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Match Report


Posted Sun 16 Sep 12 at 16:00 PM

City suffered another frustrating afternoon on the road as another second-half fight-back proved insufficient to peg back dogged Wolves at Molineux.

Beaten 2-1 in both of their previous away games this term, the Foxes went down to the same score-line in the Black Country as a brave second-half display went unrewarded. 

Trailing to first-half goals from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and former Fox Richard Stearman, City rallied after the interval and gave themselves hope with a spectacular strike from Paul Konchesky 20 minutes from the end.

But they had just left themselves a little too much to do against the recently-relegated Wanderers, who clung to the points despite a City siege late in the game. 

The result leaves City without a point on the road so far this term, but they return to King Power Stadium for two games on home soil in the next seven days, starting with Burnley on Wednesday night.

Two weeks on from his side’s victory over then-leaders Blackpool, City boss Nigel Pearson was able to name the team that was at least supposed to start against the Seasiders.

Belgian Ritchie De Laet, who was named in the starting eleven for that game before pulling out in the warm-up, had recovered from his groin problem sufficiently to depose Sean St. Ledger at right-back.

Wolves boss Stale Solbakken made two changes to the side beaten in Cardiff a fortnight ago, with skipper Karl Henry returning to replace David Edwards in midfield and Stearman picked ahead of Ronald Zubar at right-back.

Tidy in possession and creative in thought, City looked their usual dangerous selves going forward early-on. A swift four-man move involving Danny Drinkwater, Ben Marshall, Andy King and David Nugent ended with King seeing a shot from a tight angle blocked heroically by Christophe Berra.

But the Foxes conceded the first time Wolves asked a serious question of their rear-guard. The powerful Tongo Doumbia was awarded a soft free-kick after Marshall halted his progress halfway inside the City half, Bakary Sako delivered deep to the far post and Ebanks-Blake arrived to nod the simplest of chances into the roof of Kasper Schmeichel’s net.

It brought a mighty response from the fans behind the goal and a second, frustratingly from another set-piece, was only seven minutes away.

It took a world class save from Schmeichel to prevent Kevin Doyle curling home following a misplaced pass by Liam Moore on 20 minutes. But from the resulting corner, Sako delivered, Doyle flicked on and Stearman controlled his volley well enough to net via the underside of the crossbar.

It already looked a long way back for the Foxes, but they continued to plug away with patience from midfield. Marshall, City’s biggest threat in the first half, drew a save from Carl Ikeme on 28 minutes that was every bit as good as Schmeichel’s before it, and then forced the former Foxes ‘keeper into another low block on 35.

The loss of King to injury on the half-hour didn’t help the visitors in the middle of the park – an area that remained very much Doumbia’s domain as he muscled his way around the park. When the Malian midfielder picked out Doyle with a slide-rule pass on 42 minutes, it took a smart save from Schmeichel and a big block from Morgan to keep the Irishman at bay.

But frustrated as they might have been, the visitors continued to fashion opportunities – Nugent the latest on 44 minutes after being released by Lloyd Dyer, but his finish rose over the bar and into the crowd.

Pearson introduced Anthony Knockaert at half-time to change his side’s attacking options, but Marshall continued to look the most likely source of a goal. On 49 minutes, the England Under-21 international produced a teasing cross from the left, Jamie Vardy attacked it with a glancing header and Ikeme saved instinctively with his feet.

The hosts were never far off the pace though and nearly extended their lead just before the hour mark, as Ebanks-Blake’s chipped ball forward allowed Sako to race on, but his shot from a tight angle was well saved by Schmeichel.

City, with the onus very much on them, looked to be the side setting the tempo in the second half. They worked the ball this way and that, maintained composure when decisions didn’t go their way and finally put their foot in the door with 20 minutes to go.

With black-and-gold shirts ranked in front of him as he took possession 30 yards out, Konchesky opted against picking a pass through them and instead unleashed a sparkling left-foot drive that was past Ikeme and into the top corner before the Wolves ‘keeper could move.

It appeared to be just the fillip City needed to mount a grandstand finish in the final 20 minutes and how the chances began to flow.

Knockaert was at the heart of things, picking up possession between the lines dangerously to create openings. He fed De Laet down the right on 78 minutes and his chipped cross was headed agonisingly wide by Nugent.

Then a minute later, the young Frenchman won the ball back inside Wolves territory before feeding substitute Martyn Waghorn, whose shot bounced back off the inside of the post.

Another frustrating day on the road could have been finalised on 84 minutes when Doyle shot tamely at Schmeichel from Sako’s low cross.

But another single-goal ensured maximum frustration for the Foxes, whose search for an away point continues.

Wolves (4-4-2): Ikeme; Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward; Peszko (Boukari 74), Henry (c), Doumbia (Edwards 66), Sako; Doyle, Ebanks-Blake (Sigurdarson 76).

Unused subs: Davis, De Fries, Foley, Margreitter.

Goals: Ebanks-Blake 13, Stearman 20

City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan (c), Moore, Konchesky; Marshall, King (James 31), Drinkwater, Dyer (Knockaert 46); Nugent, Vardy (Waghorn 72).

Unused subs: St. Ledger, Logan, Beckford, Futacs.

Goals: Konchesky 70

Booked: Konchesky, Nugent

Referee: Stuart Atwell (Warwickshire)

Attendance: 20,030

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