Dickov revives Leicester memory of how to win

Leicester City 3 Portsmouth 1
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The Independent Football

Paul Dickov inspired Leicester to go down fighting as they saved their third Premiership home win of the season for the time it mattered least.

Paul Dickov inspired Leicester to go down fighting as they saved their third Premiership home win of the season for the time it mattered least.

Dickov scored one and set up two more for the Foxes, whose relegation fate had already been sealed by their draw at Charlton last week.

But they impressed with the pressure off and as Mexican Waves ominously circled the Walkers Stadium they duly wrapped up their first success at home since November 2.

Dickov's shot which deflected in off Portsmouth defender Matthew Taylor put the Foxes in front after only six minutes.

The Scot grabbed a second of his own before half–time and despite Nigel Quashie reducing the deficit for Pompey, Dickov provided James Scowcroft with City's third and ensured the wake would be a brave and confident one.

Pompey's fans had arrived at the Walkers Stadium in force but their side's magnificent run of 18 points from 24 had long ensured that a game seemingly destined for a major dogfight was rendered meaningless.

And clearly Harry Redknapp's men were the ones who took their foot off the pedal first as Leicester pressed forward from the opening minute.

The recalled Steve Guppy shot wide before Taylor got in the way of Dickov's cross from the right side of the box and deflected the ball past a helpless Shaka Hislop.

Muzzy Izzet – probably playing his final game at this stadium in a Leicester shirt – almost put the Foxes further ahead in the 10th minute when he clattered a 25–yard free–kick against the crossbar.

It was all Leicester deserved with Pompey's best early chances coming through low shots from Yakubu and Steve Stone which scarcely threatened Ian Walker.

Then Lomana LuaLua ran at the home defence before hitting a powerful 25–yard effort which blazed over the bar.

Pompey had a good penalty claim turned down in the 25th minute after Nikos Dabizas' challenge on LuaLua in the Leicester box.

But Dickov grabbed the goal of his own in the 27th minute when he reached the lively Bent's flick in the box and steered a left–foot shot past Hislop.

Izzet came closest to a third with a 25–yard lob in first–half injury time which beat Hislop but flashed inches wide.

The Foxes captain was replaced by Lilian Nalis three minutes after the break and left the pitch to the kind of rapturous applause which suggested the vocal home fans are resigned to missing him for their Nationwide League fight.

Pompey began to push with Alexei Smertin blasting a powerful effort wide and Yakubu wasting a close–range chance after being set up by Stone.

Bent ought to have done better from another Dickov lay–off in the 55th minute but it was Pompey who grabbed the game's third.

Yakubu's cross from the right was not cleared and Quashie struck a fine left–foot shot across Walker and into the corner of the net.

Straight from the restart Jordan Stewart came close for the home side, twisting and turning into the box before seeing his shot palmed away by Hislop.

And in the 69th minute Dickov wrapped up a fine day's work by making space on the left and crossing for Scowcroft who could not miss from close range.

Les Ferdinand's belated arrival inspired the Foxes fans to roar their side on in the hope of grabbing a fourth which might have made their relegation a little bit easier to swallow.

But Yakubu came closest in the closing minutes and it was the losers on the day who will still have a lot more to shout about this summer.

Leicester City 3
Taylor og 6, Dickov 26, Scowcroft 71

Portsmouth 1
Quashie 66

Half-time: 2-0 Attendance: 31,536