Two teams who have won only two League matches between them since the end of November were never likely to serve up a classic and so it proved at the Walkers Stadium yesterday.
Rob Kelly's first match in caretaker charge of Leicester City following the sacking last week of Craig Levein looked destined to be the drabbest of goalless draws. In 90 minutes there had been a grand total of one shot on target. But that was before the substitute Kenwyne Jones ran on to Bartosz Bialkowski's goal-kick in injury time and scored with Southampton's only chance of note in the second half to send the Hampshire club into the fifth round.
"It wasn't great football and it was a scrap right to the end," admitted George Burley, the Southampton manager. "But the spirit was there and we've got some good young players at the club, like Kenwyne." As for Leicester, the FA Cup win over Spurs three weeks ago is now their sole success in 13 games. Although they did most of the attacking yesterday, only rarely did they threaten to score.
The few highlights of a dire first half saw Marian Pahars head Matt Oakley's free-kick across the face of goal, while for Leicester, Patrick McCarthy headed on to the roof of the net. In the second half the home side began to press and when Elvis Hammond was played through by Stephen Hughes he really ought to have given Leicester the lead.
Minutes later, Alan Maybury chose to shoot from the narrowest of angles when a cross would surely have been the better option. It was a miss that would prove particularly costly when Jones, the Trinidad & Tobago international who had been on the field less than 10 minutes, settled the tie.
"It mirrors our season," said Kelly, who expects still to be in charge when Leicester play QPR on Tuesday. "We competed well then dropped a ricket in the last minute and it's cost us a game."Reuse content