The televised East Midlands ‘derby’ ended in a draw, with Leicester City and Nottingham Forest both missing the chance to climb the table. Martin Valentine offers a fan’s eye view from the King Power Stadium.
I miss the old Filbert Street. It was a horrible, nasty, unpleasant place where the locals regularly took pity on you for being poorer than them by offering you their loose change by way of regular meaty throws… But from 1992-1996 it was also my home. I had a floodlight in my back garden and shared a house with another Red and a Derby fan.
We used to go in the away end and support whoever Leicester were playing against (including a just-beaten-us-Tranmere where they — we — chanted about beating Forest. Very surreal). And of course watching the Tricky Trees there meant the shortest away trip ever — about 30 seconds down Burnmoor Street to the turnstiles where a terraced house should have been.
The games between us at Filbo/Meccano have been pretty dire. Last season’s league 0-0 was horrible enough — but it was also the night I realised we were definitely not going to go down.
We missed the rather bizarre sight of a helicopter landing on the pitch to deliver the match ball. But that hardly makes up for what always seems to happen here — they get a flukey goal against the run of play. Elliott Ward the hapless deflector of the ball past Lee Camp on six minutes. Everyone around us cheers, and now there’s some weird song being sung to the rhythm of the big fat bloke with the drum.
Dan Harding out injured means Greg Halford to left-back and a further unbalancing of the side. But since the goal if anything we’ve settled better and started to zip it about quite nicely – the front two looking lively. And 22 minutes in, up steps Adlene ‘Pep’ Guedioura to slot home from a cracking move — and I learn that self-restraint is a difficult thing to do as eyes all around me turn and stare… Ooops.
The locals are well rattled — lots of yelling and shouting around me as we dictate the game. Would be good to keep this up… But then — detecting a theme yet? — Leicester score a fluke completely against the run of play. Sigh. We proceed to go a bit to pieces — good job Maloney is having a stormer, as their winger is rampant.
Half-time. The first 45 minutes seemed to fly by in a blur. And I’ve got to take it back — the second Leicester goal, with the benefit of the replays, was definitely anything but a fluke. Didn’t expect Ward to make the second half, but it’s Pep who goes off – not obviously injured — for Jermaine Jenas on 53 minutes. He only trained for the first time yesterday.
Oh my god! We’ve got a penalty! First one for 59 WEEKS! And even better — we’ve scored! Game on…
Of course it would help if our defending wasn’t bordering on the comically suicidal at times. It’s like we’re on a bet for who can do the daftest thing in the box. I can’t see us getting away with it for another 12 minutes.
Henri Lansbury on for Andy Reidy. And then Dexter Blackstock for Simon Gillett — which can only mean we are going for the win. Commendable, I guess, but given our defending also completely mad…. Three to go. Or make that six to go – three minutes of stoppages. More bonkers defending. And that’s it. A decent draw. And the first decent game I’ve seen here.
Good cheers from us for Mr Wesley Morgan, while our lads gather in their now customary post-match huddle – followed by the Leicester fans who’ve stayed behind giving Simon Cox a load of verbal.
Terrific day out.
I’m writing this piece today partly because of something really rather wonderful my good friend Rowan Staszkiewicz is doing – running from the City Ground to other grounds to raise money for the Football League’s official charity, Prostate UK, and for Alzheimer’s. As if running to Leicester today – 26 miles, a marathon – wasn’t bonkers enough, Rowan also cycled the route on Friday, accompanied by a number of the Forest coaches. You can read all about it – but better still, please give him some money: City Ground to Other Grounds.
Follow Martin on Twitter: @SuperVallo
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