Steele stars in Walkers stalemate

Leicester and Middlesbrough got off the mark in the Championship after an entertaining 0-0 draw at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday.

Last Updated: 14/08/10 at 17:44 Post Comment

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Both sides are eying a promotion bid this term but suffered shock opening-day defeats to Crystal Palace and Ipswich respectively.

There were chances at both ends but Leicester's passing game under new boss Paulo Sousa saw the hosts enjoy extended spells of pressure.

DJ Campbell, Chris Weale, Bruno Berner and Lloyd Dyer all returned to the Leicester side after being rested for the Carling Cup win against Macclesfield. Andy King was back in midfield after representing Wales in midweek.

Gordon Strachan made two changes to the side which lost 3-1 to Ipswich on the opening day. Luke Williams came in for the injured Willo Flood and Jason Steele retained his place in goal following Tuesday's cup victory over Chesterfield.

In the eighth minute, Campbell came close to giving Leicester the lead. Dyer collected Steve Howard's flick on to feed the former Birmingham striker whose shot was deflected narrowly over.

A flurry of corners followed, with King rattling the crossbar and Howard heading wide.

Boro responded with their own spell of pressure and it took an excellent last-ditch tackle from Jack Hobbs to prevent Kris Boyd from converting Stephen McManus' lofted pass.

David Wheater then nodded Barry Robson's searching cross past the post with Weale beaten.

Boro's Luke Williams was a threat cutting inside from the right wing and skipped past two challenges before shooting narrowly wide in the 16th minute.

Just after the half hour, Steele was forced into a splendid save from Campbell's free-kick. Moments later the same player arrowed a left-footed effort from 20 yards which thudded into the Middlesbrough goalkeeper's chest.

King had the ball in the net for Leicester 10 minutes before half-time but a marginal offside call went against him

Both sides were creating plenty of chances and eicester's seventh corner of the half was headed over by Howard.

The relentless pace did not resume immediately after the break, but Leicester's Matt Oakley and Middlesbrough substitute Gary O'Neill both went close from free-kicks, and the latter crossed in the 53rd minute for Boyd to head over.

With half an hour remaining, Campbell came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock when his diving header from Dyer's cross grazed the side-netting.

A wonderful passing move from Leicester ended with King cutting back to Howard whose curling effort was splendidly saved by Steele.

In the 70th minute Kevin Thomson remained on the turf after a robust challenge and departed with a serious looking knee injury.

O'Neil was rarely out of the action after replacing Williams at half-time, collecting a yellow card with twenty minutes remaining before sending a rasping volley narrowly wide from 25 yards.

Both teams went for the win in the closing stages as a fine save by Weale from Scott McDonald was followed by another raft of Leicester corners, taking their total in the game to 16.

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Position Team P GD PTS
1 Norwich 10 11 20
2 N Forest 10 10 20
3 Watford 10 8 20
4 Derby 10 9 19
5 Ipswich 10 6 18
6 Charlton 10 4 18
7 Wolves 10 3 18
8 M'boro 10 6 17
9 Sheff Wed 10 3 16
10 Reading 10 0 15
11 Blackburn 10 -2 14
12 Leeds 10 -2 14
13 Brentford 10 -3 14
14 Cardiff 10 0 13
15 Bournemth 10 1 12
16 Millwall 10 -3 11
17 Rotherham 10 -4 11
18 Huddersfld 10 -8 11
19 Brighton 10 -2 10
20 Birmingham 10 -6 10
21 Wigan 10 -2 9
22 Fulham 10 -8 7
23 Bolton 10 -12 5
24 Blackpool 10 -9 3

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