LEICESTER CITY v WEST HAM UNITED
MONDAY 23 APRIL 2012
Final score - Leicester City 1-2 West Ham United
95 mins - The final whistle is blown! West Ham have won on the road again. Thirteen away wins and the automatic promotion race goes to the final day. We're all Coventry City fans now! West Ham deserved that. They played well, better than Leicester. Collison is the match-winner and we can dream of a top-two finish for a few days more. Can it happen? Let's hope so. Don't forget, West Ham TV will have exclusive highlights and reaction from tonight's game. There are less than 1,500 tickets left for Saturday's Season Finale against Hull City. To buy yours now, click here.
94 mins - Thirty seconds to go. Nolan is flagged for offside and Schmeichel will pump the ball into the box. Morgan wins the header but Green is there to make the save.
93 mins - It should be 3-1 as Nolan gets in behind and is completely in the clear. He has only Schmeichel to beat, takes a touch and then is denied as the goalkeeper charges down his shot. Good save, but the skipper will think he should have scored there. Let's hope the miss is not costly come Saturday at about 2.30pm.
92 mins - Less than three minutes to go as Collins and Taylor combine to repel the latest Leicester raid. Schmeichel belts the ball forward again and Lansbury wins a throw. The away fans are enjoying themselves, and well they might.
91 mins - Into the first of four added minutes. A cross comes in and it's too deep for Bamba. Goal kick. 'Is there a fire drill?!' sing the away hordes.
90 mins - Into the final minute and Faubert heads Peltier's cross straight to Waghorn 20 yards out. He shoots first-time with his left foot but gets it all wrong and the ball flies over the top. That is the cue for an exodus of home supporters.
87 mins - So close to an own-goal by St.Ledger, who stretches for Taylor's low cross and pokes the ball JUST wide of the near post. Corner. West Ham replace Collison with Henri Lansbury for the final five minutes or so. As things stand, the Wales international will be the match-winner. Don't forget, the Development Squad go to Cambridge United for a friendly tomorrow night, with kick-off at 7pm. The corner is taken short and Taylor can only concede a goal kick after some shielding of the ball near the flag.
86 mins - Time is ticking by and West Ham are standing firm as Leicester launch a late assault for the equaliser. Faubert is there this time, controlling and clearing for a throw inside the Foxes half.
83 mins - Unlucky. Vaz Te and Nolan combine before the former seeks out the run of Taylor. It's too strong though, and Schmeichel collects. The West Ham faithful are singing a bit of 'We are West Ham's Claret and Blue Army'.
81 mins - Cole has worked hard and now he'll be replaced. Danny Collins will replace him. Vaz Te will presumably go up front, Taylor into midfield and Collins to left-back. We shall see, though.
80 mins - A win would also complete a seventh 'double' of the season. Big Sam's men have beaten Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth, Coventry City, Brighton and Hove Albion, Barnsley, Blackpool and Peterborough United home and away this term. It might not be a win though as Marshall shoots from 25 yards and Green catches well in front of his body.
78 mins - Time is running out for the Foxes to avoid falling to a second defeat of the season by West Ham. Should they win, the Hammers would chalk up a club record-breaking 13th away league win of the season.
76 mins - Demel is replaced by Faubert. The right-back high-fives fellow Ivorian Bamba on his way off the pitch.
76 mins - Julien Faubert is stripped and will be on soon. Before he can get on Dyer bursts to the byline and crosses, but the ball is headed clear.
74 mins - Decent chance for Collison. Cole holds off Morgan from Taylor's pass and Vaz Te slips in between the two and gets into the box. He squares for Collison, but the scorer hesitates just long enough for Leicester to clear through St.Ledger. Agonising.
72 mins - I wonder if Big Sam is tempted to change anything? It's a toss-up between protecting a lead and going for another important goal. If West Ham win Saturday and Southampton draw, they're still going to need to overturn a three-goal difference as things stand...
71 mins - The fans are singing the 'Ludo Miklosko' song as Waghorn fouls Noble. The ball is worked wide right but Cole cannot control the cross.
69 mins - O'Neil works hard and wins a corner over on the far side. Taylor takes in front of the West Ham fans. Tomkins wins it AGAIN. The ball is headed clear to Cole, whose volley bounces off the turf and is headed out. Tomkins wins it AGAIN but his effort goes a yard or two wide.
