Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Leicester City 3 v Derby County 1 - FA Cup 4th Round Replay

Image result for fa cup
Wednesday 8th February 2017
FA Cup 4th Round Replay
at the King Power Stadium
Leicester City (0) 3
Andy King 46, Wilfred Ndidi 94, Demarai Gray 114
Derby County (0) 1 Abdoul Camara 61
Admission £12. Programme £3.50 Attendance 31,648
Leicester City:
Zieler, Amartey, Wasilewski, Benalouane, Chilwell, Mendy (Ndidi 90), King (c), Albrighton, Kapustka (Mahrez 81), Gray, Musa (Slimani 90)
Unused subs - Hamer, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Okazaki
Derby County:
Mitchell, Christie, Keogh (C), Shackell, Lowe; de Sart, Butterfield, Johnson (Vydra 53) Camara (Russell 74), Anya, Blackman (Nugent 82)
Unused subs - Carson, Ince, Baird, Pearce,
Significant line up changes afoot from the original tie played at Pride Park last month, see here.
The Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri said in the build up to the game, regarding his team selection: "I want to protect some players and give others a chance to show they're strength. Tough decision, but we have to do it."
Which I guess is a slightly more polite way of saying: Fuck the FA Cup, we've got games against Sevilla coming up in the European Champions League, there is gossip about my job being in jeopardy and we're only a point above the relegation places.
Steve McClaren's side have got a potential play off tilt to concentrate on, so they have other priorities too, because promotion to the Premier League is worth millions... the FA Cup prize pot cannot compete with such riches.
Personally, I am one of those incurable football romantics, who was distraught when the Football League Division One became the Premier League (nobody will ever convince me that the switch, in any way, shape or form, was beneficial for the game of football as a whole across the country... and it certainly hasn't helped the national team) and I have always believed in the magic of the FA Cup... and still do!
Three, maybe four years ago, I found out that other things I used to look forward to in my formative years, such as the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas weren't actually real, but nobody will ever sway me from  my steadfast and deeply rooted opinion that this competition has special aura. Not even an internationally famous old Premier League winning manager (and reigning champion) and former England manager who disrespected the FA Cup tonight by playing their reserve sides in it.

The first half was scrappy, disjointed, devoid of very much passion and frankly; as boring as hell.
I heard tell that millions of terminal insomniacs across the country were cured by merely watching forty five minutes of live sport on the BBC. Well bully for them, because inside the ground it was far too cold to get comfortable enough to have a sleep.
I have never doubted my reasons for attending any football match anywhere, nor felt the need to justify spending so much time out and about in pursuit of an endless stream of games. Until tonight.
There were two half hearted penalty appeals from the home side in the opening forty five minutes, but speaking from a completely neutral perspective, I would advise Leicester'splayers to check that they were wearing the right sort of studs before venturing onto a football pitch. Gerrup! Shuttup!
HT Goalless
The second half was a minute old when Andy King glanced home the opening goal from close range, after Marc Albrighton had headed Ahmed Musa's right wing delivery back across the goal.
Blimey! At this rate a game of football might just break out any time soon... and sure enough, in the sixty first minute Abdoul Camara levelled things up for the Rams, when he received the ball from Julien de Sart's short sideways free kick and lashed a shot from eighteen yards that beat Ron-Robert Zieler via a wicked deflection.
King headed the ball across the Derby goal from a right wing corner that fell just wide of the left hand post.
Obviously nobody had told the Foxes striker about the impending fixtures backlog or mentioned that progressing to the fifth round would entail a trip to Millwall.

Musa broke toward's the Derby goal out on the left and Jonathan  Mitchell raced from his area to narrow the angle and Musa's knock past him hit/was stopped by the Derby keeper's right hand.
Whoops! A straight red card and a free kick methinks... but the referee booked Musa for protesting when he didn't actually blow his whistle at all.
Max Lowe hit the post from Musa's right wing cross in the ninetieth minute, that's Max Lowe of Derby County facing his own goal... that was a B.I.G. let off.
After three minutes of added time, the whistle sounded... and we got an extra half hour's worth of entertainment for our cut price admission fee.
Oh be Joyful!
90 Minutes 1-1

Of course this meant that the extra services that East Midlands trains had put on so that the Derby fans could all get home, would've gone before the visting supporters would be anywhere near the railway station... as for me, I was only sixty miles away from home and the car was twenty minutes walk away from the ground.
Only a fool would stay for extra time under such circumstances... and I did!
That 5.30AM alarm call in the morning was still ages away after all.
Thesecond half was better than  the first, by a considerable way, though it would've been very difficult for it to be any worse, but extra time was when the game finally came to life.

Four minutes into extra time, Riyad Mahrez fed the ball to Wilfred Ndidi, who raced forward thirty yards or so and spanked a cracking shot past Mitchell that found the net via the right hand upright.
It was his first ever goal for Leicester City.
Islam Slimani, on in place of the industrious Musa after ninety minutes, had what looked like a blatant penalty appeal waved away and the missed an absolute sitter in the first half of extra time.
ET HT 2-1

Johnny Russell fed the ball through to Ikechi Anya at the start of the the second spell of extra time, but the ball fell too far in front of the Rams number eight and he get a decent touch on it... and a chance went begging.
Mitchell turned King's shot from the edge of the area around the post at full stretch.
Having commenced with such a dull opening forty five minutes, this game had really come to life in extra time and the former Birmingham City youngster Demarai Gray added an element of excitement to proceedings with a great solo run and clever finish to score Leicester's third... it was a moment of individual brilliance.
AET FT 3-1