PHOTOS: Leicester City 2, Burnley 1
IT had to be David Nugent.
On the back of an 11-game run without a goal, stuck on 99 career strikes, the former Clarets loan striker must have rubbed his hands together when he saw his old club were next in line.
Five of his 99 goals had come against Burnley - cancelled out when he netted six while borrowed from Portsmouth three years ago in the Premier League.
However, he balanced things up again with a sixth for his third different club against the Clarets to bring up his century.
He said afterwards, after admitting he shinned in the Foxes’ equaliser: “I’d been stuck on 99 for a while, and the gaffer even mentioned it before the game to the rest of the lads.
“It was stretching on a bit, and there was pressure on me to score, but you take any goal when it comes, it’s the longest streak without a goal in my career.
“It always plays on your mind, I won’t shy away though.
“But I always seem to score against my former teams - I’m sorry!”
His effort equalised Dean Marney’s first half netbuster, just 80 seconds after the break, completely changing the complex of the game.
Eddie Howe’s men were looking for their first away points of the season, and looked well on course after boxing clever in the first period.
Instead, they are nursing a fourth-successive away defeat for the first time since the chronic form on the road in the Premier League.
Howe had spoken before the game of making his side harder to beat, and they curbed their attacking intentions, striking when they had chance, but showing greater discipline at the back.
Leicester dominated possession and territory as a result, but were restricted to speculative efforts from outside the box.
And when Burnley sprung, they struck like a cobra as Kieran Trippier fed the ball into the right channel, Martin Paterson spun Sean St Ledger superbly, and he picked out Marney, who unleashed a stunningly true effort from 12 yards into the top corner - breaking the stanchion holding the net up in the process.
Marney also forced the best save of the first half from Kasper Schmeichel with a drive that skidded off the turf, though Nugent hit the bar with a delightful curler from 25 yards out.
Howe, though, would have been by far the happier of the two managers going down the tunnel.
That all changed less than two minutes into the second period when a throw in was flicked on by Jamie Vardy, and Nugent shinned the ball into the ground and beyond the helpless Lee Grant.
Ten minutes later the Foxes earned an outrageous stroke of fortune as Vardy put over a cross-shot which took a wicked deflection off Jason Shackell and again left Grant without a prayer.
Howe changed system to chase the game, shifting to 3-4-3, with Sam Vokes replacing Paterson and Ben Mee coming on for the unfortunate Brian Stock, who had helped Burnley retain the ball well in the first period.
The Clarets had to throw caution to the wind, looking to get crosses into the box from wing backs Trippier and Mills, and they forced a number of excellent opportunities to snatch something from the game.
Vokes hit the base of the post with a half volley after Wes Morgan failed to cut out a Trippier centre, while Vokes again had a superb chance to earn a point when he collected Marney’s pass and looked to shape the ball inside the far post.
Schmeichel pulled off a save, but the rebound fell to Shackell, only for the ball to ricochet off his shins, and the chance was gone.
There was still time for Ross Wallace - on for his 100th appearance for the club - to smash a cross-shot dangerously across the face of goal following a quick free kick that caught the hosts napping, but that slice of luck you felt the Clarets deserved was nowhere to be seen as the ball was cleared.
Gallingly, the expensively-assembled Foxes - on the same points as Burnley going into the game - climbed nine places as a result of maintaining their 100% home record, with the fact Burnley are the only side to score at the King Power Stadium so far a mere consolation.
It leaves Howe’s side desperate for their first away points of the season, with another opportunity on Saturday at Pride Park against Derby County.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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