- Foxes kick-off pre-season campaign with emphatic win
- 22 squad members get 45 minutes of match action
- Morgan, Wood, Nugent (2) and Hopper among the goals
- New signings Albrighton, Hamer and Barmby all feature
Leicester City’s Barclays Premier League preparations got off to a flying start on Tuesday night with an emphatic victory over Ilkeston at the New Manor Ground.
In a game that saw City dominate from start-to-finish, it was skipper Wes Morgan who got the scoring underway, with striker Chris Wood adding to the scoreline thanks to a fine header just before half time.
There were then eleven changes for City at the break, but they maintained their momentum with last season’s top scorer David Nugent making it 3-0 with a clever finish less than 60 seconds into the half.
Anthony Knockaert then teed up Tom Hopper for another soon afterwards, before Nugent doubled his tally with just 10 minutes left on the clock.
Ilkeston’s Laurie Wilson turned in Ritchie De Laet’s cross to make it 6-0, but there was something to cheer for the home side in the final minute when striker Andre Johnson fired home from a few yards out to net a consolation.
Wood headed up the attack for the Foxes in the first half, supported by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, but it was debutant Marc Albrighton who was first to test Robins ‘keeper Jordan Smith, only for his snapshot to be saved.
City were looking lively down the right hand side early on with James Pearson and Albrighton, and it was from Jack Barmby’s corner on that side that they should have taken the lead. However Alie Sesay’s powerful header drifted just wide of the left hand post.
With heavy advantages in terms of possession and territory, City continued to turn the screw with chances falling their way in droves. The best came after the goalkeeper spilled Pearson’s teasing cross into the path of Taylor-Fletcher. Unfortunately, Robins captain Joe Maguire blocked his 12-yard effort brilliantly on the line.
On the balance of play, the breakthrough seemed inevitable for City, but when it did arrive, it came from an unlikely candidate.
Following another right sided corner, Taylor-Fletcher cleverly nutmegged the left full back and drilled a great cross into the six yard box, where Morgan was on hand to prod home after staying forward.
The Foxes will have felt they should have been even further ahead though, so when Wood added a second just before half time it came as no surprise. This time the mightily impressive Pearson was the provider, with a tantalising cross from the right wing that was weighted perfectly for the incoming Wood to power his header into the far corner past a helpless Smith.
A completely different XI made their way out for the second half, with summer signing Ben Hamer in goal, but all the action remained at the other end of the pitch, as Nugent picked up where he left off last season.
Less than a minute into the half, youngster Ryan Watson cut back an inch-perfect pass to a well-placed Nugent in the box, who shifted left and rifled home from close range for 3-0.
The Foxes seemed to take no time whatsoever to find their rhythm, and showed great sharpness to hit Ilkeston on the break after 54 minutes. Knockaert led the attack, but despite having a shot on, teed up Hopper for a great angled finish on his left.
After that rambunctious start from the Foxes, a startled hosts began to settle into the game and stifle City’s attack – an audacious lob from Nugent the best they could muster in a 15-minute spell.
All that changed with just over 10 minutes left to play when typically, a Danny Drinkwater dinked pass fooled the home defence, allowing Nugent to charge in, take a touch and poke a right footed finish past the goalkeeper.
Soon afterwards the unfortunate Wilson turned De Laet’s cross into his own net to give City a handsome six-goal lead, that was cut to one in the final minute when Johnson prodded home from close range.
Next up for the Foxes is an eagerly anticipated match against Everton in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday 27 July. Details here.
Ilkeston: Smith, Shaw, Reid, Wright, Maguire, Lane, Morgan, Chettle, Duffy, Richards, Williams
Subs not used: Wilson, Adams, Burrows, Gordon, Bako, Wallace, Atkins, Baker, Dales, Johnson, Grandison, Grantham, Seymour
Goal: Johnson 90
City First Half: Schmeichel, Pearson, Konchesky, James, Morgan, Sesay, Barmby, Taylor-Fletcher, Wood, King, Albrighton
City Second Half: Hamer, De Laet, Schlupp, Wasilewski, Moore, Watson, Drinkwater, Hammond, Knockaert, Nugent, Hopper
Goals: Morgan 34, Wood 44, Nugent 46, 79, Hopper 54, Wilson o.g. 84