Leicester City 2 West Ham United 1 – 4 April 2015

Andy King’s dramatic late winner gave Leicester City a crucial win over West Ham United and sparked new life into the Foxes’ fight against relegation.

Leicester took an early lead through Esteban Cambiasso’s 20-yard volley, and were given the opportunity moments later to double their advantage from the spot when Leo Ulloa was brought down by Carl Jenkinson – but David Nugent saw his penalty kick turned away by Adrian in the West Ham goal.

After a period of sustained pressure, the visitors grabbed an equaliser just after the half hour mark when Cheikou Kouyaté fired past Kasper Schmeichel from a tight angle after Jeff Schlupp had misjudged Alex Song’s cross into the Leicester penalty area.

The game opened up in the second half with both sides creating chances to take the lead – Leicester coming close through substitute Andrej Kramarić who saw a powerful effort cleared off the line, and Kouyaté striking the post for the Hammers.

But it was Nigel Pearson’s men who would come out on top when Andy King steered Jamie Vardy’s shot past Adrian with four minutes left to play, securing a massive three points for the Foxes.

Other results mean that Leicester remain at the foot of the table, but are now just four points from safety with eight games still to be played.

Nigel Pearson made one change from the side that lost 4-3 at White Hart Lane, bringing in Riyad Mahrez for the injured Matthew Upson, and it was Mahrez who created the first chance of the match for the home side after linking up well with the lively Jamie Vardy, before finding Leo Ulloa who fired over from distance.

And having begun the first half with real energy, the home side were ahead after twelve minutes when Esteban Cambiasso fired a superb 20-yard volley past Adrian in the West Ham goal.

It was a deserved lead for Leicester and a goal that would begin a complete performance from the former Argentine international.

Leicester were then awarded a penalty just moments after the restart when Leo Ulloa was brought down inside the box by former Arsenal man Carl Jenkinson after another speedy break from the home side.

However, the opportunity to add a second goal went begging as Adrian guessed correctly to parry David Nugent’s spot kick away from danger.

That moment in the match gave the visitors real impetus to take the game to Leicester and came close to drawing level through Diafra Sakho, but Jeff Schlupp was well-placed to clear his header off the line.

The Hammers continued to press for an equaliser and came close again through Sakho – this time Esteban Cambiasso coming to Leicester’s rescue – and then through Kevin Nolan who headed well wide after teammate Stewart Downing had picked him out with a pinpoint first-time cross.

But with just over 30 minutes played, West Ham found themselves level when Alex Song picked out Cheikou Kouyaté at the back post, who controlled well and drilled the ball into Kasper Schmeichel’s far corner.

It was a strong finish by Kouyaté, although Jeff Schlupp will have been disappointed with his positioning in allowing his man so much time and space in such a dangerous position.

Leicester continued to play some excellent football but could not turn their possession into chances, with Matty James firing over from distance.

The second half saw Marc Albrighton replacing Riyad Mahrez on the right wing as Leicester continued in search of a second goal, and the Foxes might have taken the lead when Esteban Cambiasso’s free-kick found Robert Huth, but the former Chelsea centre-back could not steer his header on target.

With just over an hour played, Jamie Vardy’s direct run found David Nugent, who laid the ball off to the onrushing Jeff Schlupp, but the Ghanaian’s left-footed strike from a difficult angle flew well wide of Adrian’s near post.

The Foxes might have had another penalty awarded when Jeff Schlupp’s cross appeared to strike the raised arm of Stewart Downing, but referee Mark Clattenburg waved away any protests.

Jamie Vardy then hit the woodwork with a header and fired wide of the far post in quick succession, before Cheikou Kouyaté hit the inside of Kasper Schmeichel’s post at the other end.

Schmeichel then had to be at his best to tip away a swerving strike with just under fifteen minutes left to play, before substitute Andrej Kramarić saw his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by a combination of Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Cresswell.

Leicester would eventually be rewarded for their persistence and attacking threat when Jamie Vardy’s low effort fell into the path of another substitute, Andy King, who scrambled the ball into the bottom corner of the net to send the home fans into delirium.

It was far from the prettiest goal Nigel Pearson’s men had scored this season, but could prove to be one of the most important, giving the Foxes a 2-1 lead with four minutes remaining.

Jamie Vardy could have added a third in second-half stoppage time but his one-on-one effort was well-saved by Adrian – however, the final whistle just moments later gave Leicester a crucial – and well-deserved – three points in their bid to remain in the top flight of English football.

Man of the match – Esteban Cambiasso