Monday, 23 November 2009

Late late show

Saturday 21st November 2009
Football League Championship
Walkers Stadium

An offer of tickets for £10 through the Leicester Mercury newspaper sees me take in my second visit of the season to the Walkers Stadium. The first was for a pre-season friendly against Spanish La Liga side Real Valladolid which Leicester won 1-0 with a goal from Matt Fryatt five minutes from time. This season Leicester have made a solid start having won the League 1 title (3rd division in old money) last season and currently lie in sixth place. They have won seven out of their sixteen games played so far, and have obtained twnety-seven points in the process. Their three defeats coming by just a solitary goal. Opponents Plymouth meanwhile sit one place above the relegation zone having obtained fifteen points from their opening sixteen games.

This year sees Leicester City celebrate their 125th anniversary having been formed in 1884 as Leicester Fosse. Their first game was a friendly against Syston Fosse which resulted in a 5-0 victory, with the site of the game now being covered by Westleigh Road. The club played at various venues within the city (including Mill Lane, Victoria Park and Grace Road cricket ground) before moving to Filbert Street in 1891, though during the early years there it was known as Walnut Street. The move to the new ground coincided with Fosse joining the Midland League having spent the previous seven playing friendly matches. The club spent three years in the Midland League finishing 11th, 4th and 2nd respectively before being accepted into the 2nd division of the Football League. Upto the First World War the club spent all but one season in the lower division with the soliatary top flight campaign coming in the 1908/09 season. Financial problems led to Fosse being wound up in May 1919 with the club being reborn as Leicester City. The years between the two world wars saw the 'new' club spent more time in the top flight with two division 2 titles coming in 1925 and 1936. The club also achieved its highest ever placing when finishing runners-up in the 1928/29 season. When peace resumed the club found itself in the second division again and while as a second division club reached the FA Cup final for the first time in 1949 when they lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers. City contined to be and still are a yo-yo club, though a further three FA Cup finals were reached in the 1960's, but all were lost against Spurs and the two Manchester clubs. In 2008 the club were relegated to the third tier of English football for the first time in their history. You could argue that they have already played in the fourth level with the old Midland League being behind the Football League and Southern League in status at the time Fosse competed in. Let's not ruin a good story hey!

The earliest records for Plymouth Argyle I have are from 1903 when the competed in both the Southern and Western Leagues. This lasted for six seasons when in 1909 they soley concentrated on Southern League football before joining the Football League in 1920 in the newly formed division 3. This was when pretty much all of the top division of the Southern League did the same, and thus the following season a northern division was created by the Football League to balance out the southern bias. I do not plan to delve into the history of Argyle any further here, this will be done if and when I ever watch a home game of theirs and to be honest I can't imagine it anytime soon.

Leicester took the three points with a goal seconds from the end in the fourth minute of stoppage time to deservedly win this encounter. Right from the start the home side were the more attack minded side with top scorer Matty Fryatt coming close after only four minutes. Plymouth had their best spell of the game up until midway through the first half forcing a number of corners and dominating the possession. The second half of the half was all Leicester who bossed the midfield through Paul Gallagher and Richie Wellens, though the chances created were primarily off target. The second half was more frustrating for Leicester as Plymouth put ten men behind the ball at times and seemed happy to play out for a draw. Following a Nicky Adams corner Dany N'Guessan's attempt was blocked on the line by Karl Arnason only for Andy King to score with the rebound. Justice done and Leicester upto third in the table behind favourites Newcastle and West Brom, two of only three teams take the points off the Foxes this season.

Attendance: 27,124
Admission: £10 (special offer)
Programme: £3

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