Moyes on the defensive after Ferguson loses control

Leicester City 1 Everton 1
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The Independent Football

It took Duncan Ferguson little more than half an hour to upstage Paul Dickov as the most controversial Scot at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday.

While Dickov looked like he had never been away on his return to action following Leicester City's infamous mid-season break, Ferguson seemed to revel in his role as pantomime villain.

David Moyes, the Everton manager, later pleaded mitigating factors in his dismissal, but the striker did little to help his own cause. Before showing the first of his yellow cards, Barry Knight, the referee, had already tried to lecture him. Ferguson blithely ignored his repeated beckoning, walking away in the opposite direction.

From that moment, Knight needed little encouragement. Nikos Dabizas's protests made sure of the first caution and Steffen Freund, sensing Ferguson had lost his composure, made sure he did not regain it.

The second booking was inevitable and the Scot compounded the error by continuing his feud with Freund. His parting shot was an aggressive gesture towards the crowd before disappearing down the tunnel.

"There was a lot of frustration in what he did," Moyes said. "We just couldn't get going and he could sense that. We weren't getting any possession and we didn't get a single decision going our way.

"We could only play better once we were down to 10 men because our forward play to that point had been non-existent."

Leicester proved particularly inept at exploiting their numerical advantage. Prior to Ferguson's dismissal, they had enjoyed the better of a dismal match, with Muzzy Izzet's setpieces by far the most likely source of a goal. At the interval Moyes sacrificed James McFadden in favour of a second striker, Tomasz Radzinski. It was a bold move, and it proved to be an astute one.

While Leicester artlessly tossed high ball after high ball in the direction of Everton's central defenders, Radzinski and Wayne Rooney waited to take advantage of the open spaces on the break. With 15 minutes to go, Radzinski broke down the left and his excellent first-time pass gave Rooney the chance he was waiting for. At that stage it was inconceivable that Leicester would recover. But, if nothing else, they are persistent.

"When your four strikers cost a total of £50,000 it's not easy," Micky Adams said, by way of explanation for Leicester's second-half performance. "No disrespect to them but sometimes you're just lacking that bit of quality to get you a goal."

It was Marcus Bent who "Kept the Faith" - Leicester's unofficial new motto - heading Steve Guppy's corner past Tobias Linderoth on the line in the final seconds. It may yet prove to be a decisive point in their struggle against relegation.

"They seem to have been galvanised by what happened in Spain and they're actually using it to their advantage," Moyes said. "We're all in support of Micky Adams. He's handled himself with a lot of dignity."

Goals: Rooney (75) 0-1; Bent (90) 1-1.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Walker 5; Scimeca 6, Dabizas 4, Heath 4, Thatcher 5; Bent 6, Freund 4 (Nalis, 83), Izzet 4, Benjamin 4 (Guppy 5, 46); Ferdinand 6 (Canero 4, 57), Dickov 5. Substitutes not used: Coyne (gk), Davidson.

Everton (4-4-2): Martyn 6; Pistone 7, Yobo 5, Stubbs 6, Naysmith 5; Watson 5, Gravesen 5, Linderoth 4, McFadden 2 (Radzinski 6, 46); Ferguson 4, Rooney 6 (Campbell, 87). Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Unsworth, Nyarko.

Referee: B Knight (Kent) 3.

Booked: Everton: Ferguson McFadden, Gravesen, Radzinski, Rooney. Leicester: Scimeca. Sending-off: Everton: Ferguson.

Man of the Match: Pistone.

Attendance: 31,650.

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