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Match Reports

Report: Leicester City 0-1 Crystal Palace

7 February 2015

Joe Ledley’s second-half header was enough to hand Crystal Palace all three points against Leicester as their fine form in 2015 continued at the King Power Stadium.

The Welshman netted his second goal of the season in the 55th minute to hand Palace their fifth win from their last six games and continue their climb up the Premier League table at the expense of the Foxes.

The visitors had hit the same piece of the goalframe in the first half when David Nugent saw a header clatter off the bar, and some good stops from Julian Speroni ensured he’d keep his clean sheet in tact. 

Having slipped behind early on last week against Everton Palace looked determined to make sure they began the game in the ascendancy, and after Jordon Mutch had seen an attempted volley from a corner fly wide a minute into the contest, Wilfried Zaha had a shot blocked by a Foxes defender as the visitors applied some early pressure.

Their superiority told until the 25th minute when the hosts created the first opportunity and Speroni had to be alert as Riyad Mahrez tricked his way past Martin Kelly inside the Eagles box and forced the Palace shot-stopper to save with his feet before Scott Dann’s diving block prevented Leonardo Ulloa from firing home the rebound.

And two minutes later Alan Pardew’s side were indebted to the woodwork when Mahrez swung a corner to the near post where Nugent crashed a header off the crossbar as the balance of play began to shift.

The Foxes had their tails up and Speroni did well to beat away a shot from Jeffrey Schlupp after the winger took the ball down on his chest with Mahrez shanking over when the ball fell into his path, but James McArthur had a chance to put his side ahead but blazed over inside a crowded penalty corner after a Jason Puncheon corner caused bedlam in the box.

Another set-piece, this time from Dwight Gayle, found Dann at the back post but his header flicked off Paul Konchesky and found the side-netting, and just before the half-time whistle Gayle saw a snap volley from a Kelly centre just miss the target.

Pardew shuffled his pack at the interval and brought on Brede Hangeland and Yaya Sanogo but the better chances continued to be created by the home side and Konchesky saw a skidding effort drift just wide of Speroni’s far post.

But that all changed on 53 minutes when Sanogo was beat Wes Morgan to a Puncheon long ball by Puncheon, dummied his way past a defender and saw his effort blocked for a corner, which Gayle swung in for Hangeland to nod back across goal where Ledley was waiting to head the ball in via the crossbar and put his side ahead.

The Welshman nearly went from hero to villain 90 seconds later when his loose backpass was latched onto by Nugent who rounded Speroni and teed up Esteban Cambiasso, who inexplicably decided to pass rather than stick the ball in the net and the chance disappeared.

But Palace had grown in confidence and Puncheon nearly made it 2-0 when Hangeland again caused problems in the area and chested the ball down for the winger who saw an attempted curler flash inches wide of the target.

But Leicester began to pile bodies forward to try and snatch an equaliser and Speroni’s reactions came to the fore with nine minutes remaining when he just about managed to prevent the ball crossing the line when Jamie Vardy flicked another Mahrez delivery towards goal, and then the Argentinian pushed over a blast from the same player five minutes later.

Those stops proved vital as the Eagles held firm to collect another away victory against a relegation rival.

Leicester City: Schwarzer, Konchesky, Morgan, Wasilewski, Simpson (Vardy 79), Mahrez, Cambiasso, James, Schlupp (Albrighton 66), Ulloa, Nugent (Kramaric 71). Subs not used: Hamer, De Laet, Drinkwater, King.

Palace: Speroni, Ward, Delaney, Dann (Hangeland 46), Kelly, Puncheon, McArthur, Ledley, Zaha, Mutch (Sanogo 46), Gayle (Guedioura 78). Subs not used: Hennessey, Mariappa, Campbell, Murray.

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