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Match Report: Leicester City 1-0 Sunderland - Should We Have Expected Anything Else?

Richardson provided a slightly brighter point on an otherwise very dull afternoon.
Richardson provided a slightly brighter point on an otherwise very dull afternoon.

Finally, what has been a pretty rubbish preseason so far has finally come to an end. An end which was never really in doubt when you look at our previous form this summer. Of course we were going to get beat, and of course we were not going to score.

On a positive note though these games don't count right? That's got to be it. Everybody take to your darkened corner and mutter to ourselves that everything's alright and these games don;t count for anything. That's what we're going to be doing anyway.

So let's crack on and recap yet another rubbish match, hopefully for the last time for a few weeks...

An experimental lineup saw a few changes, and very little indication of what the starting lineup might be next weekend against Arsenal when things matter. John O'Shea was given a role at left back with Kilgallon and Bramble in the middle. Notably Keiren Westwood started ahead of Simon Mignolet too, while Connor Wickham was missing through injury leaving Fraizer Campbell to forage a lone path up front.

For the opening 20-minutes or so there was very little to write home about. Leicester seemed to be enjoying the better of the play, but Westwood remained untested until Jermaine Beckford fired straight at the Irish international from close range.

As far as our own chance creation, there wasn't a great deal of that either. Kieran Richardson nodded an early header over the bar, as did Campbell soon after when both could have done better.

An omnipresent danger in the first half was Ben Marshall for the hosts, who came close to opening the scoring from a freekick on the edge of the box, and a matter of moments later skimming the top of the bar from the edge of the area.

In the main though you'd have to say The Foxes enjoyed the better of the play and pushed us back at every opportunity. Craig Gardner - deployed at right back - and John O'Shea both forced into timely tackles which denied Paul Koncheskey and Lloyd Dyer opportunities during the first half.

Before half time there was still time for both sides to come close to breaking the deadlock. Craig Gardner saw a freekick well stopped by Kasper Schmeichel while at the other end ex-Manchester Untied defender Ritchie De Laet saw his header cleared off the line by fellow OId Trafford alumni, Kieran Richardson.

Half time changes were made by Sunderland as Matt Kilgallon, Titus Bramble and Ahmed Elmohamady were replaced by Carlos Cuellar, Seb Larsson and David Meyler. Yet again, this put Meyler into a right back berth with Gardner moving forward.

None of the new boys had any real impact in the second half initially as things got off to a dull start. James McClean prodded and probed at The Foxes back line with little end result, while Gardner dragged shots left, right and centre as he's prone to do.

Leicester took the game to us, and when the breakthrough finally came on 72 minutes, it was difficult to argue it was undeserved. A corner whipped in by Marshall bobbled around and landed at the feet of the recently introduced Tom Parkes, who prodded beyond Westwood for the only goal of the game.

We did our best to try and come back into things, but it simply wasn't to be. We couldn't create anything beyond the potshots of Seb Larsson, Jack Colback and Blair Adams, and the preseason schedule comes to a close with a familiar level of glumness lurking around the Sunderland faithful.

Team (Ratings In Brackets)

Starting XI: Westwood (6), Gardner (6), O'Shea (6), Bramble (5), Kilgallon (7), Cattermole (6), Elmohamady (6), Colback (6), McClean (6), Richardson (7), Campbell (5)

Subs Used: Cuellar (6), Larsson (6), Meyler (5), Egan (5), Knott (5), Adams (5), Noble (5)

Man Of The Match: Kieran Richardson - Once again, a very difficult one to call, but Richardson seemed to be our brightest spark at times in an advanced midfield position. Playing behind an anonymous Fraizer Campbell, he offered more threat and more hard work than Gardner has when given a chance in a similar position. Obviously though if fit, the role is Sessegnon's for the losing. How we badly missed the man from Benin today.

Remember to come back to the site tomorrow for more reaction to this game in Quick Kicks. Thoughts from Martin O'Neill and ourselves on another crappy performance will be aired!

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