Leicester City 1 Charlton Athletic 2 – 19 February 2013

Leicester City’s automatic playoff hopes were dealt a hammer blow this evening as they were defeated at home by Charlton Athletic.

Leicester City have now lost three consecutive games twice this season

The visitors struck first through former Foxes striker Yann Kermogant, but the home side improved after the break and drew level with twenty minutes remaining through Chris Wood’s low drive.

The momentum seemed to be shifting in Leicester’s favour, but substitute Danny Haynes silenced the home crowd with a superb 25-yard volley with twelve minutes remaining.

Leicester were unable to find an equaliser, and an astute defensive display from Chris Powell’s side ensured a happy return to the King Power Stadium for the former Foxes player and coach.

Nigel Pearson made three changes to the starting line-up after Leicester’s FA Cup fourth-round replay defeat to Huddersfield, with Chris Wood, Ben Marshall and Danny Drinkwater all among the starting eleven.

Anthony Knockaert was the first to test Ben Hamer with an early strike on goal, but the Addicks’ keeper was equal to it, parrying it away for a corner.

Paul Konchesky then broke down the left-hand side before pulling the ball back into the Charlton penalty area, but the chance went begging as Charlton were able to clear their lines with no pressure on their backline.

The visitors soon got a foothold in the game and opened the scoring after nineteen minutes when a poor pass from Danny Drinkwater near his own corner flag allowed Bradley Pritchard to collect the ball by the touchline before squaring to former Leicester striker Yann Kermogant who finished confidently from ten yards.

It was a tidy finish by Kermogant, who will be remembered by Foxes fans for his penalty miss in Leicester’s 2009/10 play-off semi-final defeat to Cardiff City, but an unforgivable defensive mix-up to allow Charlton to capitalise.

Chris Powell’s men were the better team for much of the first-half and clear-cut chances for the hosts were at a premium, although Anthony Knockaert came close to levelling the score five minutes behalf the break when Ritchie De Laet’s powerful run down the right-hand side provided the Frenchman with an opportunity to hit the target, but his shot flew high and wide.

Leicester did not improve greatly after half-time, and it was the visitors who looked like scoring the second goal as Bradley Pritchard picked up a loose ball in Foxes territory – although he will rue not taking another touch before firing well wide from 25 yards despite finding himself one-on-one with Kasper Schmeichel.

Michael Morrison was then denied by Schmeichel from point-blank range before Chris Wood had the ball in the back of the net for the hosts – only for it to be disallowed as the New Zealander was adjudged to have been offside.

The introduction of Paul Gallagher and Lloyd Dyer on the hour-mark sparked some energy into the home side, who may feel they should have been awarded a spot-kick when Paul Konchesky’s shot struck the arm of Leon Cort inside the penalty area.

Leicester finally drew level with just over twenty minutes remaining when Ritchie De Laet burst into the penalty area with the ball at his feet, and when it broke nicely for Chris Wood, the in-form striker made no mistake from fifteen yards, firing past Ben Hamer to make it 1-1.

The Foxes now had their tails up and were now playing at a higher tempo, as Chris Wood fired just over the bar just minutes after the restart.

But against the run of play, substitute Danny Haynes fired an unstoppable 25-yard volley that swerved deceptively past Kasper Schmeichel and restored Charlton’s lead, sending the travelling fans into raptures in the far corner of the stadium.

It was a fantastic turn and shot by Haynes who had entered the game just moments before.

David Nugent then had an effort on goal from Wes Morgan’s knock-down in the penalty area, before substitute Paul Gallagher fired high and wide from twenty yards.

As the minutes ticked away, Chris Wood hit the side netting with a deflected shot before Danny Drinkwater almost snatched a late equaliser for Leicester, but his long-range effort was well-saved by Ben Hamer.

The Foxes were awarded a free-kick deep in second-half stoppage time which flew just wide of the goal courtesy of Chris Wood, and the final whistle shortly afterwards condemned Nigel Pearson’s side to a third successive defeat in all competitions.

Man of the Match – Bradley Pritchard