Nugent nicks it for Leicester

Leicester striker David Nugent poached a late winner at Leeds for his 17th goal of the season to keep the Sky Bet Championship leaders on course for automatic promotion.

Last Updated: 20/01/14 at 09:07 Post Comment

David Nugent (r): Celebrates the winner with his team-mates

David Nugent (r): Celebrates the winner with his team-mates

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Nugent benefited from substitute Kevin Phillips' dummy following defender Liam Moore's cross into the box and forced home an 87th-minute winner as Leicester racked up a sixth straight league victory.

Defeat was cruel on Leeds, who restored their pride with a much-improved display before being left to rue a host of missed first-half chances.

After following up a humiliating FA Cup defeat at Rochdale with a 6-0 drubbing at Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday last week, Brian McDermott's side were under considerable pressure to keep their season alive.

Leeds' newly-appointed skipper Ross McCormack was denied by the woodwork and could have scored a hat-trick in the first 45 minutes while Leicester, for whom Jamie Vardy also hit the post, always looked capable of stealing all the points.

McDermott, whose side have lost their last five matches, made four changes to the side humbled at Hillsborough last week in front of another live television audience.

Right-back Sam Byram, midfielder Michael Brown, striker Luke Varney and left-back Stephen Warnock were all recalled, while Leicester were unchanged from the side that dismantled Derby.

McDermott will have been delighted with his side's start as they forced the visitors on to the back foot, with McCormack heading Varney's cross against the post in the sixth minute.

But Leicester quickly demonstrated why they are currently top, a lightning counter-attack ending with Vardy's sweetly struck shot also crashing against the post.

McCormack then had a clever goalbound lob headed off the goal line by Leicester midfielder Matty James and visiting goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel denied his former club with a fine one-handed save to keep out the in-form Scot's skimming drive.

McDermott looked on in disbelief soon after as McCormack wasted another gild-edged chance, shooting tamely at Schmeichel when through one-on-one following Paul Konchesky's kamikaze backpass.

Leeds threatened again when Jimmy Kebe raced on to McCormack's deft pass, but the French winger's ball across the face of goal evaded Varney and then defender Tom Lees headed the impressive Warnock's cross over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Leicester served warning again though in the 32nd minute, Anthony Knockaert combining with Ritchie De Laet before firing a rising drive over the crossbar.

Visiting pair Knockaert and Lloyd Dyer were booked in quick succession soon after the restart, but Leicester were first to threaten through James' curling right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Leeds lost some of their intensity an hour into the contest and Leicester began to enjoy more possession without carving out any chances.

Leeds winger Cameron Stewart all of a sudden sprang to life on his home debut with two deflected shots that lifted the home support.

But while the game remained goalless the visitors retained a belief they could pinch all the points, especially after new signing Phillips came on for his debut and narrowly cleared the crossbar with a shot on the turn.

Leicester's winner came with three minutes of normal time left. Moore swung in a cross and after Phillips had let the ball run through to Nugent, the Foxes leading goalscorer poked home the ball to leave Leeds crestfallen.

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2 Norwich 8 10 17
3 Wolves 8 5 17
4 Watford 8 7 16
5 M'boro 8 6 15
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7 Ipswich 8 4 14
8 Charlton 8 3 14
9 Derby 8 5 13
10 Blackburn 8 0 13
11 Reading 8 0 13
12 Leeds 8 0 13
13 Millwall 8 0 11
14 Brentford 8 -4 11
15 Bournemth 8 1 9
16 Cardiff 8 -1 9
17 Wigan 8 0 8
18 Brighton 8 -2 8
19 Rotherham 8 -4 8
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22 Huddersfld 8 -11 5
23 Blackpool 8 -7 2
24 Fulham 8 -13 1

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