FOXES DE­LIVER A KNOCK­AERT

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - To comment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/ By Ian Baker

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

LE­ICES­TER LIFE­LINE: An­thony Knock­aert cel­e­brates Le­ices­ter’s third goal

DE­CI­SIVE BLOW: Knock­aert scores the third for Le­ices­ter

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