68 mins - Marshall is a lively customer. He gets to the byline and crosses deep. Demel heads behind again. Corner. Cole heads clear to halfway and Vaz Te wins a throw.
67 mins - Leicester have a corner as Demel glances behind. Green punches out of his box and Vaz Te does well but Taylor cannot release him with the return pass.
65 mins - Before the game restarts, I can tell you that there are 23,172 fans here tonight, including 2,327 from West Ham.
64 mins - Taylor's corner is aimed towards Tomkins. He glances wide before spinning in the air and landing face-first on the turf. He needs the physio on. The break in play sees Nugent replaced by Martyn Waghorn.
63 mins - Bamba is playing like a winger here. He beats two men and then fires in a low cross that is deflected behind for a corner. The flag-kick is taken Marshall and cleared. West Ham break and Taylor robs Konchesky before winning a corner for the Hammers with a deep cross towards Collison.
61 mins - Counter-attack! Nolan flicks on Taylor's forward pass to Vaz Te. He cuts inside and then backheels to Collison. The No10 drops a shoulder and shoots, but his shot gets a deflection off Morgan and loops just wide. Noble curls the corner over and Tomkins' header lands on top of the net. A third might kill Leicester off here.
59 mins - GOAL! What a goal by Jack Collison. O'Neil's shot is blocked by a defender. The No32 tries to react quickest but falls over. Collison takes advantage by hammering the ball low and hard towards the bottom-left hand corner from at least 25 yards. Schmeichel gets a touch but can only divert the ball into the top corner.
58 mins - Sam Baldock is going to be on in a minute.
57 mins - What a chance. Nolan has acres and all the time in the world to take a touch as the ball is passed inside by Noble. Instead he opens up his body and has a go first-time from 22 yards and the ball flies miles over the top. Nolan slides to his knees, head in hands.
55 mins - This game has got a cup tie feel about it. For Leicester, they might as well go for it. They have nothing to lose. West Ham simply have to go for it. It's going to only get more and more stretched.
54 mins - A clearance falls to Bamba about 40 yards out. He is urged to shoot. He does and the ball bobbles wide. Nolan is changing his footwear.
53 mins - Leicester show for the first time since the break, but Konchesky's cross is blocked.
51 mins - Cole has a good chance to let the ball run and he would be into the box. Instead, he checks back and then passes the ball to a Leicester player. He could have been more positive there, the big man. No matter, another chance will come.
50 mins - Really good pressing from O'Neil is rewarded when Vaz Te crosses and Nolan wins a corner. Noble again aims for Tomkins, but he is just eased away from the ball and it bounces away and behind for a goal kick.
48 mins - A journalist just said to me on the walk back up to the Press Box 'You should be ahead' and he is right. West Ham have played really well so far.
47 mins - Good positive play from Collison, who plays a one-two with Taylor before winning a corner. Great stuff. Noble's corner is headed out by Tomkins, but Taylor prods it back to Noble. He cuts inside one defender and lets fly but the ball curls just wide of the far post. Unlucky.
46 mins - West Ham kick-off and the long ball forward drop to Vaz Te. He cuts across the pitch about 30 yards out before trying to find Demel, but it is overhit.
Leicester are making another change and it's Sean St.Ledger on for Andy King. Bamba goes into midfield.
West Ham are the first team to emerge from the tunnel for the second half. The equation is simple. Score or it's the Play-Offs.
Half-time score - Leicester City 1-1 West Ham United
48 mins - Bamba clears for a throw. The Leicester fans find it very amusing when the ball is thrown back and hits Big Sam. West Ham ignore the comedy and cross, but Schmeichel collects. He clears long and that's half-time.
47 mins - Nolan buys a free-kick about 35 yards out in a central position. Is it too far out for a shot? Vaz Te thinks not but his thunderbolt is a fair way wide.
46 mins - We're into the first of three added minutes. Marshall crosses and it's awkward for Green, but he collects well by his near post.
45 mins - Collison and Demel combine and the latter wins a corner. Taylor takes deep and Tomkins is there again, rising high and heading down and JUST wide.
44 mins - This first half has flown by. It's been a really flowing game so far. Easy on the eye, they call it.
42 mins - Leicester have a corner as the ball takes a deflection of a Hammers defender. Marshall takes it and Nolan heads clear bravely and powerfully before being taken out. That was some header. Free-kick to West Ham and Nolan takes a bit of time getting to his feet.
41 mins - Noble's corner is claimed by Schmeichel. He tries to send Beckford away, but the ball skims through to Green.
