Lively Ifill makes life awful for Leicester

Sheffield United 4 Leicester City 1

Although this may appear to have been a comfortable victory for the South Yorkshire side, Leicester only had themselves to blame for failing to return to the Walkers Stadium with all three points, let alone a draw.

Two of their debutants, Rab Douglas and Nils-Eric Johansson, conceded penalties, neither of which were conclusive, while they contrived to squander chance after glorious chance. Mark de Vries was the principal culprit, but David Connolly, otherwise outstanding, Jason Wilcox and Momo Sylla were hardly free from blame either.

Andy Gray, heavily linked with a move to Sunderland late last week, converted the first penalty before Connolly equalised early in the second half. Steve Kabba, part of a triple substitution from Neil Warnock, the United manager, dispatched the second spot-kick before Paul Ifill, on his debut, and Leigh Bromby gave the scoreline an entirely lopsided appearance late on.

"I'm a bit shell-shocked, to be honest," said Craig Levein, the Leicester manager. "I can't for the life of me understand how we lost that match. I thought we played well, and it might sound strange but I'm not too concerned. The game was decided by the referee awarding the second penalty."

United's opening goal, after 34 minutes, was certainly harsh on Leicester, who had started much the better. Douglas, the former Celtic goalkeeper, hesitated when favourite to beat Ifill to the ball. That allowed the winger to get the all-important first touch before the two tangled untidily and the penalty was awarded.

Leicester continued to press without reward for the remainder of the half, but five minutes after the break they did draw level. Joey Gudjonsson fed the sprightly Connolly, who turned inside Bromby before taking a shot which took a deflection off Jon Harley and squirmed into the bottom corner.

If there was an element of fortune involved, Leicester had earned it, and with De Vries becoming more involved, Connolly was able to take advantage of the space behind his strike partner.

Both men missed good opportunities, though De Vries was the more culpable. As chances continued to come and go, Sylla's volley screwed over the crossbar and the hapless De Vries slipped at the crucial moment with a clear sight of goal.

How they were punished. Warnock's growing frustration resulted in a triple substitution, and it proved an inspired move. That said, none of the three replacements were directly involved in the day's second penalty, harshly awarded for handball and scored by Kabba.

Another of the substitutes, Keith Gillespie, playing against his former club, delivered a trademark cross that Ifill met at the near post with a flashing header. Douglas then made a horrible job of dealing with Ifill's cross and Bromby bundled the ball in.

"It's nice to get a win on the first day," said Warnock. "We lost our shape at the start of the second half, and that was their best chance, but after the substitutions we deserved it."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test