Leicester City 1 Aston Villa 0 – 10 January 2015

Paul Konchesky’s first-half goal gave Leicester City a deserved win over fellow strugglers Aston Villa, while extending the Foxes’ unbeaten run to four games.

The only goal of the game came in first-half stoppage time when Konchesky volleyed past Brad Guzan at the near post.

Leicester had a number of opportunities to extend their lead in the second half but were thwarted by Guzan, who made a number of fine saves to deny the home side.

The Foxes’ fourth league win of the season was blemished when Matty James was shown a red card by Michael Oliver at the end of the second half for a strong challenge on Jores Okore, while Ciaran Clark was also shown a second yellow card for his reaction – sparking ugly scenes in the tunnel.

Nevertheless it was an important and impressive win for Nigel Pearson’s men, who have taken seven points from their last nine – as well as picking up an FA Cup third round win over Newcastle United – as they aim to maintain their Premier League status.

Leicester were without Riyad Mahrez and Jeffrey Schlupp, due to international commitments and injury respectively, with Nigel Pearson opting to hand starts to former Aston Villa man Marc Albrighton and Anthony Knockaert, while Marcin Wasilewski and Danny Simpson both returned to the starting XI.

The hosts started strongly and had a glorious opportunity to take the lead after eleven minutes when Leicester broke on the counter attack through Marc Albrighton, but his square ball was turned wide by David Nugent from six yards when it appeared that Anthony Knockaert might have been better-placed to finish.

Aston Villa came into the match with the fewest goals scored in the Premier League this season, although it looked like they had ended their goal drought when Christian Benteke rounded Ben Hamer and slotted the ball into the back of the net, but the Belgian striker was adjudged to have been offside.

Another chance went begging at the other end when Anthony Knockaert picked out David Nugent with a fine left-footed cross, but his header from three yards failed to trouble Brad Guzan.

Gabby Agbonlahor fired high and wide for the visitors just before the half hour mark before former Fox Tom Cleverley saw his shot blocked by Wes Morgan and Marcin Wasilewski.

Leicester might have been awarded a spot kick before half time when Dean Hammond was bundled over inside the Villa penalty area by Alan Hutton, but appeals were waved away by referee Michael Oliver.

David Nugent then came close to breaking the deadlock when his stunning volley smacked against the crossbar with Guzan grabbing at air, with Leonardo Ulloa’s follow-up header sailing onto the roof of the net.

It seemed like it might be one of those afternoons for Leicester, but they finally took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Aston Villa failed to deal with Leonardo Ulloa’s cross, and when the ball fell to Paul Konchesky on the edge of the penalty area, the experienced full back made no mistake with a low volley past Brad Guzan at his near post.

It was a deserved goal for the home side who had seen the better chances in the first half, and some retribution for Konchesky who was wrongfully sent off in the earlier meeting between the two teams at the end of 2014.

Leicester continued to look dangerous in front of goal after the break when Marc Albrighton picked out an unmarked Matty James with a fine cross, whose powerful header forced Brad Guzan into making a brilliant reflex save from eight yards.

Guzan thwarted his former teammate Marc Albrighton on the hour mark with a fine parried save, before Leicester were again denied a penalty when Leonardo Ulloa appeared to have been brought down by Ciaran Clark –Michael Oliver again waving away the protests of the home side.

Substitute Tom Lawrence fired over the bar for the home side as Paul Lambert’s side continued to struggle in front of goal, with Aly Cissokho firing high and wide at the other end.

In second-half stoppage time, Matty James was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Jores Okore, resulting in in tempers flaring between the two sides on the pitch.

Ciaran Clark was also shown a second yellow card for his angry reaction towards James, as the dispute appeared to continue off the pitch and down the tunnel.

Christian Benteke headed over the crossbar as the last few seconds ticked away, ending any hope of the visitors salvaging a point from the match.

The final whistle confirmed a deserved three points for Nigel Pearson’s men, who now face Stoke City in a week’s time, knowing that a win could lift the Foxes off of the foot of the table since the end of November 2014.

Man of the match: Marcin Wasilewski