Harry Winks

Last-Gasp Foxes Take All Three Points At West Brom

Harry Winks pounced at the last to turn late frustration into jubilation for Leicester City as the Foxes left The Hawthorns with a 2-1 victory over in-form West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
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A topsy-turvy final 20 minutes brought a simmering all-Midlands clash to the boil in the early kick-off, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s header cancelled out by Josh Maja at the end of normal time. Just three days after dropping two points at Sheffield Wednesday in the final moments, it seemed history was repeating itself, albeit against the Sky Bet Championship’s in-form team on this occasion. A piercing breakaway in the fourth of five added minutes, though, culminated with Winks tapping into an empty net in front of 2,009 rapturous Foxes fans in the away end.

The biting frost which is quilting the nation this week followed City from the East Midlands to the Black Country, with temperatures not climbing above zero for Saturday’s lunchtime outing. Leicester fans will be warmed by the sight of Enzo Maresca's men still sat atop of the table after 15 wins from 19 league matches. The Foxes Manager – a former West Brom player – made five changes to the side which were held at Hillsborough, with Nigeria pair Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi among those to return. 

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Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall toasts his opening goal - his sixth of the season.

Ten minutes in, Ndidi won possession high up and poked it through to Iheanacho. The former Genk midfielder then slotted the ball to Dewsbury-Hall, who was able to convert past Alex Palmer, but the flag was raised. Iheanacho was offside. After an otherwise uneventful opening 23 minutes, West Brom’s high press led to Mads Hermansen losing the ball on the edge of his area. Under pressure, Brandon Thomas-Asante got a shot away, but Jannik Vestergaard hurled himself in the way. The following corner left City’s post rattling too, with Cédric Kipré nodding onto the woodwork, before James Justin stopped a follow-up from the former Leicester Academy player. 

A short kick from Hermansen didn’t reach its intended target on 28 minutes, although the Dane did well to halt Thomas-Asante’s low drive. A Matt Phillips half-volley also failed to trouble City’s No.31, launched from a tight angle on the right flank. The Foxes needed to get a hold of the ball in the middle and their best chance of the game up until that point came in the 35th minute. A patient but penetrating passage of play ended with Dewsbury-Hall teeing up Stephy Mavididi to slam the ball into Palmer’s near post. Darnell Furlong, diving in to try and divert it, got the smallest of touches on the winger’s powerful hit. He was there again to get a more definitive block on another Mavididi effort moments later. 

A fabulous spin from Iheanacho then left him with no Baggies defenders around him inside the home side’s box. The ex-Manchester City striker had time to pick out an opener, but side-footed it wide, low of the right post and the chance was lost. Into the second half, Grady Diangana’s curler was headed over by Faes, as Carlos Corberán’s hosts searched for an opener. The West Midlands club went into this game on the back of five wins in six matches, rocketing them up the table. They were nearly stung with Leicester's next venture forwards, mind you. When Dewsbury-Hall fizzed the ball across the area, neither Ndidi, Iheanacho nor Kasey McAteer could get the goalscoring touch onto it. 

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Enzo Maresca

Enzo Maresca was returning to The Hawthorns having played for West Brom between 1998 and 2000.

Before long, on the hour, Abdul Fatawu was on the pitch for City, but it was West Brom who were on the front foot. Kipré’s long-ranger, however, was well stopped by Hermansen. Leicester upped the ante and flew forwards with 20 minutes to go. Ndidi’s sumptuous pass – with the outside of his boot – released Fatawu down the right channel. The Ghanaian held it up, waited for Ndidi to catch up, and threaded it through to the Nigerian, bursting through. Palmer, though, was able to make the stop before needing some support from his defensive colleagues to hack the ball away from danger. 

Fatawu and Ndidi were linking up well and it was that duo who combined to create Leicester’s first goal, down the right. The latter’s dinked cross on the byline was inch-perfect, allowing Dewsbury-Hall to sneak behind West Brom’s defensive line and glance it into the far corner. Jubilation for the Foxes fans behind the goal. The task now turned to preserving the lead they’d worked so hard to build and the Baggies began to turn the screw as the 90th minute came into sight. They were initially holding firm as Faes did exceedingly well to send John Swift’s header behind for a corner, but the pressure kept coming. 

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Harry Winks

Harry Winks wheels away with delight after sealing all three points in the Black Country.

With two minutes of normal time remaining, after a long throw into the box, the ball bobbled, ricocheting chaotically in the danger area. It eventually landed at Maja’s feet and he prodded it past Hermansen. It seemed the three points were gone. When West Brom tried to repeat the feat, lobbing another throw into City’s box, this time, Maresca's men were ready. Vestergaard's clearing header got them moving. Iheanacho brought it out and pierced the Baggies open, putting Dewsbury-Hall through on goal. He had a lot of ground to cover, though. He still had the energy in his legs – and Winks alongside him. He waited for Palmer to commit, selecting just the right moment to slide it across to his midfield accomplice to tap it into an empty net. This was a welcome tonic for the Foxes and a perfect start to a seven-game December. 

Leicester City Crest





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