David Nugent's finishing instinct keeps Leicester on the up
Leicester City 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Leicester City consolidated their place in the Championship's top two with a fifth straight win to maintain their 100 per cent record in 2013 at the expense of a Wolverhampton Wanderers side still looking for a first win under their new manager, Dean Saunders.
Wolves showed quality going forward, with their impressive former Saint-Etienne winger Bakary Sako scoring a spectacular goal, but could not repel two individual efforts from Anthony Knockaert and David Nugent, whose 73rd-minute winner was his 14th goal of the season.
It left Wolves without a win in eight matches, although Saunders believes they are good enough to avoid a relegation fight. "We missed chances and were done by two counter-attacks when we lacked a bit of belief defensively," he said. "But if we play to that level we will be fine."
The Leicester manager, Nigel Pearson, was delighted with the win. "I will be the first to admit we have played better," Pearson said. "But credit to Wolves, who played with a lot of spirit and made life difficult for us with five in midfield. So it was nice to win a tight game like this with two bits of quality."
Positive Leicester had seven shots inside the opening 21 minutes, so it hardly came as a surprise that they should go ahead in the 24th. It was a poor goal from the Wolves viewpoint, Knockaert collecting a Kasper Schmeichel clearance on the right wing and while Wolves had a case to complain that he used his right arm to control the ball they should not have let him waltz unimpeded into their penalty area, while goalkeeper Carl Ikeme should probably have kept out his angled shot.
Wolves, fortunate that an X-rated tackle by Karl Henry on Andy King went unpunished, emerged in the second half clearly believing their could play their way back into the game and equalised six minutes after the restart when the impressive Sako, capitalising on the efforts of Tongo Doumbia to keep an attack going on the left, beat Schmeichel with a scorching shot from the edge of the box.
Yet just as it seemed Wolves might be able to inflict further damage they conceded a second goal. It was another fine individual effort, this time by Nugent on the end of a run from the halfway line, but again Wolves offered conspicuously little resistance and were frustrated in their attempts to force a second equaliser when a fine save by Schmeichel denied Sako a second and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake hit the outside of a post.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan, Keane, Konchesky; Knockaert (Vardy, 75), Drinkwater, King, Marshall (Dyer, 68); Nugent, Wood. Substitutes not used Logan (gk), Waghorn, Gallagher, Wellens, Futacs.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-1-4-1): Ikeme; Foley, Batth, Berra, Ward; Henry (Edwards, 81); Sigurdarson (Peszko, 76), O'Hara, Doumbia (Davis, 82), Sako; Ebanks-Blake. Substitutes not used Doyle, De Vries (gk), Margreitter, Cassidy.
Referee R Madley (West Yorkshire).
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