Robert Koren celebrates after scoring a late winner to ruin Nigel Pearson’s first return to the Club just 18 days after he left the Tigers for a second spell as Leicester City manager.
Koren smashed a sublime 88th-minute effort past Kasper Schmeichel to secure all three points in the Championship clash, much to the delight of the majority of the 20,000-strong crowd inside the KCOM Stadium.
Pearson received a predictably hostile reception from the home fans but, apart from his taunting, the game was a quiet affair until the 28th minute, when the game exploded with the controversial dismissal of Foxes’ skipper Matt Mills for a foul on Aaron Mclean inside the box.
Mclean had been put through by Cameron Stewart only for Mills to make a superb block, but as the Tigers’ striker attempted to fire a second attempt on goal, he went to ground under pressure from Mills. It looked like a fair challenge, but referee Simon Hooper disagreed and produced a red card, and Matty Fryatt tucked away the resulting spot-kick.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, the visitors were back on level terms before the break through Paul Konchesky. On-loan keeper Peter Gulacsi did well to beat away David Nugent’s shot, only to see Konchesky collect the rebound and curl a low shot inside the far post.
Schmeichel made fine saves to deny both Stewart and Andy Dawson after the break but Leicester, employing two banks of four, were pretty comfortable as Nick Barmby’s Tigers struggled to break them down.
But the breakthrough finally came two minutes from when Liam Rosenior squad the ball to Koren 20 yards from goal, and the Slovenian midfielder fired an unstoppable effort past the Leicester keeper, who stood no chance of keeping it out as he dived to his left.
Speaking after the game, match-winner Koren insisted he gained no extra pleasure from scoring against his former boss and admitted getting the three points was all that mattered: “I can’t speak for the other players, but it didn’t bother me one bit.
“We just needed to focus on ourselves rather than worry about Nigel Pearson. I know our fans were not happy at the manner of his departure, but we have to move on. It’s a thing of the past.
“It was a massive three points for us because it was important to get back to winning ways. After just one win in five, hopefully we’re back on track now and we can build on this positive result.”