FOXES SHOW THEY CAN BE IN THE HUNT

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

HAV­ING missed out on the play-off fi­nal in the most dra­matic fash­ion three months ago, Le­ices­ter City are clearly de­ter­mined to make amends this time around.

Nigel Pear­son's side con­ceded a last-minute goal to Wat­ford in May's play-off semi-fi­nal.

How­ever, the Foxes’ boss did not feel the need to make rad­i­cal al­ter­ations and, on the ev­i­dence of this vic­tory, his faith in his squad looks jus­ti­fied.

Trail­ing to a first-half own goal from for­mer Boro defender Sean St Ledger, Le­ices­ter turned on the style in the sec­ond half.

They claimed an open­ing-day vic­tory thanks to pre­cise fin­ishes from Danny Drinkwa­ter and Jamie Vardy.

With Andy King and Matty James also im­press­ing at the heart of mid­field, it was an ideal start for Le­ices­ter, who re­tain the air of pro­mo­tion can­di­dates, de­spite sign­ing just one player since the end of last sea­son.

Pear­son said: “I didn't feel we were very pos­i­tive in the first half, but, up un­til their goal, it wasn't a great game over­all.

“Both sides strug­gled to have any pen­e­tra­tion.

“It was a poor goal for us to con­cede. I didn't feel we worked hard enough, but in the sec­ond half we made some brighter de­ci­sions when we had the ball.

“Mo­men­tum in the Cham­pi­onship can change very, very quickly in games and I think we were worth the win to­day.

“But, at 1-0 down, it felt a bit pre­car­i­ous for us.

“The squad we cur­rently have is more or less the same as last sea­son, but hope­fully we can go one bet­ter this year.

“To do that, we have to find a level of con­sis­tency.

here was lit­tle in Le­ices­ter's first-half per­for­mance to sug­gest they would run out win­ners, with St Ledger's own goal hand­ing Boro a half-time lead that was fully de­served.

Mustapha Carayol crossed from the left, and St Ledger drilled the ball into the cor­ner of his own net un­der pres­sure from Lukas Jutkiewicz.

How­ever, the game changed en­tirely in the sec­ond half, with Le­ices­ter as­sum­ing the up­per hand from the off and cre­at­ing a suc­ces­sion of chances.

They were de­nied a pos­si­ble penalty when Dean White­head ap­peared to foul Drinkwa­ter as he was about to shoot, but they did not have to wait long for their equaliser.

Five min­utes later, af­ter Jonathan Woodgate failed to ade- quately clear a rou­tine ball into the box, Drinkwa­ter swept home a shot from the edge of the area.

Seven min­utes later, Le­ices­ter were ahead, with the im­pres­sive Vardy find­ing the cor­ner of the net af­ter a slick one-two with sub­sti­tute David Nu­gent. Le­ices­ter's vic­tory would have been even more em­phatic had Ja­son Steele not de­flected Vardy's 85th-minute shot on to the post.

Boro boss Tony Mow­bray said: “We're ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed not to get the re­sult we wanted at home.

“It was a game that started pretty well for us and we played well in the first half and got our noses in front.

“Yet in the sec­ond half we didn't re­ally per­form and they stepped on a lit­tle bit.

“Maybe the flag should have gone up for their first goal, and we lost a bit of our flu­ency.

“They pushed on and we cer- tainly made some poor de­ci­sions de­fen­sively for the sec­ond goal which was dis­ap­point­ing.

“We played against a de­cent side, but we're very dis­ap­pointed in the end, we did not re­ally per­form in the sec­ond half.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

” HUGS ALL ROUND: Jamie Vardy is hugged af­ter scor­ing the sec­ond Le­ices­ter goal. Inset: Danny Drinkwa­ter scores the first

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