Match Report: Kasper Schmeichel's epic save helps launch Leicester revival against Blackburn
Leicester City 3 Blackburn Rovers 0
the King Power Stadium
Tuesday 26 February 2013
After seeing their promotion prospects tempered by a run of one point from three Championship matches, Leicester returned to winning form in a match notable for a save by Kasper Schmeichel that had fans of a certain vintage reminiscing about Gordon Banks in his pomp.
The Danish goalkeeper somehow managed to change direction in mid-air when a first-half shot from Morten Gamst Pedersen took a significant deflection, stretching out his right hand as he did so to turn the ball over the bar. The save denied Blackburn a 22nd-minute lead, after which Leicester – perhaps inspired – won comfortably, first-half headers from Chris Wood and on-loan Harry Kane supplemented by a third in stoppage time by Andy King.
Even Nigel Pearson, not a man known for hyperbole, hailed Schmeichel's brilliance. "It was a fantastic save, as good as I can remember seeing," the Leicester manager said. "He did not have a lot else to do and he showed a lot of agility and fantastic reactions at a key moment in the game in that the first goal is always important.
"He is having a great season for us. He works exceptionally hard at his game and has been a big part of our season so far."
Leicester has been second in the Championship at the end of last month after five straight wins but one point from three matches in February left ground to be made up. In that respect, the loss of leading scorer David Nugent to a neck injury sustained in last Saturday's goalless draw at Blackpool did not come at a good moment.
However, Nugent's absence allowed 19-year-old Kane, on loan from Tottenham, to make his home debut and the teenager forced Jake Kean to make the first of several saves as Leicester set the pace against a Blackburn side arriving on a run of one defeat in six Championship matches and a famous win over Arsenal in the FA Cup.
The Blackburn keeper could not stop Wood giving Leicester the lead with a header from a Marshall cross in the 29th minute – his ninth goal in nine appearances for Pearson's side.
Blackburn were disappointingly tame as an attacking threat and went further behind as Kane got on the scoresheet, failing to defend a Ben Marshall corner.
Leicester were always comfortable after that and King scored their third with a close-range header late on.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan, Keane, Konchesky; Marshall, King, Drinkwater, Knockaert (Dyer, 75); Wood (Waghorn, 87), Kane (Vardy, 83). Substitutes not used: Whitbread, Logan (gk), Gallagher, Wellens.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Kean; Orr, Dann, G Hanley, Rekik (Henley, 46); Bentley, Lowe, Murphy, Pedersen (Olsson, 46); Campbell, Rhodes (Nuno Gomes, 72). Substitutes not used: Sandomierski (gk), Givet, Morris, Goodwillie.
Referee G Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).
Huddersfield end slump as Vaughan fires
Huddersfield eased their fears of relegation from the Championship by beating Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor last night, new manager Mark Robins' first win since taking charge. James Vaughan got Huddersfield's goal, 10 minutes into the second half.
Craig Dawson, on loan from West Bromwich, got his third goal in two games as Bolton beat bottom club Peterborough 1-0 at the Reebok Stadium. Dawson struck twice in Bolton's 4-1 win over Hull on Saturday and wasted little time in giving Dougie Freedman's side the lead after just five minutes.
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