40 mins - Reid has the ball 45 yards out and the Hammers fans urge him to shoot! He doesn't but his cross is headed down by Nolan to Vaz Te, whose fierce shot is scrambled behind for a corner. That was moving.
39 mins - GOAL! Reid! Collison's deep cross is worked to Taylor and he does what he does best, smashing a low left-foot cross along the face of the six-yard box and Reid converts from there.
38 mins - The West Ham fans are taking a positive slant on things, singing 'Que sera sera, we're going to Wembley!'. Meanwhile, Taylor wins a corner off Peltier.
37 mins - Two crossing chances come to nothing, the first from O'Neil the second from Demel. West Ham need a reply quickly if they are to maintain their hopes of a top-two finish.
36 mins - The goal came from Leicester's first effort on target. The frustrating thing for the 2,350 travelling fans is that the Hammers have had the majority of the play so far.
34 mins - GOAL! After controlling much of the game for the opening 34 minutes, West Ham fall behind. Taylor loses out wide on the left and Marshall crosses. Beckford has time and space to head down at the far post and the ball flies into the net.
31 mins - The goalkeeper clears quickly to Dyer, who is away until O'Neil pulls him back. A booking for the midfielder. The free-kick is taken quickly and Dyer gets away again, but his low cross is cleared by Demel at the near post.
30 mins - Noble makes a good and vital interception on the edge of his own box and sparks a counter by playing a one-two with O'Neil. The cross comes over from Collison and drops to Nolan, but he is crowded out. Moments later, another cross comes over but Collison heads straight to Schmeichel.
29 mins - Another close call as the ball drops to Nolan from Vaz Te's header. He volleys first-time from the left corner of the box, but the ball flashes across the face of goal and a yard or three wide.
28 mins - Decent build-up and pressing from the Hammers. Vaz Te and Noble are involved before Nolan finds Collison. He cuts on to his left and shoots, but it's an easy catch for the goalkeeper.
25 mins - Chance for Beckford. Dyer is over on the left now and he gets by Demel to the byline. He crosses hard and at head height. Beckford is slightly ahead of the near post when he heads down and the ball bounces wide of the post. A warning that Dyer can be a real threat when allowed to run with the ball.
23 mins - Wellens needs to go off. Lloyd Dyer is on in his place. Dyer will play wide on the right, with Drinkwater partnering King in the middle. Dyer is fast.
21 mins - There is trouble brewing as Drinkwater breaks in behind Taylor, who is caught upfield. Thankfully, the cross is poor and O'Neil heads clear, despite there being at least three blue shirts inside the box.
20 mins - Wellens is back on. West Ham have been decent so far, without forcing Schmeichel into anything too taxing.
18 mins - The Leicester physio is on for Wellens to receive treatment. Both sets of players make use of the stoppage for a drink and a chat with their respective coaching teams.
16 mins - The Hammers fans are providing all the noise and they should have more to shout about as Noble clips a ball over the top of Bamba for Cole to chase. He is goalside of the centre-back and onside, but does not drive forward into the box with sufficient purpose. The defender gets back in and makes a challenge. Both players go to ground and Schmeichel hops over them to collect.
15 mins - Was that a good chance or was it too high? Cole gets his head to the cross but it flashes wide of the far post.
14 mins - The hosts come again, but Nolan is there to clear up. Green clears long and Cole wins a free-kick from Morgan. This is dangerous, literally four yards outside the box, wide on the Hammers left. Noble to take it...
13 mins - Vaz Te looks in the mood tonight. His movement and touch have been good so far. This time, he backheels a pass inside for Noble and goes for the return from Collison. West Ham win a throw. Demel hurls it in, but the ball goes behind off Cole's head.
12 mins - I'm not sure that's a free-kick. Drinkwater goes down but he appeared to slip rather than be fouled by Taylor. Free-kick given by the assistant. Reid heads it powerfully clear.
9 mins - This has been a good open game so far. Marshall robs Noble and Leicester build again down their left. Konchesky crosses but, unlike the 2006 FA Cup final, it ends up in the goalkeeper's hands.
7 mins - Cole is down after an aerial challenge with Morgan. The referee Eddie Ilderton stops the game, but the striker doesn't need the physio on. Schmeichel restarts with a long clearance and Konchesky does well before Beckford finds Marshall. His low cross from the left is cleared by Tomkins.
