FOXES OLD BOY DICKOV DOWNED
THE King Power Stadium experienced both finalday agony and ecstasy as Leicester’s coronation was soured by Doncaster Rovers’ relegation on goal difference.
Until the last minute of the game it looked as though Doncaster would join the champions’ celebrations, but Paul Caddis’ 93rd-minute goal for Birmingham made Rovers into ghosts at the banquet.
A draw would have sufficed for Donny and for 75 minutes they did enough, but a calamitous error from James Husband gave the Foxes the penalty that effectively sent Rovers down.
But it would be harsh in the extreme to pin the blame on Husband for this failed campaign, with Rovers taking just one point from their final seven games and recording just one win in games against the rest of the bottom six.
Of course, the sympathy of the Leicester fans – who remember Paul Dickov fondly from his playing days – was no consolation to the Rovers boss.
He said:“I’m gutted and really disappointed because it was everybody’s aim this year to keep us in the division and we’ve just come up a little bit short.
“We can look at the result, results elsewhere, but it’s over the course of the season and more often than not you probably deserve to be where you are at the end of the season.
“It wasn’t through a lack of effort from the players, from the club, from the fans or from everybody.
“We gave it everything we had and it’s just disappointing.
“If I’d managed to keep the club up it would have been the biggest achievement of my career, and it’s now the biggest let-down.”
However, Dickov remains confident of remaining in charge next season, adding:“We had conversations with the board before this game. All our efforts now as a club are to make sure we get promoted next year.”
A defensive Doncaster side seemed quite happy to play for 0-0 pending news from the Reebok Stadium.
Good news came through on 57 minutes as Bolton took the lead over Birmingham, with Leicester fans joining Rovers in the celebrations with only the trophy presentation to worry about all afternoon.
And the love-in continued as veteran striker Kevin Phillips received an emotional farewell upon departing his final ever match after 20 years in the game and with almost 300 goals to his name.
But it all unravelled for Doncaster in the final 15 minutes, with Husband fouling man-of-thematch Riyad Mahrez.
And Foxes striker David Nugent stepped up confidently to convert from the spot.
At that point it looked immaterial – but in the last minute of injury time news broke of Birmingham’s decisive equaliser.
Leicester received the Championship trophy as Doncaster mourned, and manager Nigel Pearson was delighted to pass the 100-point milestone.
He said: “I’m very pleased. When you achieve the goals that you want to achieve before the end of the season, in many ways, there’s not a lot of pressure.
“But for us to go out and finish in front of our own fans in a sellout with a positive result and the added benefit of being one of the few sides to go beyond 100 points, clearly it’s a great achievement.
“People will want to talk about it romping to the title but it’s not always been that.
“We’ve had to work exceptionally hard and I think we’ve been very consistent.
“I’m very disappointed for Paul because of what happened elsewhere, but we had our job to do and I think we deserved to win the game.”
NUMBER ONE: Leicester City celebrate as captain Wes Morgan lifts the Championship trophy
ON TARGET: David Nugent scores from the spot