Normal defensive service resumed at an emotional Leicester
Saturday’s trip to Leicester was not just about the ninety minutes of a football match. It was their first home game since the tragic helicopter crash two weeks ago and their opportunity to mourn the loss of their chairman Vichai Srividdhanaprabha.
I’d been in contact with the Leicester fans group reps over the previous ten days or so and it was decided that we should lay wreaths side by side which we did around 45 minutes before kick off as thousands of Leicester and Burnley fans paid their respects at the memorial site.
It was humbling experience, I have to say, and one I was proud to be involved in as a representative of our fans, but eventually, for us, it was about a football match and us trying to get back on track after some awful results in recent weeks.
Inside the stadium, after a tribute video to their chairman, a two minute silence was impeccably observed by both sets of supporters, also remembering those, of course, who have fallen in wars with it being Remembrance weekend.
Once ready to start we saw that Sean Dyche had been forced into one change and made two more. Kevin Long came in for the injured James Tarkowski, who it was confirmed has now had further surgery. Jack Cork returned at the expense of Ashley Westwood while former Leicester striker Chris Wood was preferred to Matěj Vydra alongside Sam Vokes up front.
It wasn’t pretty at times and there were a couple of occasions in the first half when we might consider ourselves fortunate not to have gone behind. One came when Joe Hart couldn’t hold a ball into the box from the right. That enabled Leicester’s Jamie Vardy to get in a shot only for Matt Lowton to make a brilliant goal line clearance. Rachid Ghezzal headed onto the bar with Hart well beaten but the goalkeeper made one good save to keep the scores level.
At the other end, Wood saw a shot deflected into the hands of the grateful Kasper Schmeichel while the goalkeeper was thankful to see a Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson free kick go just wide of his right hand post.
Overall, however, I reckon we would have been the happier of the two sides to go in with the scores level. It was the first time we’d got to half time in a game without conceding since the 1-1 draw against Huddersfield at the beginning of October. Now, could we take that on in the second half and keep a first clean sheet on the road since the opening day of the season?
If we were at all fortunate to be level at half time, then no one could deny that we deserved the point we finally got after a much better performance in the second half. This was much, much better stuff from us. We looked like a side unlikely to concede a goal, the sort of defensive play that stood us in such good stead last season.
This time there were no heroics from Hart as the back four, and indeed the whole team, defended in the way we have come to expect of a Burnley team.
Probably their best chance of the half came while the home fans were applauding Vichai after sixty minutes. Jamie Vardy was played in but Long, who made an excellent return to the team, got in a block.
As the game moved on, a Burnley goal was beginning to look the more likely with Wood coming closest for us but unable to keep his shot down against his former club. That was probably our last real chance and we did have some defending to do in the closing minutes. That included a very good challenge from the ever improving Charlie Taylor and, in truth, one header wide from Shinji Okazaki, we defended that late onslaught comfortably and by the final whistle I really did think we thoroughly deserved the point.
It’s a start. Hopefully we can now push on from there and move away from that bottom section of the table.
The teams were;
Leicester: Kasper Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira, Wes Morgan, Jonny Evans (Caglar Söyüncü 90), Ben Chilwell, Nampalys Mendy, Wilfred Ndidi, Marc Albrighton (Kelechi Iheanacho 60), Rachid Ghezzal, Demarai Gray, (Shinji Okazaki 84), Jamie Vardy. Subs not used: Danny Ward, Danny Simpson, Christian Fuchs, Vicente Iborra.
Yellow Cards: Wes Morgan, Kelechi Iheanacho.
Burnley: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson (Robbie Brady 65), Steven Defour (Jeff Hendrick 55), Jack Cork, Aaron Lennon, Chris Wood, Sam Vokes (Ashley Barnes 73). Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, Ashley Westwood, Matěj Vydra.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).
Attendance: 32,184 (including 1,296 Clarets).
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