FOXES DELIVER A KNOCKAERT
LEICESTER manager Nigel Pearson saluted his side’s character after they claimed a dramatic and thrilling final day win at Nottingham Forest courtesy of Anthony Knockaert’s last-minute strike.
It was the Foxes’ first league win at the City Ground in 41 years and allowed them to snatch the final play-off spot at the expense of their opponents on the day as a result.
Pearson was level-headed afterwards but clearly happy to have proved his critics wrong amid rumours that his position was under threat earlier in the season.
“Tomorrow’s another day, I do my job and do it in my style,” he said.“I don’t know if it has affected me, I’m a normal bloke.
“We had an outside chance and things went for us – but we won’t get carried away.We have an opportunity and want to take it.
“Doesn’t this issue the margins of error in the Championship? I can talk about the positives but it was a really hard game. We were only three or four wins away from the relegation zone – it’s a ridiculous league.The most important thing is we’ve had an outside chance.
“First and foremost the players have to take a lot of credit. It felt like a cup final. We couldn’t have started any worse but we showed a lot of desire and control. There were a lot of positives and maybe that gave us the impetus.
“I just tried to keep a balanced view on what was happening. I could see both sets of players were dead in on their feet. It was an emotional day as well. We had to try and win took a risks.”
Simon Cox had given Forest the lead with his first goal in 27 matches as he turned in at the second attempt from Andy Reid’s cross just three minutes in.
But Leicester had the better moments after that with Knockaert to the fore and Karl Darlow enjoying arguably his best game in the Forest goal with several spectacular saves.
Leicester equalised on 24 minutes with a slice of good luck as Matty James’ shot took a wicked deflection off Henri Lansbury before going in.
The visitors were celebrating again two minutes before the break as Andy King headed in on the line from Knockaert’s perfect cross.
Forest should have been back in it before the break with Jeff Schlupp twice denying Darius Henderson and Elliott Ward on the line.
But the home side were level courtesy of Ward’s bullet header from Reid’s 50thminute cross – and then it was anyone’s game.
Forest missed a great chance as Cox lost his footing and it proved to be costly as Leicester got their winner. The Foxes broke at speed, Knockaert exchanging passes with Chris Wood before firing home to leave Leicester jubilant.
Substitute Lloyd Dyer was booked for returning to the field in the celebrations and subsequently spat at by a Forest fan – but that could not mar an incredible afternoon.
Forest manager Billy Davies had conducted his press conference before the match and said: “How can it be a disappointment? Ask Wolves, Blackburn and Birmingham if this is a disappointing position?”
His assistant David Kelly added after: “I am extremely proud of the players, they have been absolutely brilliant. We had a right good go, we knew that we had to score.
“We knew that what was going on elsewhere.We went for it.”
LEICESTER LIFELINE: Anthony Knockaert celebrates Leicester’s third goal
DECISIVE BLOW: Knockaert scores the third for Leicester