Leicester City vs Everton match report: Chris Wood performs supersub role to perfection
Leicester City 2 Everton 2: Striker comes off the bench to snatch a point on Foxes return to the big time
King Power Stadium
Saturday 16 August 2014
Some week, then, for Chris Wood. At its start he was heading to the Championship with Wolves. By its close he had become the supersub for a team trying to find their feet in the Premier League after an 11-year absence.
Wood’s transfer to Wolves did not happen and instead, in the 78th minute, Nigel Pearson turned to the New Zealand international to replace record signing Leonardo Ulloa, who had also scored. Leicester’s manager could not be faulted for his use of forwards on Saturday.
With five minutes remaining Phil Jagielka, who had been excellent at the heart of the Everton side, slid into a tackle and the ball fell perfectly into the path of Wood (pictured). He fired his shot into the bottom corner of Tim Howard’s goal and the roof nearly came off the King Power Stadium.
Afterwards Pearson revealed that he had held talks with the striker, and that he would not be leaving the club. It was a more compelling argument after what had just taken place.
“Chris Wood is staying,” Pearson said.“For him to have had to go though 10 days of speculation, we’ve not fanned the fire. It’s been a story that has gathered speed.
“I’ve spoken to him on a couple of occasions this week and he’s happy to stay and fight for his place. We draw a line under it.
“To go out and score speaks volumes for his ability to put things behind him and move on. He’s a Premier League striker because he plays for a Premier League club.”
Twice Leicester fought back against an Everton side that will again do well this season. There was huge disappointment for Roberto Martinez. His team took the lead in the 20th minute through an excellent strike from Aidan McGeady, but it lasted less than two minutes as Ulloa scored from eight yards. But Everton again scored a fine goal on the stroke of half-time, Steven Naismith rounding off a fine move. From there should have come victory, as Martinez admitted.
“Yes we should have won it,” he said. “It is only us to blame really. The first half we did everything we had to do. We coped with their bright approach, the environment and their fight.
“We did the hardest thing. We got ourselves ahead twice. The second goal was very good how we combined together, but then we concede two goals. We were too relaxed for the second one. We should have gone for a third with more brightness.”
Instead, Wood scored. “It showed a resilience, which is important,” Pearson said. “We will need to improve in certain areas. The biggest message is that the payers have learned thast even during a game when you get setbacks, with unity we are capable of adapting during a game against an exceptional side.”
Martinez also revealed that scans yesterday on the knee Ross Barkley injured in training have still not clarified how long he will miss because of a damaged medial ligament. The prognosis was between seven weeks at best and four months at worst. “Ross is a very mature boy,” Martinez said “He was very disappointed. He was looking forward to the start of the season. He put in a lot of extra work.
“But he has been through periods of adversity before.”
Leicester (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky; Mahrez, Drinkwater (Hammond, 39), King, Knockaert (Schlupp, 64); Nugent, Ulloa (Wood, 78).
Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard; Stones, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; McGeady (Coleman, 85), Naismith, Pienaar (Mirallas, 81); Lukaku.
Referee: Mike Jones.
Man of the match: Phil Jagielka (Everton)
Match rating: 7/10
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