FA Cup: Norwich City 1, Leicester City 2
PUBLISHED: 17:15 18 February 2012 | UPDATED: 14:05 20 February 2012
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Norwich City's hopes of a place in the last eight of the FA Cup were ended by Championship side Leicester City as goals from Sean St Ledger and David Nugent were enough to decide the fifth round tie at Carrow Road.
The Canaries could have few complaints after a disjointed display in front of another packed house
Skipper and leading scorer Grant Holt was not included in manager Paul Lambert’s squad of 18, and that in itself must have been a major boost to the visitors.
Leicester took the lead in only the fifth minute when Sean St Ledger headed home from a corner by Ben Marshall.
The Canaries levelled midway through the half when Wes Hoolahan scored from the rebound after his penalty was saved by Kasper Schmeichel. Schmeichel had conceded the spot-kick with a shove on Elliott Bennett.
Leicester thought they had a second before half-time when Elliott Ward cleared off the line from Wes Morgan, when it was a tight decision over whether the ball was over the line.
But the decisive goal came with just under 20 minutes remaining when David Nugent struck his 13th of the season from Jermaine Beckford’s flick.
Norwich, who had not reached the quarter-finals since 1992, seldom looked likely to end that barren run and though there were a few late scrapes for Leicester, there were no real complaints over the outcome.
There were four changes to the Norwich starting line-up after the 3-2 Premier League win at Swansea, with no place in the 18 for Holt.
Goalkeeper Jed Steer made his home debut after his heroics in the fourth round win at West Bromwich Albion, while Leon Barnett came into the back four and there were recalls for Wes Hoolahan and Steve Morison.
John Ruddy and Andrew Surman were relegated to the bench, while Kyle Naughton – given permission to play by Tottenham – was left out after suffering a knee injury at Swansea. Top scorer Holt was not even among the substitutes, but there was a place on the bench for James Vaughan, his first involvement in the senior side for five months.
Leicester also showed four changes after the 3-2 defeat at Watford on Tuesday. Danny Drinkwater – ineligible in any case - and Paul Gallagher were both injured, while defenders Matt Mills and Paul Konchesky were left out. Into the side came Wes Morgan, Tom Kennedy, Ben Marshall and Neil Danns.
Heavy rain greeted the teams on their arrival with Leicester, winners of the previous four FA Cup meetings between the two clubs, given a noisy welcome by their 2,400 travelling fans.
Barnett was hobbling in the opening minute after making a timely clearance, but as play swept to the other end, Morison missed a useful chance to open the scoring. Good work by Hoolahan and Bennett set him up with the chance to shoot, but he lifted his effort over the bar.
Leicester won a corner when Ward cleared from Marshall’s cross, and it was the first of four corners in quick succession, the last of which produced the opening goal.
Marshall’s inswinging kick found the back of the head of St Ledger as he jumped behind Morison and the ball looped into the net.
Marshall fired just wide left-footed from 20 yards as Leicester looked to build on that early goal.
The Canaries won their first corner when Peltier foiled Jackson’s attempt to shoot after a good run by Drury, Jackson glanced a header wide from Fox’s kick.
Ward was shown the yellow card for a foul on Marshall after 16 minutes, Kennedy curling the resulting g free-kick straight at Steer.
Norwich were handed a way back into the game midway through the half when they were awarded a penalty.
Jackson’s shot looped into the air and as Bennett challenged Schmeichel for the dropping ball, the keeper appeared to catch him on the back of the neck and when Bennett ended up on the ground, referee Dean pointed straight to the spot.
Schmeichel made a fine one-handed save from Hoolahan’s spot-kick, but Hoolahan knocked in the rebound, though he almost put it wide.
A backpass by Barnett almost left Steer short, but the keeper managed to clear as Beckford rushed in.
There was a real scare for Norwich on the half-hour when Leicester were appealing for a goal from a corner. Marshall’s kick led to a scramble in the six-yard box and Morgan deftly backheeled a shot goalwards, which was blocked by the chest of Ward, though the defender had both feet well behind the line and it was a tight decision as to whether the ball had crossed the line.
Morgan became the second booking of the day when he fouled Morison. From the resulting free-kick, Barnett sent in a header that Schmeichel grabbed just under the bar.
Morison headed over from Russell Martin’s cross and, as Leicester switched to the attack, Dyer shot into the side netting from Nugent’s pass.
Nugent made room for a shot with a neat turn but his curling effort from 20 yards was never going to trouble Steer.
Bennett shot wide from Hoolahan’s pass in the final minute of the half after starting the move with a determined challenge.
• Half-time: Norwich City 1, Leicester City 1
In the third minute after the restart, Dyer volleyed over from a reasonable chance as Leicester began more purposefully.
Barnett suffered a knock from the boot of Beckford as he made a brave clearance but was able to continue without treatment.
Eight minutes into the half, Barnett almost gave City the lead when, following a corner from Fox, he stabbed the ball goalwards only for Wellens to clear off the line.
Barnett headed just wide from a corner as City prepared to make a double change and, sure enough, Wilbraham replaced Morison, with Jackson making way for Vaughan, making his first senior appearance since September.
Steer saved at the near post from Marshall as Leicester continued to look more confident going forward.
The visitors made a double change when Konchesky and Delfouneso replaced Kennedy and Marshall.
St Ledger needed attention for a bang in the face as he jumped with Wilbraham and the visitors continued with 10 men.
Vaughan’s first involvement was to head over from Bennett’s cross.
But with just under 20 minutes to go, Leicester were back in front through Nugent.
Beckford supplied the flick and Nugent weaved past Barnett and tucked his shot past Steer.
Hoolahan was close to bringing the Canaries level three minutes later when he went on a twisting run and curled his shot just the wrong side of the post.
Beckford might have had a third but for a timely challenge from Barnett but Leicester were now well on top.
With 12 minutes left, Johnson replaced Fox as Lambert made his final change.
Hoolahan wasted one opening by shooting wide when Vaughan was better placed, after battling work by Wilbraham.
In the closing minutes, Beckford struck the woodwork in a swift counter-attack before, at the other end, Russell Martin had a header blocked from Bennett’s corner and Schmeichel saved from Wilbraham, Konchesky just beating Vaughan to the rebound.
Four minutes of stoppage time failed to provide the Canaries with the goal that would have earned a replay, but they could have few complaints about the outcome.
• Result: Norwich City 1, Leicester City 2
• Norwich City: Steer; Russell Martin, Barnett, Ward, Drury; Fox (Johnson, 78); Bennett, Pilkington; Hoolahan; Morison (Wilbraham, 62), Jackson (Vaughan, 62). Subs (not used): Ruddy, Lappin, Crofts, Surman.
• Leicester City: Schmeichel, Peltier, Morgan, St Ledger, Kennedy (Konchesky, 66); Marshall (Delfouneso, 66), Wellens, Danns, Dyer; Nugent, Beckford. Subs (not used): Smith, Mills, Moussa, Howard, Hopper.
• Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
• Attendance: 26,658
• Goals: Norwich: Hoolahan (23). Leicester: St Ledger (5), Nugent (71)
• Bookings: Norwich: Ward (16). Leicester: Morgan (37)