Shrimps and Robins draw blanks
Fri, 18 Jan 2013 23:14:00
David Nugent's excellent first-time strike sent Leicester second in the Championship after a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough at The King Power Stadium.
Kasper Schmeichel was another hero for Leicester on the night. Leading through Nugent's 70th-minute strike, Foxes substitute Jamie Vardy untidily brought Boro captain Rhys Williams down in the area, but Schmeichel plunged to his left to superbly thwart Marvin Emnes.
The adverse weather conditions delayed Middlesbrough's arrival and the kick-off by 15 minutes, but Tony Mowbray's men begin brightly, with top scorer McDonald firing a snap-shot over in the seventh minute after George Friend's cross was partially cleared by City centre-back Michael Keane.
Chris Wood, looking to build on six goals in three Leicester appearances and a hat-trick last time out, collected a slack pass from Emmanuel Ledesma and tested Jason Steele in the Boro goal following Nugent's return pass.
Steele was a spectator in the 28th minute when Anthony Knockaert collected Wood's lay-off from Paul Konchesky's raking pass on the left hand side of the penalty area and unleashed a venomous left-footed shot which struck the underside of the crossbar, bounced down onto the far post and out to safety.
In the 37th minute McDonald was allowed room to drive goalward from 25 yards. Schmeichel pushed behind and thwarted Andre Bikey's header from the resulting corner.
Leicester ended the half the stronger, with Nugent twice drawing sharp stops from Steele and Keane rattling the bar when Wood stood up a chip into the six yard box.
They should have paid for their profligacy eight minutes into the second period as Ledesma's dinked finish dropped wide after a cute, flicked pass from Middlesbrough's Chelsea loanee Josh McEachran sent him clear.
The hosts responded by striking the woodwork for a third time, Wood planting a powerful header against the upright from Konchesky's centre.
Nugent did manage to beat Steele and his goalposts in the 63rd minute but was adjudged to be marginally offside when he stroked home Ritchie De Laet's pass.
There was no debate when the once-capped England striker clinically swept a half-volley into far corner after Wood dinked the ball into his path.
Substitutes Lloyd Dyer and Vardy might have added a degree of comfort to Leicester's evening, before the latter was left to thank Schmeichel for sparing his blushes.
Les Gones had the opportunity to go five points clear of nearest challengers Paris Saint-Germain, who travel to Bordeaux on Sunday, but a combination of poor finishing and several fine saves from Evian goalkeeper Stephan Andersen ensured the spoils were shared.
It was a much-needed point that took the visitors out of the relegation zone, but Lyon will be wondering how they did not come away from this match with all three points.
Coach Remi Garde urged his side not to get "drunk" on their standing at the top of the league and it seemed his players had not taken the words on board in a lifeless opening.
Milan Bisevac brought the game to life however, with his powerful header from Yoann Gourcuff's corner forcing the first of several fine saves from Denmark international Andersen.
In what would prove to be a rare foray into Lyon's half, Yannick Sagbo saw his header kept out by Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre.
The hosts moved up a gear, with both Gourcuff's fantastic 25-yard free-kick and Michel Bastos' low drive from the edge of the box fantastically denied by Andersen.
Alexandre Lacazette had a marvellous opportunity to break the deadlock after the interval, but after being picked out at the far post following some good work down the left by Steed Malbranque, the unmarked France Under-21 international struck wide.
Former Charlton and Brondby goalkeeper Andersen was once more required to keep the scores level with another brilliant stop from Lisandro Lopez's effort.
Clement Grenier fired over from just outside the box, but Lyon were unable to fashion any meaningful chances in the closing stages as Evian's defence held firm.
In a game of few opportunities neither side could make the breakthrough needed to take the three points.
The visitors had the best of the chances and created the clearest opening of the game just after the restart when Shaun Harrad teed up Kaid Mohamed but the striker failed to find the target from six yards.
Morecambe's best effort came in the 52nd minute when Lewis Alessandra forced Scott Brown into an excellent save low to his left from a rare counter attack.
Cheltenham started the brighter with Harrad drilling a low shot wide in the second minute and Marlon Pack tested Barry Roche with a well struck free kick seven minutes later that was heading for the bottom left-hand corner.
The Shrimps hit back with Stewart Drummond showing a neat bit of skill to fire in a low volley from the edge of the box that forced Brown into an excellent save low to his right.
Cheltenham ended the half on top with Russell Penn seeing a shot from the edge of the box well parried by Roche before the Robins were denied a good penalty shout when Sam Deering went down under the attentions of Andy Fleming.