Leicester City 1-2 West Ham United



Jack Collison (pictured) is grabbed by his team-mates after putting the Hammers into the lead in the second half


By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from the King Power Stadium

West Ham came from behind to beat Leicester and take their battle with Southampton for automatic promotion to the Premier League to the final day of the season.

The Foxes had led when Ben Marshall's cross was headed home by Jermaine Beckford just after half an hour but five minutes later Winston Reid prodded home a leveller from Matthew Taylor's centre to level. And Jack Collison scored the Hammers' winner in the second half, firing home from twenty-five yards to leave West Ham just two points behind the Saints going into the final day following their 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough at the weekend.

The Hammers need to beat Hull City on the final day at Upton Park on Saturday and hope that Southampton lose to relegated Coventry at St Mary's. If the Saints draw, West Ham would need to win by three or four - depending on how many goals the Saints score - to clinch promotion in second place.

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson- who saw his side draw 0-0 with Burnley in their previous game- had the luxury of a fully fit squad to select from with Sean St Ledger back on the bench after knee trouble. Andy King came into the team while Steve Howard was among the substitutes with Paul Gallagher and Jeffrey Schlupp left out altogether.

Sam Allardyce named three changes from the team which drew 1-1 at struggling Bristol City last Tuesday with Nicky Maynard, Henri Lansbury and Danny Collins making way for Carlton Cole, Gary O'Neil and Jack Collison with Matt Taylor moving to left-back. Julien Faubert continued to recouperate from a hamstring injury on the bench, Cole was passed fit after his own knee injury while George McCartney once again missed out suffering from concussion.


West Ham have scored in all of their away league games in 2012 and are unbeaten away from home in eight matches after beating Leicester for the 50th time in their history.
West Ham started the brighter of the two sides with their whole season at stake and Ricardo Vaz Te almost got onto the end of Mark Noble's through ball but it ran just too far and into Kasper Schmeichel's hands in the Leicester goal. The Foxes goalkeeper then saved well down low from Collison's shot after Sol Bamba was caught dawdling by Carlton Cole who then unselfishly teed up the Welshman.

A free-kick from Mark Noble, who was named in the Championship team of the year along with fellow team-mate James Tomkins, was headed wide by Cole, who was then only denied by a last-ditch Wes Morgan challenge after chasing onto Noble's 60-yard ball. Leicester showed they would give the Hammers a game, despite having little to play for, and Jermaine Beckford headed wide from Lloyd Dyer's cross in a good spell for the hosts.

At the other end, Nolan flashed a half-volley wide with the outside of his boot and moments later his side fell behind. Marshall won the ball from Taylor on the right-hand side and floated it into the centre where Beckford made amends for his previous miss by putting the Foxes infront on 34 minutes.

However, Leicester's lead was shortlived as five minutes later Noble rolled the ball to Taylor, whose wonderful low cross was converted from close range by New Zealand defender Winston Reid for his 5th goal from the back this season to put everything on an even keel. And with the momentum with West Ham, Vaz Te had a powerful effort deflected wide by Morgan, Tomkins headed past the post from the resulting corner and Vaz Te flashed a free-kick wide all before half-time.

After the break, West Ham continued to chase the goal they needed to keep their automatic promotion dreams alive. Soon after the restart, Noble hit a brilliant shot from the edge of box that went just wide and then fired well over after Gary O'Neil found him unmarked from a similar distance.


Leicester had won six of the eight home matches against clubs higher than them in the Championship table before this one- while they were beaten for the first time in eight matches at the King Power Stadium since losing to Barnsley on 14th January.
And their persistence paid off when O'Neil's shot was cleared by the Leicester defence but only as far as Collison, who smashed the ball home from twenty-five yards with a swerving effort. Kasper Schmeichel got a hand to the effort but could not keep it out on 58 minutes.

Moments later, Collison could have killed the game off but a shot from a similar sort of position to the goal was deflected over by Sol Bamba.

The Hammers continued to push for a third goal to seal the game and boost their goal difference and Tomkins headed wide, while Vaz Te and Collison failed to capitalise on a great chance to shoot in the box.

Leicester's Ben Marshall, bought permanently from Stoke City in January, had an effort from twenty-five yards out that was easily handled by Green. And minutes later, perhaps sensing that the game was not yet won, Sam Allardyce brought on defender Danny Collins for striker Cole and the Hammers saw the game out.

