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Stephy Mavididi scores crucial winner for promotion-chasing Leicester
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Stephy Mavididi and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall struck (Mike Egerton/PA)
Stephy Mavididi and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall struck (Mike Egerton/PA)

Stephy Mavididi’s late header saw Leicester regain control of the race for promotion from the Championship and condemn relegation-threatened Birmingham to a 2-1 defeat.

Gary Rowett’s men appeared on course to claim what would have been a precious point in their battle for survival after leading goalscorer Jay Stansfield cancelled out Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s opener.

But just as Enzo Maresca’s side looked set to pay the price for their profligacy, Mavididi ensured a dominant performance at the King Power Stadium did not go to waste as the hosts climbed back into top spot.

Both under pressure for completely different reasons, neither the Foxes nor the visitors looked overawed by the occasion.

But it was the attacking prowess of Maresca’s side which enabled them to dominate the opening exchanges, with John Ruddy making a save to deny Dewsbury-Hall and Patson Daka’s pace causing all manner of problems.

Although Blues were losing the battle for territory and possession, they still carried a threat.

Koji Miyoshi tested Mads Hermansen’s handling with a low angled drive before the hosts finally engineered a 28th-minute breakthrough. On target for the second time in as many outings, it was Dewsbury-Hall who produced the finish.

But Blues were the architects of their own downfall, failing to clear Abdul Fatawu’s cross into the area before Daka touched the ball into his team-mate’s path.

Only a tendency to over-elaborate in advanced positions prevented Leicester from establishing a healthier lead before the break.

That came back to bite them in the 45th minute when Hermansen, taking an age to clear his lines after receiving the ball from Wout Faes, saw his kick charged down by Stansfield and fly into the net.

As the hosts regained their composure, substitute James Justin saw an appeal for a penalty waved away by referee David Webb following a tangle with Miyoshi.

Moments after being introduced on the hour mark, Jamie Vardy was left frustrated when Wilfred Ndidi could have found him on the edge of the six-yard box but elected to take an extra touch instead.

With Leicester inexplicably failing to regain the advantage, Ethan Laird nearly fired Blues into a surprise lead when he drifted across the penalty box and flashed a shot just wide of Hermansen’s far post.

Leicester continued to press but, as the contest wore on, so their profligacy increased with Ndidi and Fatawu both guilty of wasting promising openings.

Lee Buchanan made a crucial interception to stop Vardy turning home following a scramble in front of Ruddy, who moments earlier thwarted Mavididi with a fine reaction block.

But Mavididi was not to be denied in the 87th minute when, having been left unmarked, he headed substitute Yunus Akgun’s centre back across goal and past Ruddy.


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