Leicester City 1 Newcastle United 2
- Stuart Attwell
Newcastle United moved into the top half of the Premier League table after picking up their first ever victory at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium.
However, they were forced to dig deep at the end, as Jamie Vardy’s close-range strike halved the deficit late on.
Newcastle got off to a confident start, with Kenedy, Pérez and Shelvey all in the thick of the action early on. Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel was forced to parry Pérez’s second-minute header following a Kenedy corner, and just seconds later, the Brazilian’s looping cross was met by Dwight Gayle, who brought another stop out of the ‘keeper after leaping above the Foxes’ defence.
Claude Puel’s side were struggling to get a foothold, and the Magpies took a deserved lead with 18 minutes on the clock. Pérez played a low pass to Shelvey after checking inside, and – after Harry Maguire and Wes Morgan both got drawn to the ball – the England international wrong-footed the Leicester pair before picking out the near corner with the aid of a slight deflection.
After breaking the deadlock, Newcastle’s attacking threat cooled somewhat, with Leicester able to enjoy a little more time on the ball. With it, though, they didn’t offer a great deal. The home support were incensed when referee Stuart Attwell opted not to award a spot kick after Riyad Mahrez tumbled beneath Paul Dummett’s challenge, the United left back perhaps a touch fortunate to escape unpunished. Otherwise, however, they rarely looked like troubling the Magpies’ backline before the break.
Puel tweaked the Foxes’ shape ten minutes into the second half, bringing on Shinji Okazaki to support Vardy – largely anonymous up until that point. They proceeded to enjoy a promising spell, with Adrien Silva’s attempt from distance taking a nick off Florian Lejeune, before Mahrez saw a low-struck effort deflect wide after gathering Okazaki’s lay-off.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, though, United – having barely threatened in the second half – looked to have made the game safe. Neither Maguire, Morgan nor Schmeichel took charge after Lejeune’s punt forward, allowing Pérez the chance to ghost in between the two centre halves before exquisitely lifting the ball over the head of Leicester’s Danish ‘keeper.
There was still time for the Foxes to set up a nervy finale, however. Demarai Gray – introduced in response to Newcastle’s second – worked the ball onto his right foot just outside the penalty area, swinging in a cross towards the back post. Okazaki nodded it across goal, Martin Dúbravka couldn’t quite reach it, and Vardy was presented with a simple finish from barely two yards out.
Leicester huffed and puffed in search of a leveller, but they were unable to carve out a final chance of note, with United hanging on to move up to their highest position in the top flight since October.