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Match Report


Posted Tue 01 Jan 13 at 18:00 PM

Report: City 6 Huddersfield 1

City made a dazzling start to 2013 as they hit Huddersfield Town for six at King Power Stadium.

New signing Chris Wood made it a dream debut with a first-half double, before Ritchie De Laet rifled his first goal in Leicester blue on the stroke of half-time.

Anthony Knockaert continued his torture of the Terriers with two brilliant finishes early in the second period, before Scott Arfield pulled one back for the struggling visitors.

But City had the final say when substitute Martyn Waghorn slammed home Wood’s knockdown, as the Foxes hit half-a-dozen for the second time in six weeks.

Nigel Pearson’s men were a class apart from their overwhelmed visitors, whose winless run now stretches to 10 games. Top six rivals Hull City and Middlesbrough dropping points made the victory all the more important.

But if they maintain standards as high as those on show on New Year’s Day, they will have few concerns with the fortunes of those around them.

From front to back, outstanding performances were plentiful. Michael Keane, making only the second appearance of an injury hit loan spell from Manchester United, was a calming addition to the back four. Matty James patrolled midfield with effortless control and anticipation. Knockaert sparkled every time the ball reached his enchanting feet.

Wood, actually playing on a short-term loan arrangement while his permanent transfer from West Bromwich Albion is finalised, made the kind of start dreams are made of.

Huddersfield’s goal was already under siege. Adam Clayton cleared desperately off the line after Knockaert beat goalkeeper Alex Smithies to a bouncing ball in the box. Smithies then saved after James has set up Wood.

But there was no denying the New Zealand international on six minutes, as Wood scored the kind of goal he has been signed to snaffle – crashing his header in from close-range after Smithies had denied David Nugent.

Nugent was frustrated by the flying Smithies again soon after, before combining with Wood for a goal that was a preview for their potential as a front pairing.

Exchanging brilliantly on the right touchline, the pair cut Huddersfield in two as Wood’s pass sent Nugent hurtling down the right. Nugent, all speed and awareness, had his head up immediately. Wood, all drive and desire, swept home the inviting centre.

Huddersfield were powerless to stop the waves of blue washing over them. Knockaert produced some magic on the right corner of the box before hitting a rising drive fractionally wide. Then some more in first-half stoppage time, drawing two defenders to him before finding the overlapping De Laet to drill past Smithies.

By the break Foxes fans were wondering how many their side would hit, particularly once Smithies had been withdrawn through injury. Six minutes after it, they were contemplating a cricket score.

Knockaert’s remarkable double in the 2-0 win at Huddersfield in October has been one of the highlights of City’s season and the Frenchman gave replacement ‘keeper Ian Bennett a torrid introduction.

First the little wizard pinged Paul Konchesky’s simple cut-back into the corner from the edge of the box, before producing something of far greater acclaim.

Charging down a clearance from the struggling Joel Lynch, Knockaert raced down the right, threw a flurry of stepovers and danced between two recovering defenders. Goal in sight, his wand-like left foot whipped the ball beyond Bennett and into the bottom corner. Truly magical.

Arfield took a small measure of consolation with a close-range finish, despite James Vaughan appearing to be offside, to annoy Kasper Schmeichel with a blemish to his clean sheet.

But Knockaert had a show to steal and very nearly claimed the matchball with another curling effort that Bennett willed round the post.

He had been set up by the excellent hold-up play of Wood and the Kiwi was at it again to create City’s sixth – nodding down another Konchesky cross for Waghorn to volley home emphatically.

Substitute Paul Gallagher fired fractionally over from long-range before James, brilliant throughout alongside the equally impressive Danny Drinkwater, set up another sub, Lloyd Dyer, who was denied by Bennett.

But Huddersfield’s misery was mercifully over.

City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan (c), Keane, Konchesky; Knockaert (Gallagher 74), Drinkwater, James, Marshall (Dyer 66); Nugent (Waghorn 57), Wood.

Unused subs: King, Logan, Moore, Futacs.

Goals: Wood 6, 24; De Laet 45; Knockaert 49, 51; Waghorn 76.

Huddersfield (4-4-2): Smithies (Bennett 46); Hunt, Gerrard, Lynch (Dixon 55), Wallace; Arfield, Clayton (Norwood 81), Southern (c), Hammill; Novak, Vaughan.

Unused subs: Clarke, Robinson, Atkinson, Scannell.

Goals: Arfield 60

Booked: Lynch

Attendance: 25,913 (885 away)



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