Leicester City V West Ham

Post Match Comments
Audio Match ReportSaturday 23rd December 2000
Filbert Street
Referee: G Poll

West Ham boss Harry Redknapp was left to rue missed chances at one end, and a bad mistake at the other as he reflected on a 2-1 defeat at Leicester which means that the Foxes have now done the double over West Ham this season.

Chances for Freddie Kanoute at the end of the first half, and Trevor Sinclair at the end of the second were particularly good opportunities to score.

Harry says:

"The result was very disappointing, we missed enough chances to have won 2 games.

"We defended badly for the goals, the second goal was a terrible goal. The ball was about 50 or 60 yards out and Ian Pearce should have dealt with it. Then to miss the type of chances we were missing, even in the last minute was disappointing.

"Sinclair was through and he's entitled to score there. He was 1 on 1 with the keeper, clean through and just need to whack the ball in the back of the net, but he just pushed it wide.

"Rigobert Song, along with Stuart Pearce has been outstanding. They play with real character and enthusiasm and they've carried us a little bit at the back.

"But we missed the chances. Camara missed a couple of great chances today to get his name on the score sheet. How many chances did we have and how many did they have? But goals win games and they've nicked 2 goals and we've not scored enough.

"We should have won at Upton Park earlier this season, but that was a long time ago and certainly today I don't think we should have been beaten.

"I was quite happy with the way we were playing. I felt for the away team we were not under pressure at the start of the second half. I thought about putting Joe on at some stage, he's only just come back from injury but when we went behind, it made me do it quicker.

"When they scored the equaliser, it gave them a lift but I still thought we were in control of the game. We were disappointed with the goal we conceded and then they came back into the game.

"But we had the best chance just before half time, when Kanoute should have scored when Elliott got injured to make it 2-1."

Titi Camara made his debut for the Hammers, replacing the injured Paolo di Canio, but Harry has laughed off reports that Manchester United will bid for the Italian. Redknapp added:

"Camara missed 2, the one he missed at the far post bobbled up at him. And how the keeper got his hands to Song's strike and turn it wide, I don't know.

"Camara did OK but he's short of match practice. He had a better second half and did some good things but also missed some good chances.

"Song has been terrific and proved himself but we've lost Ian Pearce again. He keeps pulling his hamstring."

"I need to get a couple more players in. I've only spent a small part of the £18 million but when we get one or two injuries, we do struggle."

Robbie Savage was again the chief thorn in West Ham's side with a second-half winner as Leicester moved level on points with second-placed Arsenal.

The shaggy-haired Welsh international had grabbed a winner at Upton Park back in August.

And he again came up trumps to end West Ham's eight-match unbeaten run which had stretched back to mid-October.

Foxes manager Peter Taylor could hardly have imagined that Leicester would not only reach such lofty heights but also stay there for a full half of a season.

Now they will go to Highbury on Tuesday with genuine aspirations of at least securing a European spot after holding out against a frantic West Ham revival in the last 15 minutes.

Leicester have become notoriously slow starters in recent matches and they were again caught cold as Harry Redknapp's side quickly took charge of proceedings.

Frederic Kanoute was a handful from the start and deserved his goal as he was by far the best Hammers player over the 90 minutes.

But, as against Charlton last Saturday, Taylor's side gradually built up the momentum.

Ade Akinbiyi has had a slow start to his City career after his £5million move from Wolves but is now starting to live up to his price tag.

His close control has improved beyond recognition and his power caused plenty of problems throughout for the Hammers' defence.

In midfield Savage was again in inspirational form with his non-stop energy and commitment, as well as his ability to get forward which was perfectly demonstrated with the way he took his goal.

He is the player other fans the length and breadth of the country love to hate but his importance to Leicester cannot be over-emphasised.

West Ham made a positive start and they deservedly broke the deadlock after seven minutes.

Rigobert Song's right-wing cross fell to Kanoute and he got in front of Foxes skipper Matt Elliott before drilling a powerful shot across Tim Flowers from just inside the area.

Leicester struggled to get their game together in the opening quarter although Matthew Jones should have done better with a header which he sent wide from a Stefan Oakes centre.

Gerry Taggart's frustrations got the better of him when he yellow carded for a late challenge on Trevor Sinclair.

West Ham knocked the ball around with great confidence and were in total control but Leicester slowly but surely forced their way back into the match and they drew level after 25 minutes.

Gary Rowett's cross picked out Akinbiyi, whose header was blocked by Song but the ball broke to Izzet and, although Shaka Hislop blocked his first shot, the former Chelsea midfielder forced home the rebound.

Leicester then enjoyed a spell of heavy pressure and Akinbiyi was inches too high with a powerful header from an Izzet centre.

The former Wolves player then flashed a powerful shot across the face of goal but West Ham almost regained the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Flowers blocked Trevor Sinclair's shot but the West Ham player turned the rebound back across goal and Elliott had to make a vital block tackle to deny Kanoute a second goal.

But he was injured in the process and stretchered off with a gashed shin and did not re-appear for the second half.

It made no difference as Leicester continued to dominate proceedings and in the 64th minute they hit the front.

Oakes curled the ball down the left into the path of Savage, who took full advantage of a slip by Ian Pearce.

That left him with a free run at goal and he drilled his low shot under the body of Hislop.

West Ham came back strongly in the final 15 minutes and Flowers turned efforts from Michael Carrick and Song around the post while Titi Camara volleyed over from close range.

Then in injury-time Trevor Sinclair broke clear of the City defence but drilled his shot across goal.