Leicester 2-2 West Ham: Craig Dawson levels late to earn vital point in Hammers’ top-four battle


Leicester were were booed off at the King Power which after a stirring second half performance may have seemed a little hard on Brendan Rodgers and his players. But when there is a weakness in a team and nobody around who appears to want to fix it, patience can wear a little thin.

What is it about Leicester City and corners? Rodgers’ team seem unable to defend them.

The one they conceded to West Ham’s Craig Dawson in the 91st minute was the eleventh of their Premier League season. At the end of a terrific second half it put paid to what had been a worthy and entertaining comeback and left Leicester in eleventh place and closer to the relegation places than the European spots. That is indeed a fall from grace on recent efforts.

Craig Dawson's injury-time equalizer robbed Leicester of two points on Sunday evening

Craig Dawson’s injury-time equalizer robbed Leicester of two points on Sunday evening

The West Ham center back rose highest to equalized off his shoulder in the 90th minute

The West Ham center back rose highest to equalized off his shoulder in the 90th minute

Leicester had looked strong at 2-1 and were containing the Hammers, leaving them frustrated

Leicester had looked strong at 2-1 and were containing the Hammers, leaving them frustrated

MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS

LEICESTER CITY: (4-2-3-1) Schmeichel 6; Pereira 7, Soyuncu 6, Amartey 6, Justin 6 (Thomas 30mins 6); Tielemans 7.5, Ndidi 6.5; Maddisson 6.5(Lookman 73mins 6), Dewsbury-Hall 6, Barnes 8; Daka 6

GOALS: Tielemans 43 (pen)

BOOKED: Pereira

MANAGER: Brendan Rodgers 7.5

WEST HAM UNITED: (4-2-3-1) Fabianski 6; Coufal 5 (Fredericks 66mins 6), Diop 6, Dawson 6, Cresswell 5; Soucek 6.5, Rice 6; Bowen 7, Lanzini 6.5 (Benrahma 79mins 6), Fornals 6 (Vlasic 79mins 6); Anthony 6.

GOALS: Bowens 10, Dawsons 90

BOOKED: Cresswell, Rice

MANAGER: David Moyes 6

REFEREE:Michael Oliver 6

There was something mildly welcoming about the fact we at least ended the game talking about a West Ham center half that wasn’t Kurt Zouma.

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Dawson’s goal came almost two hours after Zouma had left the warm up complaining of dizziness.

The Frenchman – under so much scrutiny after his assault on his pet cat last week – was withdrawn from the team and that at least allowed us to concentrate on the football. It may be for everybody’s benefit if we don’t see Zouma again for a while.

The equalizer seemed at first as though it had gone in off Dawson’s upper arm and was checked by VAR, who must have deemed it to have been from his shoulder. It was a close call but enough to give West Ham a point that maintains their own forward trajectory under David Moyes.

Early in the game, they had been vastly superior. It is to West Ham’s credit that they managed to withstand the chaos caused by Zouma’s behavior at the start of last week to win at home to Watford. Here, they carried on in that vein, at least for 45 minutes.

There is still a thinness about Moyes’ squad that may derail their attempts to finish in the top four.

But a top six placing should not be beyond them. They play calm, measured and organized football under their calm, measured and organized manager and have players who can produce something important and memorable when a little extra is required.

Currently that player is Jarrod Bowen.

There is perhaps not a more likeable player in the Premier League and in only the tenth minute he scored the seventh goal in as many recent games.

The build up was rather rudimentary. Zouma’s replacement, Issa Diop, put his foot through the ball from deep and as the Leicester back four pushed up in something other than a straight line, Bowen was able to run through and fire low and true across Kasper Schmeichel and in to the corner with his left foot.

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It was the finish of a confident forward. On days like this, it must seem easy.

Kurt Zouma was set to start the match but pulled-out feeling 'unwell' minutes before kick-off

Kurt Zouma was set to start the match but pulled-out feeling ‘unwell’ minutes before kick-off

The Hammers went ahead after just six minutes as Jarrod Bowen charged through and finished

The Hammers went ahead after just six minutes as Jarrod Bowen charged through and finished

The striker is in fantastic form, bagging his fifth goal in five games for the east Londoners

The striker is in fantastic form, bagging his fifth goal in five games for the east Londoners

It was a bruising, choppy first-half with plenty of tough tackles from both of the sides

It was a bruising, choppy first-half with plenty of tough tackles from both of the sides

For Leicester, the opposite was true. Lacking confidence after a hammering at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and a relatively meek defeat at Liverpool, Rodgers’s players were anxious, hesitant and prone to individual errors.

The only thing to calm them down during a first half that West Ham controlled was the fact the London club didn’t score again.

When Leicester equalised, though, it was from nowhere.

Aaron Cresswell attempted to head clear a corner at the end of the first period but succeeded only with striking the ball with his elbow. Youri Tielemans swept in the penalty with his right foot from him and from then on this was a game the home team dominated.

A handball by Aaron Cresswell gifted Leicester a chance to level the game late in the half

A handball by Aaron Cresswell gifted Leicester a chance to level the game late in the half

Youri Tielemans stepped up and slotted home his penalty cooly, minutes before half-time

Youri Tielemans stepped up and slotted home his penalty cooly, minutes before half-time

The transformation was as complete as it was remarkable.

Young Harvey Barnes was Leicester’s best player and much of the danger flowed down the left side where he terrorized West Ham’s Vladimir Coufal to such an extent the right back was taken off. By then Leicester were in the lead.

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Tielemans floated a diagonal pass to Barnes in the 57th minute and when he landed a cross on Ricardo Pereira’s head, the Leicester right back out muscled the unfortunate Cresswell to ensure he won it.

By now Leicester were more like the Leicester we know and admire. Full of purpose, hustle and try.

Leicester came out energized with Harvey Barnes a constant threat down the left-hand side

Leicester came out energized with Harvey Barnes a constant threat down the left-hand side

It was Barnes who would set up Leicester's second, as Ricardo Pereira put the Foxes ahead

It was Barnes who would set up Leicester’s second, as Ricardo Pereira put the Foxes ahead

Barnes could have scored himself as indeed could Tielemans when his team-mate set him up. It didn’t look as though it would matter, though, as West Ham were by now invisible as an attacking force.

Indeed their own equalizer had been as hard to see coming as had been Leicester’s a while earlier.

But another bad Leicester habit is to finish game’s badly. Five of the last seven goals they have conceded in the Premier League have come in the final ten minutes.

Rodgers can comfort himself with the fact he knows where the problems lie. Now he just has to fix them.

The Foxes looked set to cruise to victory in the final minutes until Dawson stunned them

The Foxes looked set to cruise to victory in the final minutes until Dawson stunned them

David Moyes' side remain in the top-four, taking a crucial point despite a below-par display

David Moyes’ side remain in the top-four, taking a crucial point despite a below-par display

Re-live all the drama from the King Power with live commentary from Sportsmail’s TOBY MILES…


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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