Leicester 4, Norwich City 0
David Cuffley Norwich City’s unbeaten run of 13 Championship matches was brought to a disastrous end at The Walkers Stadium with a four goal hammering by Leicester this afternoon. The defeat was made even more damaging by a red card for midfielder Darel Russell and fifth bookings of the season for skipper Mark Fotheringham and Dion Dublin.
Norwich City's unbeaten run of 13 Championship matches was brought to a disastrous end at The Walkers Stadium with a four goal hammering by Leicester this afternoon.
Goals from Iain Hume, Steve Howard, DJ Campbell and Stephen Clemence sent the Canaries crashing to their first league defeat since December 1.
The defeat was made even more damaging for Glenn Roeder's team by a red card for midfielder Darel Russell on the hour for a foul on Richard Stearman, who was stretchered off as a result, and a fifth booking of the season for skipper Mark Fotheringham.
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Russell now faces a three match ban while Fotheringham will be suspended for next week's visit of Barnsley.
Hume gave Leicester the lead midway through the first half and the deficit could have been greater at the interval but for two excellent saves by goalkeeper David Marshall.
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Howard stretched the lead after 56 minutes from an excellent Hume through ball and when Russell departed, there was no way back for Norwich.
Campbell (76 minutes) and Clemence (82 minutes) made victory more emphatic and there was a further blow in stoppage time when Dublin was booked, also his fifth yellow card of the season.
City boss Roeder made three changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday's 1-1 draw against Hull, two of them unavoidable.
Out were defender Matthew Bates, who had to cut short his loan spell and return to Middlesbrough after suffering a serious knee injury, and Ryan Bertrand, reported to be suffering from sickness.
Also left out was 18-year-old Arsenal midfielder Kieran Gibbs.
There was a return at right-back for Jon Otsemobor and at left-back for Mo Camara, while on-loan winger James Henry, from Reading, was given his first start in place of Gibbs, who was named among the five substitutes.
There was a place on the bench for striker Jamie Cureton, just 12 days after an appendix operation, but no room in the 16 for Darren Huckerby.
Leicester boss Ian Holloway made two changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Watford. Young defender Joe Mattock was recalled and Iain Hume returned in an attacking role.
Fullback James Chambers was relegated to the bench, and there was no place in the 16 for Gabor Bori.
The Canaries were defending an unbeaten run of 13 Championship matches, their best undefeated sequence for 21 years.
Leicester kicked-off on a chilly afternoon, Norwich skipper Fotheringham having chosen to defend the end of the ground in shadow, while Leicester keeper Alnwick donned a cap because he was staring straight into the sun.
The home side pushed forward first, with Howard lobbing the ball forward and Marshall rushing out to collect it ahead of Campbell.
A foul by Camara gave the hosts an early free-kick on the corner of the Norwich area, but as Clemence floated the ball in, Shackell was able to head clear.
The Canaries won their first free-kick just inside their own half when Russell was fouled. Otsemobor took it, but the ball sailed harmlessly through to Alnwick.
Norwich were backed by 3,000 travelling fans, in one corner of the ground at the end Leicester were defending, and they were in good voice early on.
There was a hold-up after just five minutes when Mattock required treatment following a challenge by Otsemobor.
Kisnorbo took the resulting free-kick, which reached the Norwich area, but both Shackell and Doherty got in important headers to relieve the pressure.
As Norwich broke, Croft's centre fell behind the three most advanced players but Evans, following up, had a shot charged down.
As Leicester returned to the attack, they forced their first corner. Hume's kick was punched clear by Marshall but still the home side threatened and with eight minutes gone, Marshall had to make a fine one-handed save to tip a snap shot from Clemence over the bar.
The Canaries won another free-kick just inside the Leicester half, Otsemobor finding the head of Dublin, but his header lacked power.
Dublin was in trouble after 11 minutes when he pulled up after challenging for a throw-in and appeared to be clutching his calf. He decided to carry on, but was clearly hindered by the problem.
Clapham conceded a free-kick with a foul on Croft, Fotheringham picking out Shackell beyond the far post, but the defender's header across goal was cleared.
In the 14th minute, Evans managed to find space for a right-foot shot after turning neatly on to a centre from Croft, but Alnwick was right behind his effort.
There was a momentary scare when Shackell rolled a back pass awkwardly across the bare goalmouth and Marshall had to scamper out to hammer the ball clear.
With 19 minutes gone, Shackell was penalised for a foul on Howard just outside the Norwich area and Hume's free-kick led to appeals for a penalty when it was blocked by the Norwich wall, with the home side claiming it was hand-ball and manager Holloway on the touchline protesting.
A free-kick was awarded moments later for hand-ball by Fotheringham and when Clemence floated the kick towards the far post, Marshall made a brilliant save from a Howard header to keep Norwich on terms.
Marshall was beaten, however, as Leicester moved into the lead after 22 minutes. Hume got free of the Norwich defence behind Doherty and managed to slide a low shot past Marshall.
Before play could restart, Mattock was on the ground on the halfway line needing treatment and he hobbled off to be replaced by Laczko.
Laczko was soon into the action, but his right-foot shot lacked power and was easily gathered by Marshall.
With 28 minutes gone, goal scorer Hume was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon when he brought down Camara as he made a forward run down the left.
Fotheringham's free-kick was easily dealt with, however, and so far the Canaries had not posed much of a threat in the attacking third of the field.
After half-an-hour, Henry and Croft switched wings to see if that would bring about any improvement.
The badly worn pitch seemed to be causing problems at Norwich's end and Shackell allowed Campbell to get ahead of him on to a Clemence through ball, but the striker's shot was tamely hit and was easy for Marshall to collect.
