Leon Clarke’s brace, his first in 12 months, secured a comfortable victory for the Owls against a lacklustre City side. Clarke, who had placed the penultimate nail in Leicester’s 2008 relegation coffin with the third goal of Wednesday’s 3-1 win at the Walkers, ensured another miserable afternoon for the Foxes.
Clarke’s first, a sweetly struck drive from 12 yards gave the home side a 6th minute lead. City failed to heed a first minute warning when Chris Weale was tested from a similar angle. This time the City keeper could do nothing as Clarke’s strike fizzed into the roof of the net.
City were one game short of a nine match unbeaten run, a record which would have been their best at Championship level since 2002/03. But the Foxes never looked likely to snatch even a share of the spoils.
Nigel Pearson’s unchanged eleven were barely recognisable as the side that had thumped Forest just seven days earlier. Martyn Waghorn has proven fruitful on the road with five of his seven goals coming away from home, but the Sunderland loanee found himself in the pocket of Darren Purse all afternoon. Championship player of the month Paul Gallagher provided little and was eventually substituted. The midfield trio of Oakley, Wellens and King failed establish any authority on the game.
What attacking flair City did show came down the left. Lloyd Dyer made a nuisance of himself in the first half, getting in behind the Wednesday backline to create chances for Gallagher and Waghorn, the latter forcing an excellent save from Wednesday keeper Lee Grant. But there the few signs of encouragement ended. Weale left the pitch on the half hour with a wound sustained in a collision with Marcus Tudgay.
In the second half City resorted to artless hoofs from deep. Wayne Brown led this industrial approach from the back, bypassing the midfield in favour of 40-yard balls that did not make up for in accuracy what they lacked in imagination.
By the time a forward whose attributes suited this tactic took the field in the shape of Steve Howard, Clarke had grabbed his second. City needlessly gave the ball away and Clarke provided a neat near-post finish from Jermaine Johnson’s low cross.
Late on Dyer produced an excellent save from Grant, but even this did not spark a late rally in front of the Foxes’ sizeable travelling support. City were dead and buried.