Leicester City’s Wes Morgan is sent off in the third minute of Friday night’s 1-0 defeat to Millwall
Adam Redfern reporting from the King Power Stadium
Alan Dunne’s 86th minute strike earnt Kenny Jackett’s Millwall a 1-0 victory and all three points over 10 man Leicester City on Friday evening.
Wes Morgan was sent off in the 3rd minute of the fiercely fought encounter bringing down Andy Keogh as Millwall broke. As last man Stuart Attwell had little choice but to give the Foxes captain his marching orders.
A hammer blow for the out of form Foxes who were looking for their first win in five matches, the last being a 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers a month ago.
Goalscorer Dunne netted with an assured finish deep into the second half after meeting Richard Chaplow’s cut back just inside the penalty area. That the defenders first goal in three years.
With Leicester sitting precariously in the final play-off position, a win was vital for Nigel Pearson’s men who still struggle to find not only a win but goals as their poor run of form continues.
After the international break this according to Pearson himself was their chance to get their season back on course and push for promotion, but Leicester’s luck swing the wrong way yet again.
Things going against them early on, shocking the players and the home crowd. Rob Hulse lofting the ball over the Leicester defence for Keogh to chase. Coming to clear his lines, Morgan collided with the Millwall striker, bringing him down in a potential goal scoring position. Attwell was quick to make the decision somewhat shattering Leicester’s hopes of a much needed victory.
From the resulting free-kick, stand in captain Kasper Schmeichel pulled off a sublime save preventing a double blow and an early lead for the visitors.
Despite the dismissal however the Foxes spirits remained high with large spells of possession and their fair share of chances. With the home side in the ascendancy they almost broke the deadlock first through Ritchie De Laet and then David Nugent.
The latter a rasping effort which narrowly evaded the right upright after the Leicester striker latched on to a through ball.
When Millwall finally got a foothold in the game they threatened Leicester and were unlucky not to go in at half-time with the lead. Jermaine Easter testing Schmeichel from range with again the big Dane tipping wide. The second a Jack Smith effort which deflected for a corner. Resilient defending from the Foxes.
Despite Leicester’s dominance, Millwall would have the ball in the net however, yet Hulse’s tap-in would be ruled out for offside, to the strikers’ dismay.
Hulse would have another chance minutes later after Ritchie De Laet gifted him a chance just inside the penalty area. Schmeichel prevented the striker his goal however with a fine save with his legs.
With the game seeing many individual battles, one which began to hot up was that between former teammates Danny Shittu and Chris Wood. The towering centre half kept Wood out for the majority of the first half yet that did not stop the Leicester striker, who continually battled for the ball seeing numerous minor clashes between the pair.
Going in 0-0 at half-time Leicester would be very pleased with their performance, given the early Wes Morgan sending off which threatened to ruin their evening.
Millwall started the second half on the front foot penning the Foxes in their own half. Rob Hulse came close to breaking the deadlock again for the away side but he headed wide of the target.
The game began to hot up even more and Leicester would feel hard done by when Millwall midfielder Liam Trotter should off rightly been given his marching orders.
First a late challenge on Anthony Knockaert before kicking the ball away, then a late challenge on Paul Konchesky before dangerously bringing down Jeff Schlupp on the edge of the area. The latter of which resulted in just a booking.
Deep into the game Leicester had a great chance to find that all important goal. Superb goalkeeping from David Forde however once again prevented Leicester from victory. Knockaert with a fantastic free-kick into a dangerous area. Hitting a Millwall man, Forde got down well to his right stopping the effort with a strong right hand.
Ten minutes later the first goal of the game finally came, albeit at the wrong end for the Foxes. A minor lapse in concentration from De Laet allowed Chaplow a chance to pick out a man in the box. Feeding the ball towards the edge of the area, the arriving Dunne expertly placed his shot beyond Schmeichel to break the deadlock, denting Leicester’s hopes of a valuable point.
Turning one point into three, Kenny Jackett’s men had defeated Leicester, a much needed confidence boost for them going into their FA Cup Semi-Final.
For Leicester the result leaves them looking anxiously over their shoulder as Brighton threaten to take their play-off place, potentially pushing Leicester out of the top six for the first time since September 23rd.
Nigel Pearson speaking after the game said: “We were pretty unfortunate tonight. The players have worked very hard to get something out of the game and to concede so late is quite cruel and the players don’t deserve that. Having said that we did not defend that situation at all well.”
He added: “We’ve got to stay in the play-off places, that’s our aim but we’re struggling to get wins and as the games run in it gets more difficult. We can’t be despondent, and I can’t fault the effort and desire of the players to get something out of the game.”
Millwall manager Kenny Jackett said: “We didn’t take our chances and pretty much in the second half it looked like the game was petering out into a 0-0 draw.
“I am very pleased for Alan Dunne who has come back into the side in recent weeks and done very well for us defensively, but it’s great that he can pop up with a finish of real composure and such quality.”
Leicester City: Schmeichel; De Laet; Konchesky; Morgan; Keane; Drinkwater (King 57’); James; Knockaert; Schlupp; Nugent; Wood (Kane 83’) Subs not used: Logan; Whitbread; Dyer; Wellens; Vardy.
Millwall: Forde; Dunne; Shittu; Lowry; A, Smith (Abdou 72’); J, Smith; Trotter; Chaplow; Hulse; Keogh (Woolford 90’); Easter. Subs not used: Taylor; Malone; Saville; Marquis; N’Guessan. Goals: Dunne (86’).