Moncur manages to secure lifeline

Football: Leicester City 0 West Ham United 1
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The Independent Online
With Newcastle and Manchester United still to play, three points won at Filbert Street might prove vital to West Ham's survival in the Premiership. An untidy goal decided a scrappy match but style is unimportant at this stage, and when John Moncur bundled a ball home from close range 15 minutes from time he may have won Harry Redknapp's vote for goal of the season.

West Ham, who began the match in the bottom three, jumped to 16th place with a result that creates unwanted anxiety for Leicester, whose manager, Martin O'Neill, is not yet convinced that 40 points will be enough to guarantee safety. O'Neill postponed the parading of the Coca-Cola Cup until Steve Walsh's testimonial next Monday, fearing that too much celebrating would distract his side from the job in hand. His anxiety was well-founded and, as he said, it would be just like Leicester to make things difficult for themselves.

Last night's contest was played out in stranglehold of tension, which was reflected in a busy night for the two referees. Roger Dilkes issued four yellow cards before an injury caused him to be replaced at half-time. Grant Hagley, who took over with the whistle, added six more, including the West Ham striker John Hartson, whose caution count for the season now stands at 15 with one sending-off.

Excitement was in short supply and aside from half chances in the opening 10 minutes for West Ham's Steve Lomas and Paul Kitson, it was 35 minutes before either goalkeeper was required to make a save, although the visitors' Ludek Miklosko was not unduly stretched in adjusting his position when a Garry Parker free-kick took a deflection.

Moments earlier, Emile Heskey had gone close for Leicester, who themselves had a good opportunity to break the deadlock soon after half-time when Steve Claridge, their hero at Hillsborough last week, found himself onside as Walsh headed the ball forwards, but he could not find the touch to beat Miklosko when a goal looked his for the taking.

It seemed both sides would have to settle for a point but eventually fortune gave West Ham the boost they craved when Rio Ferdinand won a challenge for a long throw by Lomas and the ball was forced over the line by Moncur.

Redknapp said: "I still think we may need 42 points to be safe and if we had lost this game we would have been in deep trouble."

Leicester City (5-3-2): Keller; Grayson, Prior, Elliott, Walsh, Guppy (Marshall, 76); Parker, Lennon, Izzet (Campbell, 17); Claridge, Heskey. Substitutes not used: Kamark, Whitlow, Poole (gk).

West Ham United (5-3-2): Miklosko; Potts, Rieper, Hall, Ferdinand, Hughes; Lomas, Moncur, Porfirio (Rowland, 89); Hartson, Kitson (Dowie, 77). Substitutes not used: Lazaridis, Bishop, Sealey (gk).

Referee: R Dilkes (Mossley).

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