Nugent struck shortly after the half hour as the Clarets' afternoon went from bad to worse. The hosts had already received a hammer blow when leading scorer Charlie Austin, having passed a late fitness test on a muscle injury, was replaced by Martin Paterson after a mere eight minutes.
And it was testament to Burnley's battling spirits that the Clarets made a real game of it despite the loss of their star man.
In fact, Burnley made the brighter start of the two sides and Chris McCann tried his luck from distance after only 11 minutes, only to see his effort go wide.
At the other end, Leicester's Ben Marshall twice came close, first seeing an effort blocked by Kieran Trippier and then bringing the best out of Burnley goalkeeper Lee Grant who tipped his 17th-minute effort around the post.
Paterson brought a save out of Kasper Schmeichel as the Clarets went toe-to-toe with their promotion-hunting rivals, while Leicester's Lloyd Dyer also tried his luck in an end-to-end start at Turf Moor.
The Foxes went into the game without a goal in three matches, but boss Nigel Pearson's long wait was finally over after 31 minutes when Nugent struck home from close range following an assist from Wes Morgan.
Burnley took their time to recover their cool after conceding, but eight minutes from the break Danny Ings just cleared the crossbar from inside the box to raise home fans' spirits.
Schmeichel had to be at his best to thwart Paterson an equaliser from point-blank range after 59 minutes as Sean Dyche's men sensed at least a point was still there for the taking.
Livewire Ings then saw an effort blocked by Liam Moore as Leicester were forced back on the defensive, Schmeichel then tipping another Paterson attempt around the post as the Clarets battled to the end.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martin Paterson
- Kasper Schmeichel