FA Cup 3rd round action from The King Power Stadium
Burton Albion's hopes of springing an FA Cup giant-killing quickly evaporated at the King Power Stadium as Leicester City eased themselves into the fourth round with an ultimately comfortable 2-0 victory over Gary Rowett's men. There never looked to be the likelihood of lightning striking twice once powerhouse striker Chris Wood had given the hosts an early lead and when full back Ritchie De Laet added a second before the first half was half done it looked like it might be something of a mauling. However Burton showed plenty of grit and determination and despite an ultimately forgettable second half in which Leicester only sometimes threatened to add to their tally Albion emerged with the their pride in tact.
With both Zander Diamond and Anthony O'Connor unavailable through illness and injury respectively it was still not the ideal back four that manager Gary Rowett would have wanted to deploy for the visit to Championship side Leicester City.
Nathan Stanton returned after suspension to take the right back slot and Marcus Holness and Aaron Webster continued their centre half pairing, one which worked so well against Crewe Alexandra in the last round but not quite so effectively at York on New Years Day. Loan signing Adam Drury was handed an immediate debut on the right hand side of a midfield five. He came into the side in place of Jack Dyer and there was also a first start of the season for skipper John McGrath who was part of a midfield triumvirate also comprising Lee Bell and Robbie Weir. Billy Kee was the unfortunate man to drop to the bench to make way.
Leicester fielded a strong side, determined to avoid a second defeat to the Brewers this season after Albion had triumphed in the Capital One Cup second round back in August.
Unlike the Capital One Cup game Leicester got off to a flyer and were in front inside three minutes. A long ball into the box sought off giant striker Chris WOOD and the former West Brom man won an aerial battle with Aaron Webster to steer the ball beyond the advancing Dean Lyness and into the corner of the net for his third goal in two games for his new club.
Albion were close to getting straight back on terms when good play by Robbie Weir on the edge of the Leicester box created a chance for John McGrath to drive a curling effort just over the crossbar.
Andy King managed to surge into the box and into space in the 13th minute but with little support in the middle his cross was effectively cleared away from danger. Wood then launched himself into a shot from the edge of the box but after hitting the ball into the ground first the ball came through comfortably for Lyness to collect.
Leicester were two goals up on 21 minutes. The home side showed their patience in and around the edge of the box and after a couple of challenges just inside the area fell the way of the home side the ball squirted out to the right hand side where Ritchie DE LAET was able to fire home from ten yards out.
Albion were agonisingly close to getting a goal back just before the half hour mark. Good pressuring up the field forced Leicester to give the ball away on the edge of their own area. Adam Drury seized on the loose ball and when Robbie Weir let fly with an angled shot only an excellent save by Kasper Schmeichel, diving to his right, prevented the ball from nestling in the bottom corner of the net.
Only the woodwork prevented Leicester extending their lead further on 35 minutes. Ben Marshall sent in a teasing curling cross from the right and Marko Futacs stuck out a foot and guided the ball onto the bar.
Burton continued to put together some promising moves. Calvin Zola was only inches away from connecting with a diagonal ball into the penalty area and Jacques Maghoma unfortunately strayed offside as he tried to latch onto a smart pass from Lee Bell as the first half came to a close.
Half time: Leicester City 2-0 Burton Albion
Futacs had a glorious chance to get his name on the scoresheet within ninety seconds of the game restarting. the Hungarian striker stole in at the back post onto a teasing cross and only had to slot the ball past Lyness but inexcuseably lifted his shot well over the crossbar.
Schmeichel was then forced into action again as he came to punch clear a corner won after sterling work down the right from Drury. It proved an effective clearance as Leicester raced onto the counter with Wood sending Lloyd Dyer away down the left only for his low cross through the six yard box to roll harmlessly out of play.
Calvin Zola then launched himself at an ambitious overhead kick on 54 minutes. the striker did well to control Aaron Webster's cross and with his back to goal only had one thought in his mind. His effort was certainly on target but also straight at the waiting Leicester keeper.
John McGrath then found himself in the right place at the right time as Leicester threatened from a corner. Manchester United loanee Michael Keane got his header on target but Albion's long serving midfielder cleared the danger on the line.
Futacs was clearly desperate to get himself amongst the goals and he was twice denied by blocks inside the area that eventually resulted in a corner for the home side.
Albion made their first substitution on 62 minutes and it was McGrath who made way as Cleveland Taylor entered the fray. Leicester also made a couple of changes with Anthony Knockaert, a scorer against Albion in the Capital One Cup game, replacing Ben Marshall and David Nugent sent on as a straight swap for Wood.
King then went close to extending the Foxes advantage with a precise shot that clipped the post before going out.
Albion then made their final two changes on 73 minutes with Billy Kee brought on for Calzin Zola and Jimmy Phillips continuing his comeback from injury with a late appearance in place of the lively Drury.
Leicester's final change with a quarter of an hour to go saw Martyn Waghorn replace Futacs.
Referee Andy D'Urso waved away appeals for a foul when Webster challenged Nugent on the edge of the penalty area and when the ball fell kindly for De Laet only a good block at the near post denied him a second goal of the game.
Nugent was then denied a close range header as Damien McCrory again did sterling work to head away from under his own crossbar.
It was the last real threat from the Foxes who eased their way through to the next round.
LEICESTER: Schmeichel, De Laet, Konchesky, Morgan, Marshall, King, Dyer, Keane, James, Futacs, Wood. Substitutes: Logan, Waghorn, Gallagher, Schlupp, Moore, Knockaert, Nugent.
ALBION: Lyness, Stanton, Holness, Webster, McCrory; Drury, Weir, Bell, McGrath, Maghoma; Zola. Substitutes: Atkins, Taylor, Palmer, Phillips, Paterson, Dyer, Kee.
Substitutes: Mr. A.D'Urso (Essex)
GOALS: Leicester - Wood (3), De Laet (21)
Attendance: 14,463 (1,604 away)
Photos courtesy: PA Photos