Leicester City fell to their first defeat of 2013 as despite Ben Marshall’s second half strike, a late comeback saw Peterborough United come away 2-1 winners at London Road in the npower Championship.
Marshall edged City ahead seven minutes after the break with a great finish following some great work in the box from Danny Drinkwater and Jamie Vardy, but Davide Petrucci levelled 15 minutes from time with an unstoppable 25 yard volley.
Then with just two minutes left on the clock George Boyd set up Grant McCann to poke a low effort past Kasper Schmeichel and seal an important victory for Darren Ferguson’s side.
New Zealand international Chris Wood was a notable absentee from the City team sheet as Nigel Pearson brought in Vardy to partner David Nugent in attack – the only change from the XI that beat Wolves 2-1 at King Power Stadium last time out.
Ferguson’s Peterborough opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation with the lively Dwight Gayle supported by Lee Tomlin up front, and Boyd returning to the team after a January move to Nottingham Forest fell through.
The Foxes started the game on the front foot, and had Nugent been able to pull the trigger on Ritchie De Laet’s cut back in the third minute it could have been 1-0, but on-loan Manchester United man Petrucci made a timely interception.
Winger Marshall was then felled by Michael Bostwick shortly after, and forced an acrobatic save from Posh ‘keeper Bobby Olejnik from the resulting free kick.
The hosts responded with a spell of pressure from the flanks, but both De Laet and skipper Wes Morgan dealt with testing deliveries from McCann and Boyd expertly to quell the danger.
With 22 minutes on the clock McCann again provided the Peterborough threat, this time from a sweetly struck free kick on the right flank, but thankfully Danish internationalSchmeichel was equal to it and pushed the ball around the post.
After a quiet period the game finally sprang into life on the half-hour mark.
First Nugent engineered himself an opening on the right, his driven effort was blocked into the path of Andy King, whose shot was also blocked, only for Drinkwater and Paul Konchesky to try their luck from range to no avail.
Then at the other end City were almost caught on the counter, but Tomlin dragged a left footed effort wide of the post.
With the 5,000 strong Blue Army urging the Foxes forward, Konchesky again found space on the left to play a low cross to Nugent, who swept his effort towards the corner of the goal only for Olejnik to somehow claw it off the line.
City continued to apply the pressure and had claims for a penalty waved away when a Peterborough clearance appeared to strike the arm of a defender after some excellent work from Vardy to dispossess Gabriel Zakuani on the right.
Both sides came out unchanged after the break, with Ferguson sticking with Gayle in attack.
It was City however who scored with their first chance of the half on 52 minutes.
Drinkwater burst into the area and played a low ball across, which was dummied by Vardy, allowing Marshall to rifle a right footed effort into the top corner for 1-0.
The goal sent the travelling Foxes into full voice and they were almost rewarded with a second within minutes, but Marshall’s stabbed effort from Nugent’s cross was well blocked by Zakuani.
Liberated by Marshall’s strike, City continued to flow forward looking dangerous, with Nugent’s teasing cross inches away from being converted by Vardy at the far post – the same player then seeing a further effort blocked from the right side of the box.
With the confidence still flowing, Vardy again went close with an effort after a neat lay-off from King into the left channel, but Olejnik made a stunning save on 63 minutes to deny him.
To the home side’s credit they responded well, and had animated appeals for a penalty turned away after Petrucci’s volley struck Morgan, who made a further fantastic block to clear the follow-up.
Knockaert then curled a delicious 68th minute effort around the post, while at the other end Boyd tested Schmeichel with a powerful left footed shot from 18 yards.
The hard working Vardy was then replaced by fellow forward Martyn Waghorn with 20 minutes to play in the first of City’s changes.
However on 74 minutes Peterborough’s equalising goal came in impressive style.
The ball sat up for Italian loanee Petrucci to hit 25 yards out, and for the second game in a row, Schmeichel could to nothing about the goal as the ball rocketed into the top corner to make it 1-1.
Lloyd Dyer then replaced goalscorer Marshall on 78 minutes as Tomlin brought the best out of Schmeichel with an angled drive.
Both sides pushed for that late winner, but when Knockaert cut inside and hit a powerful effort from all of 30 yards, it took a slight deflection allowing Olejnik to make a comfortable save.
With just two minutes left on the clock, Tomlin found space for Boyd in the area, who shifted the ball left for the incoming McCann to squeeze a low left footed effort past a diving Schmeichel and make it 2-1 to the hosts.
In a frantic ending, Waghorn fired over from a Dyer cut back, before Tomlin’s shot was saved by Schemeichel and then rebounded up onto the crossbar as the Foxes fell to their first defeat of 2013.
City: (4-4-2): Schmeichel, De Laet, Konchesky, Drinkwater, Morgan (c), Marshall (Dyer 78), Vardy (Waghorn 70), King, Keane, Knockaert, Nugent
Unused subs: Logan, James, Gallagher, Wellens, Futacs
Goals: Marshall 52
Peterborough United: (4-4-1-1): Olejnik, Zakuani, Bostwick, Tomlin, Boyd, McCann, Rowe (c), Little, Petrucci, Gayle, Mendez-Laing (Pritchard 75 (Ferdinand 90))
Unused subs: Day, Brisley, Newell, Knight-Percival, Payne
Goals: Petrucci 74, McCann 88
Referee: G Scott