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Match Reports
Leicester v Spurs, 19.10.03

FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY 19TH OCTOBER, 2003
LEICESTER CITY 1 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0)

Leicester scorer:-
Dickov, 38

Spurs scorers:-
Mabizela, 79
Kanoute, 90

Referee:- Andy D'Urso

Attendance:- 31,521

Teams:-
Leicester (4-4-2):- Walker; Curtis, Sinclair, Taggart, Rogers; Gillespie (sub Stewart, 75), Izzet (capt), Scimeca, Scowcroft; Dickov (sub Hignett, 88), Ferdinand (sub Bent, 63)

Subs not used:- Coyne; Elliott

Booked:- Gillespie, Sinclair, Izzet

Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Carr (Capt), Doherty, Richards, Taricco; Ricketts (sub Dalmat, 46), Poyet (sub Mabizela, 73), Anderton, Konchesky (sub Zamora, 65); Keane, Kanoute

Subs not used:- Burch; Bunjevcevic

Booked:- Anderton, Doherty, Mabizela

Just when it looked like Leicester had done enough to secure the points and lift themselves off the bottom of the table and above a lack-lustre Spurs, up popped debut boy Mbulelo "Old John" Mabizela (who had replaced the ineffective Poyet) with ten minutes to go, to score a marvellous equalising goal for Spurs, who then went on to steal the points with a last minute winner from Fredi Kanoute, made by the art and craft of another second-half substitute, Stephane Dalmat.

With three wins in four games, and just 1 goal conceded in those matches, caretaker boss David Pleat is turning into a very "lucky" manager, but for much of the game today, the performance was to be compared to the Spurs showing at Manchester three weeks ago, rather than the side that stunned Everton at White Hart Lane before the International break. In fairness, you have to give credit to a Leicester side that this morning found themselves below even Wolves, and still find themselves propping up the Premiership table. The home side dominated possession for the first 70 minutes of this game, and had plenty of shooting chances. They just didn't give Keller much to do, and although the goal they scored was thanks to their American ex-keeper (who the home fans were happy to bait, rather than cheer), Leicester's first half lead was merited.

Spurs had fallen into the psychological trap of playing like an away side that believed they needed to fall back rather than take the game to their opponents. As a result, the "K" men - Keane and Kanoute - were often left without any decent support from the midfield, who did not show the energy or the ability to keep and pass the ball that they had in the last fixture. Indeed, Gus Poyet had one of those anonymous days, and Anderton made too many howlers for comfort. Leicester were very physical, and Ricketts was a bit lightweight against James Scowcroft posted on Leicester's left flank, giving plenty of support to Ferdinand and Dickov.

Ferdinand of course was determined to score once again against his ex-employers. Initially it looked like Gary Doherty (in for suspended Gardner) would police Les, but before long a switch was made that gave Richards the job on Ferdinand, and Dickov was up against Doherty. Despite the great difference in size, Dickov gave Doherty a very hard time, as his midfield did manage to pass to feet, and Dickov shielded the ball effectively, often turning Doherty with ease.

With the Walker's Stadium almost full, Leicester made a bright start, and skipper Muzzy Izzet worked his way onto the Spurs area with the help of a couple of exchanged passes, before hitting an excellent right foot shot that Keller stretched to save and struggled to clear. The ball was cleared by the defence. Spurs did respond well, and put Leicester on the back foot momentarily, particularly when a build from right to left ended with Poyet releasing Konchesky for a run. Konchesky's cross was cleared, and Spurs did not manage to force a save from Walker (whose old fans do know how to treat a former loyal servant).

After 13 minutes, Dickov did well to shield the ball against Doherty, with his back to goal, teeing up Ferdinand for a useful 25 yard shot that carried not too much power and was comfortably held by Keller. Izzet then touched a free kick to Ferdinand outside the area, but Les hit the ball several yards wide. On the half hour, Spurs failed to clear their lines from a throw-in. This was particularly frustrating, because Taricco had chosen to let the ball run out of play, when he could have actually made a long ball down the line. Anyway, from the throw, the ball was won by the home side, sending Ferdinand away towards the bye-line, sending a cross that was inches in front of the advancing Dickov.

At the other end the ball was being headed left and right across the Leicester box, and Robbie Keane tried an overhead kick that went over the bar. Dickov then got behind the Spurs defence twice in a minute. First he was heading for a winning one on one with a hesitant Keller, when Taricco did just enough to put Dickov off his shot, but then in no time, the diminutive striker was on hand to receive a flick-on from Ferdinand (possibly in an offside position), before hitting an innocuous shot that Keller allowed through his legs in embarrassing fashion. Ferdinand was even allowed some freedom to advance down the right before hitting another shot into Keller's arms.

Ricketts was replaced at half-time with loan signing Stephane Dalmat, who must have been a potential man of the match for his show. Dalmat certainly made all the difference to Spurs, surprising the home side with his ability to pass played inside and out. It was a while before he made a telling difference though, as Leicester approached the Spurs goal from left and right, without causing too much anxiety by now.

An Anderton free kick was headed out of the penalty area, and Keane tried a volley from 30 yards that landed on top of Walker's net. As the hour approached, Dickov turned Doherty again, and shot, but the ball was once again cleanly held by Keller. Les Ferdinand was replaced by Bent and given great applause by home and away fans, and during this period, Bobby Zamora replaced Konchesky, followed by Mabizela. Once "Old John" joined the game, the midfield seemed to adopt more of a diamond, and no doubt the intention was for Mabizela to protect the defence allowing Anderton more licence to roam.

Leicester were still trying to get that precious two goal lead, and Scimeca hit a nice curling shot after being set up by Dickov. Once again Keller was equal to the challenge. Doherty stumbled in his half allowing a run which led to another threat on goal from Bent, well saved by Kasey.

Then, with little more than ten minutes remaining and somewhat out of the blue came the equaliser. Anderton had sent a chipped ball into the area, which Kanoute and Keane collected. The ball was half cleared to Zamora lurking towards the edge of the box. Bobby rolled the ball back to Mabizela who hit a simply stunning bullet of a shot that burst Walker's net, before he had a chance to think about it! Mabizela had only been on the pitch 6 minutes, and ran to the strong away support in celebration. What a debut! Maybe that will help cure his home-sickness. Within minutes though, Mabizela was in Andy D'Urso's little black book for a lunging tackle on Izzet just out side the Spurs area.

Stephane Dalmat's coupe de grace was to come in the last minute, as he collected the ball in his own half, went on one of his flair-filled runs, raced into the Leicester half, had a 1-2 with a team-mate and then tried to place a curled shot around Walker. The ball hit the inside of the post and Kanoute was one of the posse following up to slap home the winner for his seventh goal of the season. The Spurs fans were ecstatic, whilst the home fans started to slink away, no doubt with thoughts of daylight robbery in their minds.

Sadly, Kanoute was stretchered off in the closing stages, as he was subject to a violent tackle from Izzet, who got booked for his trouble. Although the injury looked bad at first, I understand that things may not be as bad as first thought. I hope not, as I've got Fredi in my fantasy team!

Had Leicester won this game, they would have gone above Spurs, but now they face a nervous trip to Molineux next week, whilst Spurs jump to 11th place, and dream of the top half!

Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here

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