Sunday, 12 April 2015

West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Leicester City match report Saturday 12th April 2015

Jamie Vardy struck late to keep Leicester’s Premier League survival hopes alive and anchor West Bromwich Albion firmly in the relegation dogfight.

On a day when West Brom paid tribute to scoring legend Jeff Astle, it was striker Vardy’s injury time winner that ensured the Foxes fingertip hold on their Premier League status will continue for a little while longer.

The sell-out signs went up weeks ago after West Brom announced they would use the fixture to launch the Jeff Astle Foundation, aimed at researching the dangers of head injuries to sportsmen and women.

For only the second time, the FA allowed a team to wear a changed kit which saw the Baggies players take to the field in a replica strip to that worn in the 1968 FA Cup Final in which West Brom beat Leicester 1 – 0 thanks to a goal by Astle.

The wonderful occasion in the Spring sunshine was a fitting tribute to the Albion legend who died in 2002 from a degenerative condition caused by continually heading a football.
Unfortunately, the Baggies players of 2015 failed to live up to the glories of the past as they slipped to a second successive home defeat after last week losing 4 -1 to QPR.

Everything looked as if it was going perfectly to the script when on eight minutes Darren Fletcher popped up at the near post to flick in a Chris Brunt corner to score his first in an Albion shirt.
But with 20 minutes gone, Leicester turned party-poopers when a quick free kick on the half way line by Esteban Cambiasso was flicked on into the area by Leoardo Ulloa and David Nugent was there to slot home from 12 yards out.

West Brom restored their lead six minutes later when Craig Gardner’s shot from the penalty spot trickled into the net past Foxes’ goalkeeper Kaspar Scheimechel who argued profusely that Albion defender Craig Dawson was offside but the referee Martin Atkinson gave the goal.
In the second half Leicester boss Nigel Pearson staring relegation in the face, decided to go for broke and switched to three at the back. The decision proved to be a masterstroke.

Attack after attack finally paid off for The Foxes on 80 minutes when West Brom players failed to clear their lines from a corner. Nugent headed back into the box at the far post where Robert Huth rose highest to head the ball into the net. The grandstand finish was on.
With a tough run in against Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City as well as Liverpool, West Brom needed three points to ensure their safety while their opponent’s needed the spoils just to have any hope of playing Premier League football next season.

Nigel Pearson sensed his team could snatch the victory and frantically waved them forward. As the gripping game entered extra-time Baggies defender Gareth McCauley was robbed on the halfway line by Jamie Vardy who drove towards the left edge of the box before slipping the ball past Joleon Lescott and powering home past Boaz Myhill to send the 2500 Foxes fans into raptures.
West Brom have it all to do now with just two home games to go while Leicester have a game in hand on their relegation rivals and are only three points from safety. The great escape is well and truly on.

Baggies boss Tony Pulis admitted that with 33 points on the board, his team are far from safe at the lower end of the Premiership table.
“I don’t think we were ever out of the relegation fight. We need the points as I have said all along,” he bemoaned.
“We played well in the first half but the three goals were disappointing. The first goal was lower league stuff!”
Leicester manager Nigel Pearson was full of praise for his team but well aware of the task ahead. “The longer we can keep our fate in our own hands the better,” he said. “We can’t get carried away as there is still an awful lot to do. We have to go out in the next game and perform again.”

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