Dean Smith not blaming James Maddison for penalty miss in Leicester-Everton draw
Leicester boss Dean Smith refused to blame James Maddison after his penalty miss in the chaotic 2-2 draw with Everton.
Jordan Pickford saved the forward’s first-half spot kick, denying the Foxes a 3-1 lead, and Alex Iwobi salvaged a point for the Toffees.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s spot kick opener was swiftly cancelled out by Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy in a thrilling game.
The draw lifted Leicester out of the drop zone on goal difference, with Everton – who lost Seamus Coleman to a serious looking knee injury – second bottom and a point from safety with four games left.
Boss Dean Smith said: “James is our top scorer, if he scores no-one is asking the question. The goalkeeper stood up which not many do. It happens.
“There were times I felt it was two points lost, there were times I felt it was a point gained.
“In the first half we were second best for long periods, the game became a bit like basketball and we were counter attacking at home which is not what we want.
“I was disappointed as we were second best for the first half. There was just so many unforced errors.
“We’ve just played Leeds and Everton, got two points out of it. If we had won one and lost one would that have put us in a better situation because one of our rivals would have had three points?
“We know we will play better, there’s more to come.”
Daniel Iversen thwarted Iwobi early but Calvert-Lewin’s penalty put Everton ahead on 15 minutes after the striker was barged over by Timothy Castagne in the box.
Leicester levelled seven minutes later when Soyuncu steered in from Wout Faes’ knockback.
Just 11 minutes later they turned it around when Maddison sent Vardy clear to round Pickford and score.
Calvert-Lewin then missed a fine chance to level and Vardy hit the bar after a quick break.
Coleman was carried off after a Boubakary Soumare challenge before Pickford’s crucial stop when he stayed to beat away Maddison’s penalty when the forward went down the middle following Michael Keane’s handball.
The notes on Maddison’s technique on the goalkeeper’s water bottle said ‘stay’.
Iwobi took advantage to find the corner after 54 minutes and a thrilling game continued when James Tarkowski cleared Vardy’s goal bound header.
Iversen ensured it would finish level with a fine save from Abdoulaye Doucoure with Leicester unbeaten in their last three games.
Everton boss Sean Dyche said: “It’s a such a strange journey since I’ve been here. When I got here they’d taken five points from 12 games now we’re a point for point on games. Now it’s about taking it on even further.
“Sometimes you think ‘I don’t know how they are 2-1 up’ and I certainly thought that at half time. The composure of the team to keep performing in the second half was pleasing and we’re going to keep needing that.
“I’ve seen this league change many times. We’ve got tough games but everyone’s got tough games, this stage of the season is about tough games.
“Every game should be a must win when you are a professional. I thought it was a very good performance, the will, the demand but also the quality to create things.
“All the markers which usually bring a win were there. They didn’t but we have to keep doing that because it shows there’s a clear shift from the last game.”
On Coleman he added: “We’re waiting on news. It doesn’t look great and we’re waiting on more details.”