Leicester City recorded their biggest league win in over 30 years as struggling Ipswich were torn apart at King Power Stadium.
Nigel Pearson’s side ran riot against the disjointed Tractor Boys, producing a sparkling exhibition of attacking football to pick up their first win in five games and strengthen their position among the npower Championship’s front-runners.
David Nugent got the ball rolling, continuing his excellent scoring record against Ipswich with an early-double, before a neck injury brought about his precautionary withdrawal.
His first came via a penalty, won by the rampant Lloyd Dyer, who drove in a third before setting up Anthony Knockaert for a fourth before half-time.
Martyn Waghorn saw a typically solid shift rewarded with his first goal of the season not long after the interval, before Dyer set up substitute Marko Futacs for another eight minutes from the end.
Not since beating Carlisle United by the same score-line at Filbert Street back in 1982 have the Foxes won by such a handsome margin. Ipswich, a side who looked resigned to defeat as soon as Nugent opened the scoring, simply could not contain them.
In his four games since taking over as manager, Town boss Mick McCarthy has seen his side win twice and lose twice. More worrying, have been the 11 goals they have conceded in those two defeats.
McCarthy’s efforts to shore things up included the signing of Bradley Orr on loan from Blackburn Rovers this week – deployed at right-back to contain the surges of Dyer from the City left. Within seven minutes, Dyer’s explosive speed exposed him.
Orr and goalkeeper Stephen Henderson got their angles all wrong as Dyer raced onto an Andy King pass down the left. Once he’d touched the ball past the Town stopper, a trip was inevitable.
Nugent, not a usual penalty taker, pulled rank on Waghorn and Knockaert and finished emphatically from 12 yards.
Aaron Cresswell blocked well from King after another fluid move down the left, but City attacks were coming in waves and Ipswich’s defensive dam was springing leaks all over the place.
Waghorn’s fleet of foot gave him space to shoot from the right, Henderson pushed his drive out in front of goal and Nugent was following in to finish from close range. His 11th goal in 11 games against the Tractor Boys and his ninth of the season.
Ipswich could barely get the ball off their in-form hosts, let alone threaten – a Lee Martin shot from range about the best they mustered in the entire first half.
Dyer, on the other hand, continued to carve gaping holes in the visitors’ defence with a series of rapier-like thrusts down the left. He left Orr for dead once more on 27 minutes and drilled the ball ruthlessly past the helpless hands of Henderson.
Ipswich were reeling, unable to clear their heads. If they saw Nugent depart, it must have felt like a mercy substitution.
But his replacement, the tireless Jamie Vardy, worked them relentlessly and teed up Knockaert for a low shot that Henderson scrambled round his post.
Knockaert’s moment would come on the stroke of half-time. Fed by Waghorn, the electrifying Dyer was typically the architect, providing a first-time centre that the Frenchman swept home with glee.
Fans would have been contemplating a cricket score at half-time. Not purely based on the goals that had already found a way by Henderson, but the way City had effortlessly exploited the space their generous visitors afforded them.
Top of their wish list, though, would have been a goal for Waghorn – a frustrated if willing figure in City’s attack, whose recent displays have lacked only the final finish.
He came within a whisker of delivering it when he headed Dyer’s cross against the post on 50 minutes, then finally broke his duck three minutes later with a curling effort from King’s brilliantly-weighted pass.
Swarmed by his elated team-mates and serenaded by the Blue Army, Waghorn saluted the Kop – a player reborn after a year of blighted by injury and loss of form.
An exhibition-feel took hold of the second half as City popped the ball around with an ease that bordered on embarrassment. Even the Mexican wave made an appearance.
Vardy might have added another, but was denied by Henderson when trying to convert another probing pass from King.
But Futacs’ simple finish made sure the night would be rounded off with a sixth – fittingly aided by Dyer – Ipswich’s executioner in chief.
City: Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan (c), Whitbread, Schlupp; Knockaert (Marshall 64), King, Drinkwater, Dyer; Nugent (Vardy 30), Waghorn (Futacs 74).
Unused subs: Logan, James, Moore, Lingard.
Goals: Nugent 8 pen, 18; Dyer 27, Knockaert 44, Waghorn 53, Futacs 82.
Ipswich (4-4-2): Henderson; Orr, Chambers, Higginbotham, Cresswell; Edwards (c), N’Daw (Hyam 58), Reo-Coker, Martin; Campbell (Chopra 78), Murphy (Emmanuel-Thomas 58).
Unused subs: Lee-Barrett, Hewitt, Smith, Bilel.
Attendance: 20,779 (990 away)
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)