Stoke City 3 Leicester City 2: Bangoura strikes to outwit Foxes

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The Independent Football

The record Stoke City signing Sam Bangoura scored his eighth goal in nine games to bring relief to the Britannia Stadium last night.

The Guinea international settled this entertaining Midlands derby by heading home Dave Brammer's 77th-minute cross, two minutes after Mamade Sidibe nodded in another excellent Brammer centre to equalise.

Leicester City, fired by Joey Gudjonsson's outstanding shooting, twice led and looked set to inflict a seventh home defeat on Stoke in nine matches, only to be sunk by their inconsistency.

Victory lifted Johan Boskamp's side into the top six and eased the storm-clouds after the public fall-out in their management team and the threat of FA action following fan trouble a week ago.

"We have given away so many home games and I thought we had done it again," the manager said. "Perhaps Santa Claus came to our assistance."

After Paul Gallagher saw a free-kick blocked and Sidibe blazed well wide from eight yards, Stoke were hit by a stunning strike from a player well known to their Icelandic owners.

Gudjonsson, whose brother Toddi is still on the playing staff in the Potteries, where their father used to be manager, worked a clever short free-kick with Iain Hume and turned to brilliantly hammer home right-footed from almost 30 yards.

Before the situation had time to fester, though, a lifeline presented itself just past the half-hour. Bangoura won a fortunate penalty when Rab Douglas dived at his feet from a through ball by Gallagher, who stayed cool to net twice from the spot - the second time after encroachment by Sidibe.

Leicester regained their lead just after the break. Douglas' long kick broke for Hume to set up Elvis Hammond to finish powerfully from close range. Bangoura and Marlon Broomes both brought comfortable saves from Douglas with headers - efforts dwarfed when Gudjonsson smacked a 35-yarder against the underside of the bar at the other end. Then Hume and Ryan Smith missed clear chances to make Leicester safe.

"I'm disappointed, frustrated and angry," the Leicester manager Craig Levein said. "Four goals wouldn't be enough if we defend like that."

Stoke City (4-4-2): Simonsen; Buxton, Hoefkens, Duberry, Broomes; Gallagher (Henry, 89), Russell, Brammer, Sweeney (Sigurdsson, 64); Bangoura, Sidibe. Substitutes not used: De Goey (gk), Harper, Junior.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Douglas; Stearman (Williams, 84), Dublin, Gerrbrand, Maybury; Sylla, Gudjonsson (De Vries, 84), Kisnorbo, Smith; Hammond, Hume. Substitutes not used: Tiatto, Johansson, Hamill.

Referee: I Williamson (Berkshire).