Leicester City 2 Birmingham city 2 match report: Burke hits spot to dent Leicester hopes further


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The Independent Football

It is testament to the Championship’s unpredictability that Leicester City remain play-off candidates even though this tumultuous draw with Birmingham City extended their winless run to nine games.

Nigel Pearson’s under-fire side – second at the beginning of February–  were pegged back first by Nicola Zigic and then a late Chris Burke penalty.

Seeking to exploit tension in the home crowd, Birmingham began well, Shane Ferguson failing to find the target from an awkward heading opportunity on three minutes, before being undone from a set piece. David Nugent’s drive forced a sharp save from Jack Butland and the resultant corner from Matty James was nodded into his own net by Curtis Davies while under pressure from Wes Morgan.

Birmingham showed further signs of implosion when the veteran Paul Robinson horrendously misjudged a header back to Butland, only for the England goal keeper to deny Jeffrey Schlupp from close range.

The lively Nathan Redmond restored order to Birmingham, forcing Kasper Schmeichel into two agile stops at his near post just before the half-hour.

Leicester’s first-half attacking impetus deserted them immediately after the break and there was little surprise when Birmingham levelled. Wade Elliott’s brilliant curling effort, which shaved a post, acted as a warning to the home side, one they did not heed, with Zigic tapping in at the far post after more good work from Redmond.

Schlupp nearly swiftly restored Leicester’s lead with a rasping effort that cannoned off a post. Schlupp then finally did make Birmingham pay with a quarter of an hour remaining, profiting from more poor defending from the visitors to head home.

Late drama brought Birmingham a point, though, as Nugent’s clumsy challenge on Wes Thomas enabled Burke to pile the pressure on Pearson.

Leicester City (4-4-2) Schmeichel; De Laet, Keane, Morgan, Konchesky; King, Drinkwater (Dyer, 69), James, Schlupp; Wood (Kane, 87) Nugent. Substitutes not used Logan, Marshall, Vardy, Moore, Knockaert.

Birmingham City (4-5-1) Butland; Davies, Hancox, Caddis, Robinson; Ferguson (Burke, 83), Morrison, Gomis, Elliott (Thomas, 78), Redmond; Zigic. Substitutes not used Doyle, Caldwell, Mullins, Lovenkrands, Reilly.

Referee M Russell (Hertfordshire).