6 mins - Unlucky! Cole wins the ball from a hesitant Bamba inside the Foxes box. He lays it back for Collison and the No10 shoots first-time with his left foot. A foot further to Schmeichel's right and that was in. As it is, the Dane gets down well to hold on. So close.
5 mins - Another chance for Vaz Te to attack as Noble releases him from Cole's knockdown. Unfortunately, the No12's touch is too strong and Morgan shields the ball into the hands of Schmeichel.
3 mins - Nolan lobs the ball down the left for Vaz Te to chase in behind Peltier. Morgan comes to slow him down and when Taylor crosses, the ball is cleared for a throw. Vaz Te has another go and stabs a cross into the middle. Collison gets there first but his left-foot shot hits a defender. It would have gone wide anyway. Collison appeals half-heartedly for handball.
2 mins - The travelling faithful get a thumbs up from Green after serenading the No1 with a couple of tunes. Next, they have an 'Ingerland' song for St George's Day. On the pitch, nothing has happened bar about four throw-ins so far.
1 min - A long ball down the left is ushered back by Taylor and Green comes to the edge of his penalty area to collect.
7.47pm - We are under way here...
7.46pm - Guy Demel is wearing some lovely orangey-pink boots. Very fetching from our right-back. Anyway, we're almost ready for kick-off and the Foxes will get the game underway. The Hammers fans in the far left corner in front of me are making plenty of din, as they have all season long.
7.45pm - When you look at Leicester's team on paper, you have to wonder how on earth they are ninth in the table. There are internationals and Premier League players littered all over their squad. Anyway, they are ninth and that means West Ham should be confident going into tonight's game. Meanwhile, it's time for some Beatles with 'Hey Jude'. What sort of playlist is this?
7.43pm - Nero has been turned down and now we're being entertained by some trumpet fanfare stuff as the players emerge. In fact, there is a bloke in the centre circle actually playing a trumpet. Nice touch.
7.40pm - The two large Leicester City jerseys on the pitch are being cleared by an army of people in yellow T-shirts and we're nearly ready for kick-off. The strains of 'Me and You' by Nero are filling the air at the King Power Stadium. It is a TUNE! The players are in the tunnel and nearly ready to join the fray.
6.50pm - The team news is in. West Ham make three changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Bristol City, with Danny Collins, Henri Lansbury and Nicky Maynard dropping out. Jack Collison, Gary O'Neil and Carlton Cole come in to replace them. Maynard is injured, while the other two are on the bench.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Peltier, Konchesky, Bamba, Morgan, Marshall, King, Drinkwater, Wellens, Beckford, Nugent
Subs: St.Ledger, Howard, Dyer, Waghorn, Vassell
West Ham United: Green, Demel, Taylor, Reid, Tomkins, Noble, Nolan, Collison, O'Neil, Vaz Te, Cole
Subs: Baldock, Faubert, Diop, Lansbury, Collins
6.40pm - The Hammers are here now after the team coach arrived at the King Power Stadium at around 6.25pm. The team news will be announced in about five minutes and will be posted first on the club's twitter feed. Who will Big Sam pick for this must-win game?
Good afternoon, happy St George's Day and welcome to the King Power Stadium for tonight's vital npower Championship clash between Leicester City and West Ham United.
The equation is simple - the Hammers must win to keep alive their chances of gaining automatic promotion. Following Southampton's 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, West Ham can close to within two points of the Saints by collecting three points in the east Midlands. Should they do so, Sam Allardyce's side would also chalk up a club record-setting 13th away league win.
However, anything less than a victory and Big Sam and his players would know they will finish third in the table and can start preparing for a Play-Off semi-final first leg away from home on Thursday 3 May. The second leg would be at the Boleyn Ground on Monday 7 May, but we don't want to be concerned with that!
A repeat of the 3-2 win in the reverse fixture on 29 October would be more than welcome and West Ham's chances tonight have been boosted by the return to the matchday squad of Carlton Cole, Gary O'Neil and Sam Baldock. All three missed the 1-1 draw at Bristol City last Tuesday evening through injury.
The Hammers are unbeaten in seven away matches and would record their 600th win in the second tier of English football if they prevail.
Leicester will be no easy nut to crack, however. Nigel Pearson's men are unbeaten in eight home league matches and have kept clean sheets in their previous three. Pearson also has the luxury of having a fully-fit squad to choose from.
The team news will be confirmed at 6.45pm and posted first on West Ham's official twitter feed.