Leicester put an end to away-day blues

Manchester City 0 Leicester City 3
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The Independent Football

Finally Leicester City found a three-goal lead on their Premiership travels more than enough.

Two weeks and a day after being humiliated at Wolves, they took full advantage of an abject Manchester City to climb out of the bottom three.

At the sixth time of asking, having also lost in the Carling Cup at Aston Villa, they finally have their first away points since promotion; quite deservedly too, following a performance full of organised defence and sprightly breaks.

"There were some harsh words spoken after Wolves but sometimes you need a kick in the teeth like that," said Micky Adams, the Leicester manager.

How quickly fortunes can change. Not just for Leicester, but also their surprise victims, who, in the previous league game at the City of Manchester Stadium, put six past Bolton.

Yesterday, City - Kevin Keegan's version, that is, not the Adams model - were atrocious.

Unsettled by a wondrous early strike from Jordan Stewart, they self-destructed when their captain, Sylvain Distin, presented Paul Dickov with a penalty that the former Maine Road hero drove in and were killed off when Marcus Bent added a third after 58 minutes.

It all added up to a nightmare start for City's third-choice keeper, Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard. The Danish under-21 international, signed by Keegan two years ago, was given his chance because David Seaman failed a late fitness test on a hamstring injury and Nicky Weaver has had knee problems.

The debutant deserved much more than he got from his team-mates. Virtually his first task was to pick the ball from his net after Stewart, gaining possession just outside the centre circle, punished Distin's retreat by measuring a curling left-foot finish to perfection from 25 yards.

But while no blame could be apportioned to the Dane on that strike, the newcomer did look shaky in dealing with two Muzzy Izzet free-kicks, the first of two nervous punches for corners coming shortly after Jamie Scowcroft had powered a header narrowly over from Ben Thatcher's left-wing centre.

Those moments underlined how error-ridden the home side were and it was at their lowest ebb during incessant second-half rain that the game was put to bed.

Distin played with fire by tangling untidily with Dickov in the area and, for reasons best known to himself, then had another go at him in the same attack. Whatever the extent of contact between open hand and face, it was a foolish challenge in the extreme.

Punishment came firstly with a yellow card, and secondly from the spot via Dickov's sixth goal of the season. Then, before a recovery could be launched, Bent thumped in a header from Izzet's cross.

It was finishing of a quality Keegan's men lamentably failed to match. "We hardly brought a save from Ian Walker," said Keegan. "All the ability in the world doesn't mean much if you don't put any thought or passion into your play."

Goals: Stewart (12) 0-1, Dickov pen (53) 0-2, Bent (58) 0-3.

Manchester City (4-4-2): Stuhr-Ellegaard 4; Sun Jihai 5, Dunne 4, Distin 4, Tarnat 5; McManaman 5, Barton 6 (Bosvelt 5, 60), Berkovic 6, Sibierski 4; Wanchope 4 (Fowler 5, 60), Anelka 4. Substitutes not used: Weaver (gk), Macken, Sommeil.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Walker 5; Impey 6, Howey 6, Scimeca 6, Thatcher 5; Scowcroft 6, Izzet 7, McKinlay 5, Stewart 5; Dickov 6 (Hignett 5, 85), Bent 5 (Ferdinand 5, 79). Substitutes not used: Coyne (gk), Elliott, Gillespie.

Bookings: Manchester City: Distin, Bosvelt; Leicester: Izzet, McKinlay.

Referee: M Riley (Leeds) 7.

Man of the match: Izzet.

Attendance: 46,966.