Pesky Heskey

Leicester 1 Heskey 73 Wimbledon 0 Attendance: 18,927
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The Independent Online
WIMBLEDON have European ambitions but, for the second week running, were unable to impose themselves against opponents occupied with business at the opposite end of the table. Leicester ended a run of five matches without a win by seizing three precious points.

Emile Heskey's goal, stabbed home in a crowded goalmouth with 18 minutes left, inflicted only a second defeat in 25 games for Wimbledon, a record which Joe Kinnear can still be proud of on his fifth anniversary as manager. But there were signs that their season may be entering a downbeat phase. And with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal as forthcoming opponents, this is no time to go off the boil.

Leicester, prompted with intelligence and authority by Neil Lennon and Garry Parker in midfield, were always more purposeful. They had missed the drive and craft of Lennon, who had missed three games through suspension. They were reinforced by Matt Elliott, a 6ft 3in centre-back for whom Martin O'Neill last week signed for a club record pounds 1.6m from Oxford. Elliott must have expected to have more to do. He and Spencer Prior easily contained Efan Ekoku and Marcus Gayle.

Elliott's arrival allowed Ian Marshall, forced to play in defence recently, to return to his preferred front-line role. He and Steve Claridge subjected Chris Perry and Dean Blackwell to a difficult afternoon. But the real menace came from Leicester's left flank, where Heskey, quick and strong - and with clever feet for good measure - gave Kenny Cunningham a troubled time and forced Neal Ardley to spend much of his time tracking back.

Even so, for long periods it seemed Wimbledon would emerge unbeaten. Claridge was denied a goal for offside when a fierce drive by Lennon spun away from Neil Sullivan. The goalkeeper's handling almost let in Claridge again shortly before half-time, but he scrambled to recover the ball.

The pattern was repeated early in the second half, with Lennon frustrated as shots were deflected or blocked. But the breakthrough came when Sullivan, under pressure from Marshall, failed to cut out a corner from the left and Heskey found the ball dropping at his feet.

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