volley. So it was surprising when Leicester carved through the heart of Holloway's defence, King taking Dyer's through-pass before slotting the ball under the onrushing Gilks.
Beckford was denied twice more by Gilks' agility. The second save, following the striker's rapid turn and shot after he picked up Jonjo Shelvey's back-pass, was of the highest class. The keeper could not prevent Danns doubling the lead with a low shot from 18 yards after Dyer pounced on a Blackpool mix-up.
Leicester City (4-4-2) Schmeichel; Peltier, Mills, Bamba, Konchesky; Gallagher (Danns, 67), King, Wellens, Dyer (Fernandes, 88); Beckford (S Howard, 67), Nugent. Substitutes not used Weale (gk), Abe.
Blackpool (4-3-3) Gilks; Eardley, Baptiste (Basham, 34), Evatt, Crainey; Shelvey, Ferguson, Sylvestre (McManaman, 57); M Phillips, LuaLua (K Phillips, 65), Taylor-Fletcher. Substitutes not used M Howard, Ince.
Referee G Scott (Oxon).
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