Kevin Phillips fires Leicester to a 1-0 win at Bournemouth –
LEICESTER boss Nigel Pearson watched Kevin Phillips fire the rampant Foxes ten points clear at the top and then urged his history boys to be ruthless in their bid to complete the job.
Master marksman Phillips secured a hard-fought victory at Bournemouth after netting a controversial 81st-minute winner for the Championship leaders.
The veteran striker had been on the pitch just eight minutes when he rewarded Pearson’s tactical change by finally beating impressive Bournemouth keeper Lee Camp.
Phillips’ header, which was deemed to have crossed the line amid furious protests from the hosts, put Leicester ten points clear of nearest rivals QPR in the race for promotion to the Premier League.
But despite QPR and Burnley’s 3-3 draw further enhancing the Foxes’ title credentials, Pearson refused to get carried away.
He said:“If we are going to be a success this season, we have to get ourselves over the line. Nobody else is going to do it for us.
“There is a long way to go. There are still plenty of points to play for.We would be very foolish to think that we are nearly there. We have to see the job through.
“If you make assumptions, you are letting yourselves in for possible disappointment. We have got to be professional and ruthless between now and the end of the season.”
Pearson praised Phillips after the 40-year-old had finally broken the resistance of the Cherries and, particularly, their keeper Camp to help the Foxes seal a clubrecord ninth successive league win.
The heroics of Camp ensured the teams went in level at the interval after the former Derby and Nottingham Forest man had taken centre stage.
The Cherries keeper produced an unorthodox one-handed save to deny Lloyd Dyer at point-blank range before twice preventing the lively Jamie Vardy with excellent oneon-one stops.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe introduced new recruit Yann Kermorgant, a £400,000 signing from Charlton, and Matt Ritchie at the interval.
The changes, which also allowed leading scorer Lewis Grabban to take a more central role, enlivened the Cherries. Grabban was heavily involved and his thumping drive had Kasper Schmeichel worried as it flew narrowly wide. But the Cher- ries were again indebted to Camp as his stunning save repelled Anthony Knockaert’s crashing header from 12 yards. As the game continued to become stretched, Pearson called on Phillips and the substitution quickly paid dividends.
The former Premier League striker found space to meet Knockaert’s cross at the far post and despite Camp getting a hand to it and Elliott Ward desperately scrambling on the line, the goal was awarded.
Asked about the goal, Bournemouth boss Howe said: “The players felt it wasn’t. I have only had one quick look at it and it looked very close. It looked like it might have potentially been over but it was such a bad angle that you couldn’t tell. We have to give Leicester credit. Nine in a row is a remarkable achievement.
“Our goalkeeper had an excellent day in the first half when he kept us in the game.We thought that would be enough to get us a point but it wasn’t to be.
“The one-on-ones in the first half were big saves for us and gave us belief, going into halftime, that we could get something out of the game.”
Meanwhile Pearson added:“It was a shame that there was a bit of controversy surrounding the goal that settled it but I thought, all in all, we deserved to win.”
OLD HEAD: Kevin Phillips celebrates after scoring a controversial late winner for Leicester