The Foxes will be looking to capitalise on some momentum following an FA Cup Fifth Round victory versus Sheffield United last Friday evening. Meanwhile, the Potters will be desperate for a win as they are suffering a dire spell of form which has seen them win one game so far this year.
In the same tie back at the start of the 2005-06 Championship season, the two teams met with hopes of bettering their mid-table finishes in the previous campaign. Craig Levein was at the helm for his first full season as Leicester manager as was his counterpart, the Dutch manager Johan Boskamp for the Potters.
In a six-goal thriller, including a second half hat-trick for Leicester’s David Connolly and a sending off for Stoke’s Junior N’Galula, it was certainly no ordinary mid-table clash.
Leicester take control early on
It was Stoke who started the match the brighter of the two teams but seemed unable to break the home side down. Dutchman Mark de Vries then started to assert his physical dominance and began to cause havoc in the Stoke box.
The breakthrough came in the 14th minute in favour of the Foxes. Jason Wilcox’s cross from the left-wing was smartly dummied by Irishman David Connolly which gave De Vries time to take a touch at close range before smashing the ball high into the net.
Foxes made to rue missed chances
Shortly after the restart, winger Momo Sylla may have doubled Leicester’s lead after a sweet solo run from Connolly ended in a cross which found Sylla in the Stoke box. He unfortunately sent his effort well over the frame of the goal though.
In the 61st minute, Belgian midfielder Junior N’galula was sent off for Stoke following a nasty off-the-ball foul on Joey Gudjonsson. It then seemed as though Leicester would be taking all three points, but only three minutes later, ten-man Stoke were level. The equaliser came when Dave Brammer's right-wing corner was headed across goal by Carl Hoefkens for Marlon Broomes to tap it in for 1-1.
The game stayed level for only two minutes as Gudjonsson’s free kick was blocked by Stoke’s wall for it to neatly land at Connolly’s feet for a simple tap in from six yards out to make it 2-1 to the home side. The away team’s calls for an offside decision were waved away by referee Paul Taylor.
Three goals in the final ten minutes
Leicester countered a Stoke attack brilliantly eight minutes from time after clearing the ball from the Foxes box to the centre of the park, where midfielder Gareth Williams collected the ball to run at the Potters defence to excellently find Connolly outside the box. The Irishman then knocked the ball to find space to then guide the ball across keeper Steve Simonsen for his second goal of the game.
Stoke answered back when full-back John Halls retrieved the ball in the centre of midfield to send it to Luke Chadwick on the right wing who then returned the favour by squaring up Halls in the box to make it 3-2 in the 89th minute.
Connolly secures hat-trick
The game was put beyond all doubt in injury time when Brammer’s poor back-pass allowed Connolly to seize an opportunity to find himself one-on-one with the Stoke shot stopper. He then fired home Leicester’s fourth of the game to also win himself the match ball by rounding off his hat-trick.
Foxes manager Craig Levein spoke after the game suggesting that his team could’ve been better.
He said: “We played good football and scored some good goals but we also made it so difficult for ourselves.
"I think we were a little bit nervous because there was pressure on us from outside after the 4-1 defeat at Sheffield United on Saturday."