#PressPass WBA 0 – 1 Leicester City
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Jamie Vardy’s 12th league goal of the season, late on in the first half, sealed a 1-0 victory for Leicester City against West Brom.
Both teams headed into the game in a bad run of form with Albion and Leicester only managing to win one of their last six games.
Albion are chasing a record premier league points tally and need six points to achieve their tally but haven’t scored in their last 4 games meaning 3 straight defeats.
It was an action-packed game with attacks straight from the first whistle. The Baggies coming close just 43 seconds in when Allan Nyom crossed into Salomon Rondon whose shot was superbly saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester responded instantly and got a foothold in the game winning two corners in quick succession counter attacked both of which West Brom defended well.
The Leicester defence were tested 10 minutes as Nacer Chadli meet Craig Dawson’s right side cross but the Foxes back line stood strong.
Saturdays clash was Mark Clattenburg’s last Premier League game before he makes the move to Saudi Arabia and he wasn’t afraid to calm the game down. Danny Drinkwater was shown a yellow card in the first fifteen for his two-footed tackle on Chadli.
But the Hawthorns faithful were quick to vocalise their anger as many people felt that it should have been a straight red card.
Minutes later Jonny Evans picked out a perfectly weighted pass from the half way line in to the path of Chris Brunt whose header from close range was awkward for City’s Danish keeper but he produced the save of the game to keep the scores level at this point.
West Brom was starting to command the game but couldn’t find the clinical finish needed to edge in front.
Chadli had an exciting spell with the most chance the first saved by Schmeichel in the 26th minute. Seven minutes later the Belgium’s low free kick from 40 yards out trickled wide. Moments later Chadli dispossessed Drinkwater but got crowded out by a robust Leicester defence.
With half-time face approaching Nyom lapsed in concentration and the Baggies paid the ultimate price.
The Cameroonian defender passed the ball back failing to spot Shinji Okazaki who collected the ball in a dangerous position and played a through ball into Vardy who slotted the ball first time past Ben Foster’s left hand side.
Both teams came into the second half looking very lively with many attacks in the first few minutes of the half. Christian Fuchs played a ball to Vardy then crossed over to Okazaki who slid in and missed by inches.
A short spell for the Baggies saw Rondon, Brunt and Claudio Yacob all attempt to draw the home side level. Rondon’s initial shot on the volley was straight at Schmeichel who saved comfortably.
One minute later Rondon went through on goal again but did too many step overs and was tackled by the Leicester defence before he had a chance to shoot.
West Brom surrounded the penalty area with a number of good opportunities Leicester were unable to clear their lines. Notably Yacob’s shot went just wide which ended the run of Albion attacks.
In the 61st minute Morrison won a free kick from a foul by Drinkwater just outside the box, Chadli curled the free kick over the wall but flew inches over the top left corner.
Pulis brought on James McClean and Darren Fletcher in quick succession whose run of 86 games came to an end.
The Irish international made an immediate impact as he came close to levelling the game after Fletchers through ball but McClean’s close range shot was saved.
In the 72nd minute there was a controversial tackle on Leonardo Ulloa with McClean in the thick of the action again. Ulloa stayed on the ground but it was clear that McClean won the ball before bringing Ulloa down to the ground.
With ten minutes left West Brom were desperately trying to snatch a goal however Leicester were happy to take a 1-0 Victory and sit back and defend.
The slim victory for Leicester moved them up to 11th which could guarantee their Premier League safety although it is mathematically not certain.
The Baggies remain 8th in the table six points short off beating their Premier League points record but Pulis believes that target is still very much achieveable.
The West Brom Head Coach said: “the players are a great group of lads and there is no-one more disappointed than them in the dressing room now” as they gear up for Saturday’s game against Burnley.
Shakespeare admitted that it was a tough game and the he knew the first goal would be crucial in the outcome of the game saying: “his team had to be resilient and defend in numbers at times”.
Fitting nicely into his role as manager has made the player’s more confident and believes that confidence will be key in Leicester’s league survival.
Oliver 11 and Daniel 15.