Leicester give a lavish display

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The Independent Online
JAMES WOODWARD

West Bromwich Albion 2 Leicester City 3

A compelling advertisement for the footballing prowess of these two sides provided superb entertainment for the Midlands television audience even though three unanswered first-half goals from Leicester appeared to have ended the contest.

Their manager, Mark McGhee, claimed the lead was never in danger but when Paul Raven stabbed home Albion's second in a goal-line melee with two minutes to go a remarkable comeback was on the cards.

Alas for Albion it was not to be. Having twice missed the opportunity to go top of the table in the last month they were again found wanting on the big occasion, although Leicester's first-half football would have graced the Premiership they are making such a good fist of returning to at the first time of asking.

Either side of Leicester's goals Albion, too, demonstrated the swift passing football for which their manager, Alan Buckley, is renowned but they could not match the verve and movement of Leicester in that first half.

Mike Whitlow, Garry Parker and David Lowe combined with one-touch football to allow the midfielder Scott Taylor to head his third goal of the season in the 16th minute. Iwan Roberts surged into space as the Albion defence fell away to stroke in the second and a minute before the interval Whitlow's cross fell behind his two strikers but Taylor, a pounds 500,000 buy from Reading, arrived to volley the ball into the corner with his instep.

Buckley's response was to withdraw full-back Phil King, on loan from Aston Villa, sending on Shaun Cunnington at half-time to match Leicester's 3-5-2 formation.

It paid off. With the pressure mounting, Ian Hamilton struck home from 16 yards although the ball took a wicked deflection from the back of Colin Hill to beat Zeljko Kalac, making his debut on the Leicester goal.

However it was the keeper's mistake, dropping a cross, which allowed Albion their second but by then it was too late.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Naylor; Burgess, Raven, Mardon, King (Cunnington, h-t); Ashcroft, Coldicott, Hamilton, Gilbert; Hunt, R Taylor. Substitutes not used: Edwards, Reece (gk).

Leicester City (3-5-2): Kalac; Carey, Rollings, Hill; Kamark, S Taylor (Blake, 70), Parker, Lowe, Whitlow; Robins, Roberts. Substitutes not used: Grayson, Lawrence.

Referee: R Gifford (Llanbradach).

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