Reds make Foxes pay the penalty..

Wrong way, Kasper!

Leicester City – 2
Nottingham Forest – 2

I’m quite pleased with this result considering the performance level.  Whilst Leicester aren’t exactly on rip-roaring form at the moment, they’re a talented side who I expect to be in and around the play-offs at least come the end of the season.  The source of our equaliser seems to have become the main talking point of the game however.

I imagine if the boot were on the other foot then I’d be having a moan too, probably – but well, no penalties in fourteen months it’s about time we got one even if it’s soft.  Fact is, that happens outside the area and nobody would bat an eyelid at it being given as a foul – that the defender got a foot on the ball belies that his other foot was going through our player, and that he ended up scissoring him.

It was ill-judged and foolish at best, dangerous and uncontrolled at worst.  Plus it’s common sense not to do that in your own area – so I don’t have too much sympathy with mardy-arse Pearson, although can empathise with his frustration as there’s no doubt who the better team on the day were so it must have been a bit of a kick in the nuts for him, particularly in a game that means more than a normal one to the home fans.

“What do you mean my watch looks gaudy and tacky?!”

The only change in line-up for us was due to an injury to Dan Harding, Brendan Moloney replaced him with Greg Halford moving over to cover the tricky left back position with Moloney lining up in his more conventional right back spot.

Moloney    Ward    Collins    Halford
Cohen    Guedioura    Reid
Cox    Sharp

Moloney was immediately under a stern examination of in-form winger Dyer.  Reid had an early sniff of goal for Forest too, but put his effort considerably wide of the target.  It was just six minutes when the home side took the lead, Dyer tricked his way into the box and fired what looked to be an off-target cross-cum-shot that the unfortunate Elliott Ward deflected beyond Camp.

The Foxes nearly returned the own-goal favour, having picked up a freekick for a Schlupp (probably my favourite footballer name at the moment!) foul on Moloney, Cohen put in a dangerous free kick that Andy King almost cleared into his own goal.  At the other end Cohen was on hand to keep a Knockaert effort wide of the Forest goal.

Sharp – isolated up front with little service – won a freekick for the Reds on the twenty minute mark, but Reid is back on to kicking-the-at-the-wall at the moment.  The home side continued to pose the greater threat, a deep freekick from Waghorn nearly gave Wes Morgan an opportunity to put one past his old club, but the big defender couldn’t quite get the touch on the ball.

In a rare moment of nice cohesive football Forest got the equaliser – Cox and Cohen linked up well together with the midfielder getting to the bye-line and pulling the ball back into the middle of the area to meet the run of Guedioura who put a composed finish past Kasper Schmeichel to level the match somewhat against the run of play, it has to be said.

Leicester pressed and immediately won a corner that Forest cleared unconvincingly, whilst Gillett did well to prevent Knockaert causing us problems down the right.  As the game opened up Cox found Cohen in the box, but Chris’s short was scuffed wide with a number of defenders in attendance.

A home lead was restored as Knockaert scooped either a fortunate or a very impressive pass to Nugent in the area, who put a fortunate or a very impressive touch on it to lob the ball just inside the post.  It was a nice looking goal for sure – and Camp couldn’t really do much about the accuracy of the finish.

Dyer really ought to have made it 3-1 shortly after – he was put clear on goal by King but his touch let him down as he tried to beat the onrushing Forest ‘keeper fortunately for us.  There were a number of desperate last gap blocks and challenges that kept the Reds goal from being breached again, whilst Nugent wasted an opportunity from range by missing the target by a large margin.

At half time I don’t think it’s unfair to say that we were probably fortunate to still be in with a shout.  Forest had been disjointed and had struggled to create opportunities whilst the Foxes had proven dangerous and but for some last gap defending and profligate finishing we might well have found ourselves on the wrong end of a shoeing.

The second half started with the home side again in the ascendancy – early in the half Guedioura gave the ball away very cheaply to Nugent whose pass to Waghorn found the forward with perhaps too much time and space.  First time shot and I think he’d have scored, he took a touch and a decent shot which beat Camp, but gave Ward time to get on the line and make an excellent g0al-line clearance.

Despite his goal it had been a sub-par performance from Adlene, and perhaps this was the final straw for O’Driscoll who put Jenas on for him shortly after.  A rare effort for Forest came from a Collins long ball which Cox knocked down for Sharp who perhaps didn’t need to take his effort first time, he did and missed the target.

Camp made an excellent save from a Waghorn  header, then had the undoubted smug moment of watching it back on the big screen.  At the other end Cox was perhaps rash to have lashed a left-footed effort off target when he could’ve set up a team-mate with a more straight forward chance.

Dyer was text to test Camp who rose to the challenge to save the low shot from him, whilst Waghorn failed to connect with a decent clipped ball in from Drinkwater.  Despite the game feeling like somewhat of a forlorn hope from the away end, we were handed our life-line, Sharp was between Whitbread and the ball, the defender’s challenged was deemed a foul by the referee and the penalty awarded (see above for more detail on that).

The most important part of proceedings from our point of view was Simon Cox picking up the ball and stroking it comfortably into the net, sending Schmeichel the wrong way in doing so.  Shot-on-target number two, goal number two – we certainly took our chances – it has to be said!

This controversy sparked the home side into life again – Collins gave away the ball cheaply triggering mayhem in our box.  Ultimately Dyer hit a shot which appeared to strike Gillett on the arm, eventually the danger was cleared with Reid clearing a ball from close to the line.  I’m not convinced it was a deliberate hand ball, but well, we got lucky – you see them given regularly.

Waghorn continued to cause problems but perhaps his failure to convert a chance so far affected his confidence as rather than take on a chance himself he tried to combine with Lingard who didn’t seem to understand what was happening, giving Lee Camp the opportunity to reclaim the ball.

Reidy was withdrawn from Lansbury.  The home side continued to press – a tackle from Moloney gave them a corner from which Waghorn was able to get a free header at the near post.  He put it wide, thankfully.  Shortly after he picked up the ball on the left, but Jenas was on hand to prevent his cross causing any real problems.

An opportunity to really take the piss and claim three points was spurned when Billy Sharp volleyed over with his left foot from a Halford long-throw which had caused a certain amount of panic in the home box.  Blackstock came on for Gillett in a strangely bold move.  Three minutes of stoppage time saw Whitbread head wide from a corner, and Forest actually finish quite strongly, admittedly without creating any real opportunities.

So, all told a good point – even before the game it would’ve sounded good.  Considering our own lack of chances, our fortunate moments in the game particularly the penalty we were awarded, not least the one that they weren’t.