David Nugent keeps Leicester on track for promotion as Wolves woe grows

Leicester City's relentless pursuit of a place in the Premier League continues to gather momentum, with this fifth successive Championship victory, courtesy of a fine winning goal from David Nugent, strengthening their hold on second spot and deepening the problems for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Ahead through a solo goal from the impressive Anthony Knockaert, Leicester lost their way in the second half when Bakary Sako, another Frenchman, struck a splendid equaliser for a Wolves side that started to play with a renewed sense of belief. For the second time in the game, however, Wolves were punished on the counterattack when Nugent was allowed to run from the halfway line before beating Carl Ikeme with a composed finish, to register his 14th goal of the season.

Wolves, to their credit, never surrendered and forced Leicester to endure some anxious moments in the closing stages. Sako stung Kasper Schmeichel's hands with a shot from distance and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake should have done better with a close-range header before he screwed a left-footed effort against the outside of the post.

It was little wonder that the final whistle was met with relief by Nigel Pearson, the Leicester manager, and the home supporters. "We've played better," Pearson said. "But credit to Wolves. They played with a lot of spirit."

Although Dean Saunders was able to take encouragement from Wolves' second-half performance, the harsh reality for the Welshman is that his first four matches as manager have failed to deliver a win and the club remain mired in relegation trouble. Wolves sit 19th, only five points above the bottom three, on the back of a damaging run that has delivered only three wins from 20 Championship matches. "We played some great football but got done on two counterttacks," Saunders said. "I have only been here three weeks. If you are here for a year those counterattacks don't happen, they get ironed out."

It was no surprise that the opening goal came from Knockaert. The 21-year-old winger shimmered with menace whenever he picked up the ball on the right flank in the first half. Prepared to run at defenders at pace, the Frenchman gave Stephen Ward one of those evenings that the left-back will be keen to forget. "He's a match-winner and he showed some flashes of quality," Pearson said.

Knockaert's eighth goal of the season arrived after Schmeichel's intelligent kick out picked him out close to the touchline, with Ward out of position. Although the defender managed to get back, Knockaert accepted the invitation to run at him. Ward continued to retreat and Knockaert duly darted inside before cutting back on to his left foot and sweeping a shot from the edge of the six-yard box that Ikeme was unable to prevent from finding the far corner of the net, despite getting a strong hand to the ball.

"We just backed off and backed off and he ended up in the six-yard box when he scored," Saunders said. "That's just a lack of belief."

Ben Marshall should have added a second Leicester goal on the stroke of half-time but he blazed over following an adroit touch from Nugent, and the significance of that miss became clear six minutes after the restart. Teed up by Tongo Doumbia, Sako struck a glorious half-volley from 25 yards that arrowed into the corner of the net. It was a beauty. Wolves began to look like a different team but their desire to try to win the game and commit more players forward ended up being their downfall.

Nugent, picking up possession just inside his own half, carried the ball to the edge of the area and, aided by Lloyd Dyer's decoy run, cut inside before curling a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net.

"We got over-confident," said Saunders, who confirmed the club had turned down offers for Ebanks-Blake, Ward and Kevin Doyle, who was a loan target for Celtic. "On the second goal we have to stop him when he picks up the ball. But we at least showed some confidence in the second half and if we play like that we'll beat most teams."

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