Vardy shows what Ranieri missed
JONATHAN GROUNDS and a Craig Gardner penalty kept Birmingham’s Championship survival hopes alive. But caretaker manager Harry Redknapp was angry at Che Adams’ first-half sending off. He said: “I thought it was a poor sending off. I’ve looked at it a dozen times and he was on the floor, he’s gone for the ball.” Huddersfield, having qualified for the play-offs, made 10 changes. Grounds (left) opened the scoring in the 41st minute. A final-day win at Bristol City will secure safety. Redknapp said: “We have to win next week, a point is absolutely useless.” READING secured a place in the play-offs with a jittery win – and condemned Wigan to the drop after just one season in the second tier. Reading secured the points early on when top marksman Yann Kermorgant (left) nodded in his 17th goal of the campaign. But Royals boss Jaap Stam gave a harsh warning, saying: “That level today was not good enough for the play-offs.” Wigan’s Shaun MacDonald suffered a double leg break in another blow for the visitors, and boss Graham Barrow said: “It’s the third time that I’ve heard that noise and I knew he’d broken his leg.” BURTON manager Nigel Clough hailed his club’s “greatest achievement” as they secured their Championship status with this draw.
George Moncur put the home side in front towards the end of the first half but a goal from substitute Luke Varney soon after the restart ensured Burton’s survival.
Clough said: “We have had to play the likes of Newcastle, Aston Villa, so there are no easy games.
“You have to embrace that and say: ‘We are the smallest club’ and get like-minded players who want to come and fight against the odds.” HOW Claudio Ranieri must wonder what might have been if only Jamie Vardy hadn’t lost his goal-den touch.
The England striker scored only seven in his title-defending boss’s 32 games, and that included a hat-trick against Manchester City.
But what a transformation since The Tinkerman was pushed out of the door as he’s added eight since Craig Shakespeare slipped into Ranieri’s shoes!
And Leicester have now taken 19 points out of 27 since dumping the man who led them on an open-top bus tour of the city after their 5,000-1 Premier League winning miracle.
And had Vardy been anything but a shadow of the current player then Ranieri would still have been in his job.
Vardy’s goal, two minutes from the end of the first half, was so typical of last season’s vintage.
Gliding on to Shinji Okazaki’s slide-rule pass after a dreadful Salomon Rondon’s mistake just inside his own half, he delivered the perfect dinked finish over the on-rushing Ben Foster.
And Shakespeare said: “That goal epitomises Jamie Vardy as a striker.
“He is in that purple patch that sometimes strikers go through and he’s got a good head in front of goal.”
It sentenced the Baggies to a fourth defeat in a row and they’ve gone 42 days – and an agonising 465 minutes of action – since they last scored.
Baggies’ boss Tony Pulis said: “We have talked all week about Vardy in the change-over and we got caught.” ROTHERHAM have gone an entire season without winning away from home for just the second time after a miserable year on the road ended in a draw at Preston.
The Millers did at least double their away-day points tally as Richie Smallwood’s early goal helped them to just a second draw. Stevie May’s effort earned Preston their point.
Relegated Rotherham ended their away campaign with 21 defeats, but boss Paul Warne said: “I think there are green shoots for next season.
“A few games ago I told the lads to use this as a mini-season.”
ON FORM: Jamie Vardy scored his 15th goal of the season