Three goals for Middlesbrough, yet their striking deficiency lingers on. It took two goals in the last two minutes, both touched home by Leicester players (the first credited to Massimo Maccarone but deflected in by Nikos Dabizas, the second a John Curtis own goal) to snatch a draw from the jaws of what would have been a demoralising defeat for Steve McClaren's side at the Riverside yesterday.
It was a match Middlesbrough ought to have won with some ease but after Juninho gave them an eighth-minute lead Joseph-Desire Job missed from the penalty spot just before the interval, prompting a second-half Leicester fight-back. Two opportunist strikes by Paul Dickov put City in front before Marcus Bent capitalised on a Mark Schwarzer slip-up to provide Micky Adams' men with a 3-1 lead and 14 minutes left in which to protect it. They failed to do so and have not won in 10 League and cup matches now.
It was difficult to say which manager had the greater grounds for disappointment, but Adams was the more devastated. "Play like that will get us relegated," he said. "In the last minute and stoppage time we've gone from heroes to zeros. We're scared to win games. We don't know how to see them through. That was on a par with the Wolves fiasco." At Molineux Leicester squandered a 3-0 half-time lead. At the Riverside they were fortunate to get themselves into a winning position, after gifting Middlesbrough the lead. It came courtesy of Ian Walker, who had time and space to clear Dabizas' back-pass but hoofed the ball off the legs of Job to Juninho, who strode into the penalty area before angling a left-foot drive into the net.
Still, Leicester had their errant goalkeeper to thank for reaching half-time with just a single-goal deficit. Five minutes before the interval Walker showed fine reflexes, saving from Dabizas and Stewart Downing in quick succession. Four minutes later, he gained redemption for his earlier error, flinging himself to his left to save Job's penalty after Dabizas had man-handled the Cameroonian striker.
It was a meekly-struck shot, unlike the effort at the other end that would have claimed a first-half injury-time equaliser for Jamie Scowcroft had Danny Mills not produced a brilliant goal-line clearance. It was a shame for Middlesbrough that they were not so attentive from Steve Guppy's right-wing corner four minutes after the interval. The winger's low delivery flew through the legs of Scowcroft and was turned in at the near-post by Dickov.
It was diminutive Scot's ninth goal of the season and it was followed, 16 minutes later, by his 10th. Guppy was again involved, clipping a free-kick from the right to Riccardo Scimeca, whose header into the goalmouth was poked home at close range by Dickov. They were a fine couple of poacher's goals and so was Leicester's third, in the 76th minute.
Bent pounced to score from 10 yards after Schwarzer lost control of a back-pass by Andrew Davies. The goalscoring shot Massimo Maccarone deflected off Dabizas in the final minute would have been merely a consolation, but then, deep in injury time, Gaizka Mendieta hooked a ball into the Leicester goalmouth and Curtis unwittingly swiped the ball into his own net.
Juninho 8, Maccarone 90, Curtis og 90
Leicester City 3
Dickov 49, 65, Bent 76
Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 27,125Reuse content