Leicester City 1 Colchester United 1

A SPECTACULAR free-kick from Mark Yeates was not enough to beat his old club Leicester City in an entertaining duel at the Walkers Stadium this afternoon.

Carl Marston

A SPECTACULAR free-kick from Mark Yeates was not enough to beat his old club Leicester City in an entertaining duel at the Walkers Stadium this afternoon.

Yeates obliged with the opening goal in the 23rd minute. The Dubliner curled his 25-yard free-kick over the defensive wall and past keeper Tony Warner, so rattling up his 11th goal of the season.

The Colchester United winger had had a loan spell at Leicester during the second half of the 2006-07 season, so this was a special goal.

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The U's had chances to add to their tally in an impressive away performance, but a combination of some poor finishing and a few smart saves from Warner was to cost them dear.

Substitute Paul Dickov had only been on the pitch for one minute when he swept home Leicester's equaliser in the 67th minute.

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Mark Cousins was unable to clear Matt Oakley's skied cross with a telling punch, and veteran Dickov poked the loose ball home through a crowd of players.

Both sides had several chances to grab the winner during the final quarter of the game, and the U's will certainly feel that this was a game they should have won.

U's boss Paul Lambert handed debuts to new recruits Neal Trotman and Karl Hawley, who had both been signed on loan from Preston at the end of this week.

Trotman was preferred to U's club skipper Chris Coyne in the heart of defence, even though he hadn't played a first team game this season, while ex-Carlisle striker Hawley was up front alongside Clive Platt.

The U's other new signing, Ashley Vincent, travelled with the squad even though he was currently sidelined by a knee injury. The Cheltenham loanee winger is hoping to start training at the end of next week.

It was a very quiet opening, with neither side registering a shot on target inside the first 20 minutes. The most over-worked men in the ground were the two assistant referees, who kept raising their flags for offside.

Yeates did skip past his marker and scamper in from the by-line on 18 minutes, but the angle was too tight and his cross-cum-shot zoomed across goal and wide.

However, YEATES had better luck as he rifled the U's into a shock lead just five minutes later, thanks to another of his sublime free-kicks.

David Perkins did well to win a free-kick, 25 yards from goal, for a foul by midfielder Andy King, and up stepped Yeates to curl a delightful shot over the defensive wall and into the top corner of the net.

The Foxes were not firing on all cylinders, although defender Michael Morrison flashed a header wide after the half-hour mark, and King then had a close-range shot well blocked by skipper Dean Hammond in the 39th minute.

The only other incident of note in the first-half was a mini-pitch invasion, which basically involved one solitary supporter wandering a few yards onto the pitch and being escorted away by a laid-back steward.

Half-time: Leicester City 0 Colchester United 1

Leading scorer Matty Fryatt had a great chance to equalise within four minutes of the restart, but he pulled his shot wide from substitute Dyer's lay-off.

Otherwise the visitors soaked up the pressure without too many scares, and at the other end Perkins fancied his chances with a couple of shots that peppered the target.

Hawley spurned a good opportunity to double the U's lead in the 63rd minute. Trotman headed on Yeates' free-kick in the direction of fellow Preston loanee Hawley, who failed to hit the target with a free header from eight yards out.

And United were made to pay when DICKOV netted the equaliser, just 60 seconds after appearing as a substitute.

Cousins could only half-punch clear Matt Oakley's skied cross, and the alert Dickov managed to squeeze his low shot through a sea of legs from eight yards out. It was only his second league goal of the season.

The U's were desperately close to regaining their lead in the 70th minute. The impressive Trotman rose high to head on Yeates' free-kick, and Platt poked just shot goalwards, only for keeper Warner to make an instinctive save on his goal-line.

Lambert's men then squandered two gilt-edged chances in the 78th minute. First Yeates burst through on goal, following Hawley's hook forward, but the Irishman could not force his shot past the advancing Warner, who parried brilliantly.

Seconds later and Hammond delivered the ball back into the danger zone, where Platt headed narrowly over the bar and onto the top of the net.

At the other end, Fryatt blasted over with just Cousins to beat as both sides searched for a late winner. And Cousins came to his side's rescue by smothering Dyer's shot, after the substitute had sneaked past Trotman in the 87th minute.

In the first minute of injury-time, Warner again denied the U's by blocking Hawley's fierce drive.


LEICESTER CITY: WARNER 8, Gilbert 6, Morrison 7, Hobbs 6, Mattock 7, Oakley 7, Cleverley 6 (sub Dyer, 34), King 7, Gradel 6 (sub Dickov, 66), Fryatt 6, Hayles 6. Unused subs: Berner, Kisnorbo, Stockdale.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins 7, Maybury 7, TROTMAN 8, Baldwin 7, Tierney 7, Perkins 7 (sub Jackson, 74), Hammond 6, Izzet 6, Yeates 8 (sub Wordsworth, 90), Platt 7, Hawley 6. Unused subs: Coyne, Wasiu, Gerken.

Referee: Mr Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 7

Attendance: 20,218

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