Championship - Leicester triumph in derby clash
Neil Danns’ volley gave Leicester the victory and the Midlands derby bragging rights after a 1-0 win over Derby in the Championship at Pride Park.
Leicester were the better side, particularly in the first half, and the scoreline could have been worse for the hosts had the Foxes not hit the woodwork four times in the match.
Derby had a 15-minute spell in the second half where they finally came to terms with their opponents, but their struggling attack went a fourth straight match without scoring, and they rarely threatened the goal.
Paul Green lingered over their best chance on 57 minutes, allowing Wes Morgan to make a lunging block.
The win lifts Leicester back into the top half of the table and keep their slim chances of reaching the play-offs alive.
Leicester had to do without their skipper Matt Mills, who was rumoured not to have travelled for the game, though manager Nigel Pearson declined to answer questions about him before or after the match.
Despite his absence, the visitors started strongly, with Jermaine Beckford’s effort blocked by a combination of Fielding and Jason Shackell after just three minutes.
Not long after Danns caught the Rams napping and his curling shot towards the far post was only parried by Fielding back into the mass of bodies in the penalty area before being scrambled clear.
The goal seemed inevitable, and it came through a move of the highest quality, a rip-roaring counter attack begun by Paul Konchesky, continued by Lloyd Dyer’s run halfway up the pitch and cross to the far post, and finished by a sweetly-struck low volley from Danns.
Danns, who tried several shots from range, could have made it two had Fielding not turned his long-range shot on to the post, but with Derby scarcely threatening in a poor first-half showing, Leicester went into the interval very comfortable.
David Nugent hooked a shot from close range wide of the target five minutes into the second half after being picked out by Ben Marshall to add to Leicester’s tally of missed chances.
Green came closest to punishing their profligacy, as Derby suddenly discovered some rhythm and pushed for an equaliser. But their four shots on target in the match told its own story.
Leicester weathered the pressure and went on to hit the woodwork a further three times.
Nugent saw his flicked header from Marshall’s corner tipped on to the crossbar by Fielding with 20 minutes to go.
Dyer, dangerous throughout for City, almost got the goal his performance deserved, cutting in from the left in the last minute of normal time and seeing his angle shot smack the near post before stabbing the rebound on to the crossbar.
Those near-misses did not matter, and Leicester will go into their next match – another derby clash at home to Coventry – full of confidence.