After Nolan missed a chance to add a late third, they almost paid the ultimate price with Green having to save Morgan's last-gasp header in a frantic finish. The 2-1 victory for the Hammers- their 600th in the second tier of English football- means that if Southampton draw on the final day and West Ham win but score four more goals than the Saints, their records would be identical. Their head-to-head record would then be taken into account, which Southampton would win after a 1-0 win and 1-1 draw between the sides in meetings this season. For Leicester, it will be a fourth consecutive season in the Championship for them next year but will still be hoping for a third successive top half finish since promotion from League One in 2008/09.

Adam Higgins
The Football Site- Chief Football Editor

"This was a vital game for West Ham at a difficult place to come. They needed to win this game if they stood any chance of finishing second and they did so they deserve some credit for coming through the match with the three points. Leicester didn't have anything to play for with their play-off chances dissolving weeks ago but they gave them a stern test and Nigel Pearson will be disappointed with the result. Next season is the one that matters for them. It makes the final day mix-up intriguing as to whether either of the two (West Ham & Southampton) will slip up under the pressure. I still can't see West Ham getting in there with Saints at home to relegated Coventry. Hull is a hard match for the Hammers make no mistake about it."



Monday 23rd April 2012

Npower Championship

The King Power Stadium


Leicester City 1-2 West Ham United                         KO 7:45pm              (HT 1-1)

Beckford 34          Reid 39
                         Collison 58


Leicester City:  1 Schmeichel- 7.5/10, 2 Peltier- 6.5/10, 6 Bamba- 6.5/10, 26 Morgan (C)- 7/10, 3 Konchesky- 6.5/10, 10 King- 6/10 (St Ledger 45- 6/10), 16 Drinkwater- 6.5/10, 19 Wellens- 5/10 (Dyer 22- 6.5/10), 22 Marshall- 7/10, 20 Beckford- 7/10, 35 Nugent- 6.5/10 (Waghorn 65- 4/10).

Subs not used:  9 Howard, 13 Vassell

Booked:      None


West Ham:  1 Green- 8/10, 20 Demel- 5.5/10 (Faubert 76- 2.5/10), 2 Reid- 7.5/10, 5 Tomkins- 8/10, 14 Taylor- 7.5/10, 32 O'Neil- 7.5/10, 4 Nolan (C)- 6.5/10, 16 Noble- 8.5/10, 10 Collison- 7.5/10 (Lansbury 88- 2/10), 9 Cole- 7.5/10 (Collins 81- 2.5/10), 12 Vaz Te- 8/10.

Subs not used:  21 Diop, 7 Baldock 

Booked:      O'Neil (30)


My Man of the Match:     Mark Noble (West Ham United)- Rating 8.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:     Guy Demel (West Ham United)- Rating 5.5/10



Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)- 9/10
Attendance: 23,172 



Match Facts

Possession: Leicester- 49%             West Ham- 51%

Shots: Leicester- 6               West Ham- 16

Shots on target: Leicester- 3               West Ham- 8

Shots off target: Leicester- 3               West Ham- 8

Corners: Leicester- 4                West Ham- 9

Fouls: Leicester- 5                  West Ham- 3

Offside: Leicester- 1                West Ham- 2

Assists: Leicester- Marshall               West Ham- Taylor, O'Neil



Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson

"It is a disappointing way to round off the home campaign. We wanted a good performance and result for our supporters who have backed us magnificently in every match here this season. Their clinical finishing was the difference but in the end they had too much for us and I have no complaints with the result. It was always going to be difficult against a side that still has a lot of Premier League players in it and a team who needed a win to help them catch Southampton. Richie Wellens will have a scan on Tuesday. It doesn't look promising at the moment. And likewise with Andy King, who has a foot injury that is maybe similar to his original injury but hopefully isn't as bad. They are things we could do without at this stage of the season, certainly with our numbers being short in midfield at the moment. But we will go out on Saturday looking for a result and then move onto next season where hopefully we can be challenging again at the top of the table."  



West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce

"I think that under the pressure and under the circumstances it was a fantastic victory, especially as we had to come from behind - and Jack Collison's winning goal was a cracker. It is a good night and we have stayed in the race, which is what we wanted, and now we have got to do our job and hope that Southampton get the jitters and Coventry can do us a favour. Hull will be a difficult match for us especially with the way our home form is and they will want to stop us so we know it is going to be hard. The pressure on them will be enormous to finish off the fantastic season they have had and hopefully that will put them off their game. The odds are Southampton will win the game - that is what everyone expects - but football is a strange game and any team on a day can cause an upset, as we have seen all season. To come to Leicester though for us which is a difficult ground to come, Nigel (Pearson) is a fantastic manager and they will be up there next season without question, I am delighted we have got the three points which sets it up nicely."

Click here for match highlights: Leicester 1-2 West Ham United

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