Leicester City ended their losing run with a hard-fought and useful point in an entertaining 0-0 draw away to Blackpool in the npower Championship on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides had chances to win in it a close game, but The Foxes will have felt they could have taken all three points if Chris Wood’s second half penalty had not struck the crossbar.
Harry Kane looked bright on debut for City, going close with a powerful volley and winning the penalty, but despite the best efforts of Nigel Pearson’s men on a difficult pitch they couldn’t come away with the victory.
There were two changes for the Foxes on a difficult surface at Bloomfield Road, with on-loan Spurs striker Kane making his debut in a front three alongside Wood and David Nugent.
Anthony Knockaert dropped to the bench to accommodate Kane, while the injured Matty James was replaced by Andy King in the only other change from the side that lost to Charlton last time out.
Paul Ince’s first home game in charge of the Tangerines also saw him make two changes from the side that fell to a 2-0 defeat to Leeds in midweek as Neal Eardley and Chris Basham entered the fray at the expense of Ludovic Sylvestre and Isaiah Osbourne.
With Kane and Nugent flanking Wood from left and right, The Foxes set out to silence a home crowd buoyed by a raucous welcome for Ince before kick-off with a series of corners with were dealt with well by Basham and Stephen Crainey.
However in the ninth minute a glorious chance for Blackpool to take the lead came and went when Kasper Schmeichel somehow saved a Gary Taylor-Fletcher shot from point black range after a nice ball from Tom Ince.
Blackpool were threatening mainly through 17-goal forward Tom Ince on the counter attack, and with a pitch not-conducive to the type of football City fans would have liked to see, The Foxes attacked both down the flanks and through the middle
In a largely uneventful opening 30 minutes Taylor-Fletcher’s effort that Schmeichel kept out remained the only clear-cut chance as City’s Nugent and Wood were closed down quickly every time they received the ball by the hard working hosts.
But in the 33rd minute Pearson’s Foxes sprang into life. Ben Marshall did well to go up for a header with Craig Cathcart, leaving Kane to fire a brilliant first-time volley towards the top corner, only for an acrobatic save from Matt Gilks to deny him a debut goal.
In the 37th minute Blackpool were almost caught napping from a corner, which was cleared back to Marshall on the right, who wasn’t closed down. The winger was then able to cut inside and fire narrowly wide into the side netting.
However from the resulting goal-kick the hosts swarmed forward, resulting an impressive double save from Schmeichel.
The Danish international came off his line bravely to get something on Tom Ince’s unorthodox flick, and was again alert to parry away Eardley’s powerful follow-up effort seconds later.
Kane then worked a nice ball to Marshall in stoppage time, but Wood was unable to get to his dangerous looking cross ahead of Gilks as the sides went in level at the break.
With the game finely balanced, Blackpool started the second half with real purpose, which was typified by Tom Ince, who forced Schmeichel to concede a corner from a low drive 20-yard strike.
But with just over three minutes of the second half played, the pendulum suddenly swung in City’s favour, or so it seemed.
Kane charged towards the corner flag, chasing a seemingly lost cause and was clumsily bundled to the ground by Alex Baptise and Eardley combined, giving the referee Simon Hooper no choice but to award the penalty.
In-form Wood stepped up to the spot, but his fiercely hit penalty struck the crossbar on its way out of play.
Cathcart and King then made their way into the book for either side for offences on Nugent and Tom Ince respectively, to add a bit of spice to a breathless start to the second half.
Pearson then introduced Lloyd Dyer for Nugent in the 61st minute in a bid to get his side’s noses in front – the former Preston North End striker receiving a hostile farewell from the home fans.
That injection of pace could and should have helped City take a 1-0 lead.
Kane broke down the right and his cross found the run of Dyer at the far post, who scuffed an effort into the path of Wood, who then did the same with his shot to send the ball agonisingly wide from six yards.
While Paul Ince chose to replace Taylor-Fletcher with Nathan Delfouneso in the 72nd minute, Pearson also moved to make a change – Knockaert coming on for Marshall.
But it was Blackpool who threatened next from a free-kick, which was curled just a foot or so wide by Crainey as both sides went for what looked like being the winning goal.
The Foxes then tried their luck when Wood nodded a deep free kick backwards to Gilks’ goal, but it was palmed over the crossbar by the Blackpool man.
Pearson then made his final roll of the dice with the introduction of Jamie Vardy for debutant Kane on 81 minutes.
However, despite the game being end-to-end for the final 10 minutes, both sides were frustrated at the lack of chances as the possibility of a draw became more likely when four minutes of stoppage time were announced.
Vardy brought plenty of energy to the final third in the closing stages, but ran foul of the assistant’s offside flag from a clever knock-on by Wood, meaning the Foxes had to settle for a point in a close and enthralling game at Bloomfield Road.
City (4-3-3): Schmeichel, De Laet, Konchesky, Drinkwater, Morgan (c), Marshall (Knockaert 74), King, Keane, Nugent (Dyer 61), Kane (Vardy 80), Wood
Unused subs: Whitbread, Logan, Gallagher, Wellens
Blackpool (4-4-2): Gilks, Baptiste, Broadfoot, Cathcart, Crainey, Eardley, Ferguson, Basham, Ince, M. Phillips (Derbyshire 81), Taylor-Fletcher (Delfouneso 72)
Unused subs: Halstead, Wabara, Angel, Sylvestre, Grandin
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)