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Sunderland 0-1 Leicester: Vardy winner gets Foxes back on track
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Damian Spellman
Press Association
Jamie Vardy struck early on (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Jamie Vardy struck early on (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Jamie Vardy’s 13th goal of the season proved unlucky for Sunderland as Leicester ended their losing streak to strengthen their Sky Bet Championship title hopes.

The 37-year-old’s first-half header was enough to secure a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light, although it took a fine save by goalkeeper Mads Hermansen to deny Trai Hume a spectacular equaliser and condemn his team to a fifth successive defeat.

Enzo Maresca’s men would have been kicking themselves had they allowed two priceless points to slip from their grasp after squandering early chances, but they had to resist a stern examination as the hosts finished strongly.

The Italian’s response to Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by QPR was to shuffle his pack with one of his four changes restoring Vardy to the starting line-up, while at the other end of the scale, Sunderland midfielder Chris Rigg was handed a first league start at the age of 16.

Leicester’s bandwagon had stalled somewhat after a run of three successive defeats, while Sunderland had lost their previous four and in the circumstances, a scrappy start to the game was perhaps not unexpected.

The Foxes were first to show when Stephy Mavididi cut inside from the left and raced away from Dan Ballard only for Luke O’Nien to get a vital touch on his cross, and it took an improbable double-save from Anthony Patterson to deny Vardy and then Yunus Akgun after Sunderland had been exposed down their right once again.

Patterson produced a fine reaction stop to keep out Wout Faes’ header from a 13th-minute Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall free-kick, but Vardy pounced to nod the rebound home.

The Black Cats started to work their way back into the game and Hermansen was sent sprawling to his left to claim Jobe Bellingham’s header from a 31st-minute O’Nien cross, but Patterson had to get down well to save Hamza Choudhury’s first-time strike as City pressed once again.

Sunderland returned after the break in determined mood with Dan Neil probing from midfield, but they were unable to pierce the blue wall which stood between them and Hermansen until Hume took aim from distance and saw the keeper tip his 64th-minute piledriver on to the crossbar.

Hume forced Hermansen into further saves with an 80th-minute attempt from distance and a stoppage time free-kick as the home side piled on the pressure, but the visitors, who sent on Wilfred Ndidi as a late substitute on his return from injury, held firm to see out an important win.


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