Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Fighting Foxes Back On Track With Norwich Victory

Leicester City jumped back to the Sky Bet Championship summit on Easter Monday with a huge 3-1 comeback victory over Norwich City at King Power Stadium.

City had to come from behind on Filbert Way, trailing in the 20th minute through Gabriel Sara’s finish at the near post from a Canaries corner. Enzo Maresca’s men, though, answered their critics with a stirring comeback which injects a new lease of life into their promotion charge. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's 33rd-minute smart header got them level before a pin-point finish from Stephy Mavididi on the hour and an added-time tap-in from Jamie Vardy sealed league win no.27. Now level on games played with their immediate rivals, but awaiting results elsewhere later in the day, the Foxes top the second-tier standings once again. They’re one point clear of Ipswich Town, who host Southampton, and two ahead of Leeds United ahead of their home clash with play-off chasers Hull City. With just seven games to go, there will be twists and turns to come.

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Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's header got City back on course.

Before kick-off in the East Midlands, Maresca opted for three changes to the XI which suffered defeat at Bristol City on Friday, with Callum Doyle, Ricardo Pereira and Patson Daka coming into the line-up. City made a probing start, pressing high and forcing errors from the Norwich backline. The visitors’ game plan had to be adjusted as well after just 10 minutes when Jacob Sørensen was forced off with an injury and replaced by Shane Duffy. A cutting forward delivery from Doyle opened the Canaries up five minutes later, with Daka away behind the defensive line, but goalkeeper Angus Gunn did well to keep the angle tight and parry the ball behind at the expense of a corner. There were Leicester appeals for a penalty too when Wilfred Ndidi’s cross was deflected behind off Ben Gibson’s arm, but the central defender had done all he could to keep his arms by his side. It wouldn't be the first time City would ask for a spot-kick. 

Twenty minutes in, though, Norwich earned a corner after industrious wing play by Jack Stacey. Marcelino Núñez drilled it in low towards the near post in front of the Spion Kop. In an otherwise static 18-yard box, Sara darted to meet it, poking the ball past Mads Hermansen through the tightest of margins and put his side in front. Although playing well, it was a nightmare start for the Foxes, who had lost four of their last six league matches. That was Norwich's first shot on goal in the game. The home side remained on the front foot, mind you, striving to get back on level terms as early as possible. When Dewsbury-Hall broke through on the left channel, his cross presented an opportunity for Ndidi, but the Nigerian couldn’t keep his header down. Leicester couldn't afford for this to become a day of missed chances.

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Stephy Mavididi

Stephy Mavididi hit his 12th goal of the season to make it 2-1.

They needed to be patient to break down a stubborn rearguard and were picking their passes carefully. With 12 minutes of the half to play, and after Faes’ excellent interception, Ndidi curled the ball onto the head of Mavididi at the back post. The winger chose to nod it back across goal and Dewsbury-Hall was there to head it past Gunn. It was 1-1 and a real cathartic celebration on a bouncing Filbert Way. The job wasn't done, City need wins not draws, but it was a start. That was also Dewsbury-Hall’s 11th goal and 23rd goal involvement of the season so far. More methodical play soon saw Ndidi drag it back for Harry Winks, barrelling into the box, but the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder sent his side-footed effort too close to Gunn.

A tame header from Josh Sargent was next, over the bar, before another handball allegation towards Gibson was ignored by referee Darren Bond. At the outset of the second half, Ndidi was in the thick of things. First his cross-turned-shot needed to be swiped away by Gunn. The Norwich stopper was there again to smother the midfielder’s close-range hit before also collecting Doyle’s header in the box too. Daka, on the other hand, was handed a gift by Sam McCallum when his header back to the ‘keeper was short of its intended target. There just wasn’t quite enough time for the Zambian to rework his feet and get an effort on goal, however. The high press was working a treat for City and, when Faes cut out Gibson’s forward pass, the home side were on the march again. Fatawu fed Ndidi, who rolled the ball across the edge of the box. Dewsbury-Hall found a blockade in his way but was at least able to find Mavididi. A skip and a hop from the winger gave him room to shoot, on the left-hand side of the box, and it skidded through a congested area, rippling the net on the far corner. Leicester were finally ahead and the celebrations said it all – the Blue Army toasting a potentially huge moment in the Club’s season.

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Jamie Vardy

Goal no.16 of the season for Jamie Vardy wrapped up a memorable day for City.

Naturally, there was anxiety, but a third goal would help with that. Mavididi went close to adding another on 69 minutes when he was threaded through by Dewsbury-Hall on the left. This time, though, he could only find the side netting. It was a similar story for Stacey after he galloped past Mavididi down the right at the opposite end. The cheers from the Norwich end were premature, however, and the sigh of relief from the home areas was almost as audible. City’s strategy for the final moments was evidentially to get the ball and keep it, not allowing Norwich any openings. On the back of three consecutive wins and eyeing a play-off spot, the Norfolk outfit would likely cause Leicester issues. With all five subs used, there were fresh legs on the pitch to help them over the line. In truth, the sense of dread of a Norwich leveller had all but fizzled away into five minutes of added time, but that didn’t stop the roof from lifting off King Power Stadium when Vardy was in the right place at the right time to make it 3-1. Winks’ shot had been blocked in the build-up and the ball bobbled to the feet of the Club’s third all-time top goalscorer – never in doubt. Vardy just had to sweep it into a gaping net. Maresca was jumping for joy on the sideliness, followed by those on the Foxes bench. Adversity has arrived at City’s door over recent weeks, but on this showing, they’ve got what it will take to overcome it. Birmingham City are due in Leicester on Saturday.

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