Leicester City suffered a frustrating 2-0 defeat at the hands of Barnsley in the npower Championship on Monday afternoon.
An out of sorts first half performance saw them go behind after just four minutes to a Michael Keane own goal, after the youngster turned Scott Wiseman’s teasing right wing cross into his own net.
Former City man Chris O’Grady then doubled the lead with a neat finish five minutes before the break from a Jason Scotland pass, who also saw a second half penalty excellently saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
The Foxes did create plenty of chances late into the match, but despite substitute Jeff Schlupp having a goal ruled out and David Nugent seeing a header well saved, it wasn’t to be.
City boss Nigel Pearson made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Millwall on Friday night, with Zak Whitbread coming in for the suspended Wes Morgan in defence.
Andy King and Lloyd Dyer also returned to the starting XI as part of a 4-4-2 formation with Chris Wood and Nugent leading the attack in a side captained by Schmeichel.
Scotland led the line for Barnsley, who also made three changes, with Kelvin Etuhu and Stephen Dawson both returning to a line-up that included former Fox O’Grady.
However just like against Millwall, The Foxes got off to the worst possible start after four minutes, when defender Keane put though his own net.
Tykes full back Wiseman raced forward down the right hand side and put in a teasing cross into an uncertain area, and with Scotland lurking at the far post, Keane sliced his clearance into the top corner for 1-0.
Paul Konchesky then fired a free kick over but Barnsley again had the ball in the net on seven minutes - only for the referee to adjudge Scotland to have been offside when he directed O’Grady’s shot into the net.
Buoyed by the early goal, Barnsley continued to pile forward, and Schmeichel needed to be at his brilliant best to deny Bobby Hassell a headed goal at the far post from Wiseman’s free kick on ten minutes.
Barnsley certainly looked the more likely to score as the half went on, with City’s one-touch passing not quite coming together in the final third, as Wood snatched at an effort while at the other end Scotland forced a good save from Schmeichel with a low shot.
On the half hour mark there was a massive let-off for City. Mellis drove a speculative ball forward and found Dawson in acres of space, but when one-on-one with Schmeichel, he attempted a poorly executed chip which dribbled wide.
Liam Moore was then introduced for Ritchie De Laet at right back, having been recalled from his loan spell at Brentford last week.
However the next chance fell to the hosts, with Mellis connecting with a vicious volley on 38 minutes, only to see his shot swerve a foot or so wide.
The front two for the home side were looking particularly dangerous in the first half, and they made City’s task even hard with five minutes left to half time when they combined to make it 2-0.
Scotland took a touch on the edge of the area from O'Grady's flick-on, before playing a nice pass back into his strike partner, who raced through and curled a neat right footed finish into the corner of the net.
City tried to respond before the break and had a chance to pull one back when spaced opened up for Dyer on the right of the box, but he could only find the side netting with his finish.
However just four minutes into the second half, City’s problems were compounded when Konchesky clattered into Perkins in the area, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
Scotland stepped up to take the kick, but Schmeichel once again came to City’s rescue by stopping the striker’s low central strike with his feet to keep it at 2-0.
City did look brighter, but their Danish international ‘keeper was the one keeping them in it, as a double save from almost point blank range denied both Scotland and Etuhu in the 54th minute, before Perkins’ follow-up was ruled out for offside.
Pearson then brought on Ben Marshall for Anthony Knockaert in a midfield re-shuffle moments later.
After Schmeichel was again forced into a brilliant stop from Dawson, City had a chance of their own, Wood latching onto a long ball to head over Steele, but a scrambling Cranie cleared it off the line.
That was to be the striker’s last involvement as he was replaced by Schlupp just before the hour-mark in City’s final change, while Chris Dagnall entered the fray for Barnsley number nine, Scotland.
Schlupp and Dyer were attempting to inject some pace and urgency into City’s game, and Barnsley’s Dawson picked up a booking for a foul on the latter with just over 25 minutes to play.
City continued to push forward in search of a goal, and they thought they’d got it when Schlupp rifled one in from inside the area, only for the assistant’s flag to deny him.
Soon after Moore’s cross was met with a powerful header from Nugent, and the City man thought he’d then scored, only for Steele to fumble it around the post.
There was then confusion in the Barnsley box as Steele appeared to lose Konchesky’s diagonal ball in the sunshine and palmed it onto the post and out again for Schlupp, but Foster blocked his shot on the line.
But after another brilliant Schmeichel stop the referee blew the whistle on a disappointing afternoon as City must now turn their attentions to a trip to Brighton at the weekend.
Barnsley (4-5-1): Steele, Kennedy, Wiseman, O’Grady, Etuhu, Perkins, Dawson, Scotland, Mellis, Cranie, Hassell
Unused subs: Alnwick, Harewood, Dagnall, Cywka, O’Brien, Rose
Goals: Keane o.g 4, O’Grady 40
City (4-4-2): Schmeichel (c); De Laet (Moore 32), Keane, Whitbread, Konchesky; Knockaert (Marshall 55), James, King, Dyer; Wood (Schlupp 59), Nugent
Unused subs: Vardy, Logan, Wellens, Kane
Attendance: 10,425 (2,106 away)
Referee: Andy D’Urso