Memorable Match: Peterborough United 2-0 Leicester City - Posh close the gap on League One leaders

The Foxes travel to take on Peterborough United this weekend in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. We look back to a top of the table clash when it seemed like the Foxes were running away with the League One title in 2009.

Memorable Match: Peterborough United 2-0 Leicester City - Posh close the gap on League One leaders
Leicester City travelled to London Road in March 2009 for a top-of-the-table clash | Photo: Getty/ Arfa Griffiths

Leicester City will take a trip along the A47 this weekend to face Peterborough United at London Road in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.

Both teams come into this fixture in good form chasing European football and the League One Play-off places respectively. The gap between the two teams has not always been so vast.

Back on a windy day in the spring of 2009, the Foxes and Posh were both fighting for automatic promotion to the Championship. Leicester seemingly looked as though to be running away with the league before the fixture and the prospect of bouncing straight back up to the Championship under new manager Nigel Pearson was looking brighter than the weather. 

Although not a classic thriller in terms of goal mouth action, questionable refereeing decisions and “tiki-taka football”, it was memorable for other reasons such as it being a top of the table clash and being one of only four defeats Leicester would incur in that title winning campaign.

Bad weather halts good play

Peterborough United were chasing back-to-back promotions under manager Darren Ferguson. However, their rich form could not shine in the bad weather conditions over Cambridgeshire. The swirling winds and the heavy rain deluge caused somewhat of a stalemate as neither team got going and look like title contenders their respective form would suggest.

The game was plagued with wayward shots from the two leading league strikers, Leicester’s Matty Fryatt  and Peterborough’s Craig Mackail-Smith, who had notched 23 and 19 strikes respectively before the meeting. Bookings for ‘unsporting behaviour’ and a bogged-down soggy pitch looked to have the teams destined to enter the break at 0-0.

However, in the 44th minute, Scotsman Paul Coutts’ corner was half cleared by a weak header from City youngster Joe Mattock. The ball was collected by midfielder Charlie Lee who created a lot of space for himself with a neat drag-back. He followed that with a wonderful curling shot into the top left-hand corner of the goal which keeper Tony Warner was powerless to stop.

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Peterborough come out firing

In the early stages of the second half, it was the home side who were very much in the ascendency. Striker Aaron McLean fired wide on a couple of occasions before a header went just over the frame of the goal from Lee. In-form Craig Mackail-Smith displayed an excellent  burst of pace to get behind the Leicester defence but could only put his effort wide.

City seemed unable to break through whilst also living dangerously by playing a high line in the search for an equaliser. Their intent was shown also in Pearson’s substitutions with veteran striker Barry Hayles replacing Swiss defender Bruno Berner. A shot from Foxes winger Max Gradel was later blocked after he latched onto a free-kick taken by shot stopper Warner.

Posh double their lead

Eleven minutes from time, Mackail-Smith controlled a long pass whilst hugging the right-hand sideline. He then completed a mazy run to get past  a couple Leicester defenders before whipping in 30-yard cross that was fired home by midfielder Chris Whelpdale.

Manager Darren Ferguson celebrated his team’s second goal from the stands. He was earlier sent to his seat by referee Chris Foy.

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The gap is closed

After the final whistle, it was the home side who celebrated and took all three points. The points gap behind the leaders was now down to just four. The run in of the final 6 games of the season was sure to be interesting.

Foxes manager Nigel Pearson was humble in defeat admitting that the better side had won. He was still confident however that his side were to lift the trophy come the end of the season.

He said: "I've said from day one that it is where you are in May that matters and we've done very well this season to put ourselves in the position that we're in”.