David Nugent fulfilled the role expected of him as a former Portsmouth player, revelling in the role of villain and setting Leicester on course for the victory that ensured Southampton failed to reclaim their standing at the head of the Championship table last night.
Nigel Adkins's side had been deposed as league leaders by West Ham at the weekend and needed three points to restore their superiority. They rarely looked capable of overcoming a Leicester side who revived their own ambitions of claiming a top-six place, however, and Nugent confirmed he had taken additional pleasure from their downfall.
The forward scored with an excellent curling shot in the 15th minute before Matt Mills headed a second nine minutes later and said: "I knew I was going to get a bit of stick. I haven't played against Southampton since I left Portsmouth so it was nice to come here and take some points off them."
Adkins had much more to concern himself with than lingering rivalries. Southampton's dip in form has been concerning and they now have just two wins from their last eight games although the absence of Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana was clearly felt.
"We've got to make sure we learn the lessons of today," Adkins said. "We've got to stick together, keep this group of players together and enjoy it. We've now gone second in the Championship, which is great, having led it for a long time. We're still in the race and we look to keep driving on."
Nigel Pearson's side carried on where they had left off against Nottingham Forest in midweek and the City manager can look forward to the coming weeks with growing confidence. "We needed that sort of result," said the Leicester manager. "Tonight's result will give a lot of encouragement to other sides."
Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Harding, Hooiveld (Richardson, 65), Martin, Fox; Falque (De Ridder, 55), Schneiderlin, Cork, Hammond (Holnes, 55); Do Prado, Connolly. Substitutes not used Bialkowski (gk), Reeves.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Peltier, Mills, St Ledger, Konchesky; Gallagher (Drinkwater, 42), Wellens, Danns, Dyer; Beckford ( Delfouneso, 75), Nugent (Howard, 87) . Substitutes not used Logan (gk), Kennedy.
Referee N Swarbrick (Lancashire).