Leicester City crash out of FA Cup after losing to Huddersfield 2-1
Leicester City crashed out the FA Cup after producing one of their worst performances of the season last night.
City were a pale imitation of their usual selves in losing the fourth round replay against Huddersfield 2-1.
Far too many of manager Nigel Pearson's men were way below par – and they paid the price with a cup exit.
There was a double blow as, in a Championship match, Hull beat Derby to move into the second automatic promotion place occupied by City at the start of play.
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The crowd at the King Power Stadium were treated to a whirlwind start, with Adam Clayton putting the visitors in front after just five minutes only for City to hit back through Michael Keane two minutes later.
However, City failed to build on their leveller and Huddersfield eventually punished them, with Sean Scannell taking advantage of some woeful defending to fire the Terriers into the fifth round with 15 minutes remaining.
While both camps spoke of how important the FA Cup remained for them, both City and the Terriers have bigger much fish to fry in the league.
While City are chasing automatic promotion, Huddersfield have been dragged into a relegation battle.
Therefore, it was no surprise that both sides made changes; City made four, while Terriers caretaker boss Mark Lillis made six and fielded a largely inexperienced side.
The first half was a scrappy affair, littered with poor passes and dreadful touches, though Keane stood out with some rare flashes of quality.
City's central midfield duo of Matty James and Richie Wellens were having steady games, but City's attacking play broke down time and again in the final third.
Marko Futacs hardly strengthened his case for more starts, while David Nugent was having a poor game by his standards.
Even the dependable defensive pair of Wes Morgan and Kasper Schmeichel were making mistakes, as Morgan committed a needless foul after just four minutes and then saw Schmeichel beaten from long range by Clayton's free kick at the post he was covering.
But Keane restored parity with his first-ever senior goal, when the 20-year-old shot home from close range after a goalmouth scramble.
After that, the game was devoid of any real quality from either side.
City just could not be woken from their malaise and both Nugent and Futacs missed excellent second-half chances.
Huddersfield were no better, but they snatched the victory when Scannell was allowed to waltz past both Matty James and Paul Konchesky to score through Schmeichel's legs.
It was a dreadful goal to concede, which summed up the whole evening.
The concern will be that, not for the first time this season, some of Pearson's fringe players were given a chance to stake a claim but could not take it. The question will be if City hit a patch of injuries, would the squad be strong enough to maintain a promotion push?