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Leicester City vs Blackpool
 2 - 0 
Tue Nov 29 19:45:00 GMT 2011
King Power Stadium
G Scott

City climbed into the npower Championship's top six for the first time since May 2010, as they continued their impressive resurgence under Nigel Pearson with a win over Blackpool.

In an open game where chances were plentiful, particularly in the second half, City were sent on their way by Welsh international Andy King, who paid a fitting tribute to the late Wales manager Gary Speed with the opening goal on 35 minutes.

And after trading blows with Ian Holloway's open, expansive Seasiders throughout an engaging second half, Pearson's shrewdly-organised team sealed the points late-on when the excellent Lloyd Dyer set up substitute Neil Danns for his first league goal in Foxes colours eight minutes from time.

Not since Pearson's first spell with the Club came to a close 18 months ago have the men from Filbert Way occupied a play-off position in the league they so desperate seek to escape. Just three games into the 48-year-old manager's return, they climbed above their opponents on the night and Pearson's former club Hull City to put themselves above that dotted line.

Granted, both the Tigers and Birmingham City could overtake them with the games they have in hand, but ahead of a mouth-watering trip to the KC Stadium - the home Pearson vacated just weeks ago - on Saturday, the Foxes have firmly announced themselves in the race.


The players observe a minute's applause for Gary Speed.


The manager may seek to add some perspective to their position, particularly that a three-game record, albeit a healthy one, does not make them world beaters.

But seven points from nine is certainly a start, particularly given the level of performance Pearson is already drawing from his talented squad.

While doubtless driven by the emotion of recent days on the night, King has been at his best since Pearson's return. He ghosted into areas that struck panic into Blackpool defenders. Even with a numerical advantage in central midfield, the visitors couldn't contain him.


Paul Gallagher challenges Jonjo Shelvey.


He was ably assisted by the rejuvenated Dyer, who began the game quietly but left it to a standing ovation from the appreciative home supporters. Restored to the side under Pearson, his hunger to prove himself has been abundantly evident.

A wonderfully-observed minute of applause in Speed's memory preceded kick-off and both sides set about the game openly - Blackpool interchanging frequently in their 4-3-3 formation.

It was testament to both defences that it took until the half-hour for either side to fashion a decent opening. Blackpool created it, with Neal Eardley crossing well from the right and Gary Taylor-Fletcher connecting with a firm header six yards from goal. Kasper Schmeichel repelled impressively.


Sol Bamba returned to the City side.


City responded with a similar move of their own three minutes later - Richie Wellens delivering an early low ball from the right, the promising Jermaine Beckford making good contact on the half-volley and Matt Gilks matching Schmeichel's efforts.

But the chances were beginning to flow and City took the lead with the next one - Dyer switching flanks to the right, drifting inside and feeding King delightfully through the centre for the breaking Welshman to apply the finish. Speed himself would have been proud of it.

The hosts came out with renewed belief after the break and skipper Matt Mills went close with a brace of headers from Paul Gallagher set-pieces, before Beckford hooked a terrific shot on the turn that Gilks did superbly to parry.


David Nugent beats Chris Basham in the air.


Danns and Steve Howard were introduced, prompting Pearson to adopt a counter-attacking formation and Blackpool's concern grew. They continued to come forward in search of an equaliser, but did so at increasing risk to their own defences.

Howard and Dyer both went close during such breaks while Danns, swapping flanks at will, provided new energy to the forward line. Fed by Wellens down the right, he charged into the box before feeding a ball through the goalmouth that Nugent was just unable to convert.

Blackpool's on-loan Liverpool starlet Jonjo Shelvey, quiet to that point, warmed Schmeichel's gloves with a well-struck free-kick, but City continued to look the more dangerous as Nugent squeezed a shot past Ian Evatt and just wide of the post.


Danns celebrates his goal with boss Nigel Pearson.


And when Dyer's blistering pace made Gilks' decision to advance onto a Wellens through-ball look a foolish one, his unselfish pass for Danns allowed the substitute to beat the recovering defender on the line and find the net. He'll have struck the ball better in his life, but he couldn't have cared less.

It could have been a second successive 3-0 home win had Nugent's deft finish gone the right side of the post as he scampered through moments later.

But by then the points, and a place in the top six, were safe.

City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Peltier, Mills (c), Bamba , Konchesky; Gallagher (Danns 67), King, Wellens, Dyer (Fernandes 88); Beckford (Howard 67), Nugent.

Unused subs: Weale, Abe.

Goals: King 35, Danns 82

Blackpool (4-3-3): Gilks; Eardley, Baptiste (Basham 34), Evatt, Crainey; Ferguson (c), Sylvestre (McManaman 57), Shelvey; M Phillips, LuaLua (K. Phillips 65), Taylor-Fletcher.

Booked: Evatt

Attendance: 21,578 (661 away)

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)



Foxes climb into the top six as King and Danns sink the Seasiders...
 Match Information
  Leicester Blackpool
Goals : 2 0
Possession : 53% 47%
Shots On Target : 10 6
Shots Off Target : 11 5
Corners : 7 6
Fouls : 10 7
Most Fouls : Bamba (3) Evatt (2)
Yellow Cards : 0 1
Red Cards : 0 0
Scorers :
King 35
Danns 82
Full Match Stats
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