At the other end Evans showed real persistence to get in a cross from the left, which reached Otsemobor, but the bounce meant the fullback was unable to keep his shot down and it comfortably cleared the crossbar.
There was a narrow escape for the visitors once again when Russell was unable to control the ball on the edge of the area and Clemence pounced to send a low left-foot shot just past the post with Marshall fairly stranded.
A determined run by Leicester skipper Clemence almost paid dividends when he played a one-two with Campbell, but the striker's return pass was just too strong and ran out of play. Laczko then failed to control a cross from Hume as the hosts threatened again.
A foul by McAuley on Dublin gave Norwich another free-kick and Shackell won the header as Fotheringham crossed from the left but it fell kindly for keeper Alnwick to collect.
There was a costly free-kick awarded against the Canaries five minutes before the break when Fotheringham was booked for a foul on Howard, earning his fifth yellow card of the season and a one match ban for next Saturday's visit of Barnsley.
Hume took the kick but struck it straight into the Norwich wall.
With less than two minutes to the break, Otsemobor's free-kick was headed across goal by Dublin for Henry to volley over the top, but there had been little goalmouth action at that end to excite Norwich's big travelling contingent.
Clemence was involved in most of Leicester's good moves and another ball into the area found Laczko, but Marshall was able to get there first as the substitute failed to control his captain's pass.
In the third minute of stoppage time at the end of the half, Laczko missed a good opportunity when he headed over the top from a Hume free-kick.
t Half-time: Leicester 1, Norwich 0.
The Canaries were out for the second half a couple of minutes before their opponents with Roeder on the pitch giving instructions to several of the players.
There were no changes to either side, with Russell getting in the first attempt of the half with a fairly tame header from Camara's through ball, which Alnwick easily gathered.
Hume fired well over the top at the other end as Leicester counter-attacked.
Henry earned a corner three minutes after the break when he forced Clapham to knock the ball behind, but Fotheringham's flag-kick was over-hit and another dead-ball opportunity went begging.
Leicester forced a corner when Otsemobor cut out Laczko's attempted cross, Marshall making a clean catch from Hume's kick.
Shackell did well to prevent Campbell making the most of a cross from Stearman and, as play switched to the other end, Dublin was off target with a first-time shot from Camara's cross.
There was a lengthy delay, much to the annoyance of the Norwich fans, while Stearman received attention after a foul.
The Canaries had to be grateful to Dublin for getting his head to Clemence's free-kick to relieve the pressure.
Norwich were left with a huge task 11 minutes after the break when Leicester stretched their lead through Howard.
Hume was the architect with a superb diagonal ball from inside his own half and Howard steadied himself before hitting a first-time left-foot shot across Marshall into the bottom corner.
Things went from bad to worse after 59 minutes when Norwich were reduced to 10 men by the sending off of Russell.
The midfielder lost possession just inside the Leicester area and his challenge on Stearman clearly angered the home side, whose players surrounded Russell before referee Oliver produced the red card.
Stearman needed lengthy attention and indeed had to be stretchered off after the incident and replaced by James Chambers, while Roeder took the opportunity to bring on Pattison instead of the struggling Henry.
Russell's dismissal was Norwich's fifth red card of the season, but their first since Huckerby was sent off against Ipswich in Roeder's first game in charge.
Evans' persistence forced a corner after 66 minutes, but Fotheringham's kick was headed away by McAuley.
With Russell gone, there was now a three-man midfield in operation with Fotheringham in the centre and Croft and Pattison in the wide roles.
Leicester were looking to make their one-man advantage count and Howard attempted a long-range effort, which was not too far wide of Marshall's left-hand post.
Evans was certainly running himself into the ground up front and made one timely challenge on Chambers on the halfway line to halt a potential attack.
Roeder made another change after 71 minutes with Cureton replacing Camara as he opted for a 3-3-3 formation in an attempt to salvage something from a disappointing afternoon so far.
The match was as good as wrapped up after 76 minutes when Campbell made it 3-0.
The Canaries waited in vain for an offside flag as Campbell moved through onto Hume's diagonal ball and tucked a low shot past Marshall.
Two minutes later, Doherty did extremely well to block a shot from Howard and then Campbell went close again, firing just past the post.
The Canaries' misery was almost complete eight minutes from time when Leicester skipper Clemence, the best player on the field, made it 4-0.
Laczko's first attempt to cross from the left was cut out but he managed to thread the ball through at the second time of asking and Clemence beat Marshall with a low left-foot shot.
Evans was one Norwich player who certainly had not given up and a determined run ended with a right-foot shot, powerfully but straight at Alnwick.
With two minutes to go, Leicester's Kisnorbo was shown the yellow card for a foul. Evans had a shot from the resulting free-kick but it struck his own team-mate, Cureton, and Leicester were able to clear.
In the four minutes of time added on, Dublin was booked for a foul, his fifth yellow of the season. Hume struck the side netting from the resulting free-kick.
t Full-time: Leicester 4, Norwich 0.
t Leicester: Alnwick, Stearman, Kisnorbo, McAuley, Mattock, Clapham, Oakley, Clemence, Hume, Campbell, Howard. Subs: Hayles, James Chambers, Fryatt, N'Gotty, Laczko.
t Norwich: Marshall, Otsemobor, Shackell, Doherty, Camara, Croft, Fotheringham, Russell, Henry, Dublin, Evans. Subs: Gilks,
Cureton, Pearce, Gibbs, Pattison.
t Referee: Clive Oliver (Northumberland)