The game began brightly for the home side, with Cissokho causing some excitement in the second minute when he tore down the left and lashed a ball across the goal. Unfortunately, there was too much pace on it to allow Benteke to work his magic.
With the Lions actually enjoying the lion’s share of possession for once, the Foxes battled on. There was some skill shown by Vardy in the eighth minute as he cut back for Ulloa who passed it to Mahrez for the first of the afternoon’s comically bad shots over the bar.
Two minutes later, Benteke did well to create space for himself but he too shot way over.
He came closer in the twelfth minute but still missed his mark.
A minute later, the inevitable happened: poor defending allowed Mahrez to cut in from the left and shoot low. However, he shot straight at the wrong-footed Guzan, who made an uncharacteristic error when he somehow spilled the drive. The ball then dropped kindly for Ulloa, who hadn’t scored in the Foxes’ previous nine games, and he showed good instincts but could hardly have missed.
Having gained the lead, the Foxes did not prove particularly cunning nor were they fantastic: they were punished by a regulation Westwood free-kick into the box four minutes after Ulloa’s opener when Clark, who had been allowed far too much time and space, headed home.
Mahrez continued to prove problematic but, luckily, Guzan had regained his composure and dealt easily with the midfielder’s low drive in the twentieth minute.
Finding himself free, Benteke had the chance to put the Villans ahead after twenty-two minutes but sent his header on to the roof of the net.
Then came a penalty shout of the afternoon: Cambiasso sent Vardy tearing down the left and Guzan brought him down as he rushed out, although it appeared that the American got the ball first.
Agbonlahor did well to hold off Simpson but fired his effort wide before causing problems for Moore as he tried to reach Cissokho’s pass.
After twenty-nine minutes, it was the Foxes’ turn to threaten as Shlupp made space for a shot that went narrowly wide.
N’Zogbia found himself the first man booked after thirty-three minutes for a challenge in which he had shown his studs.
The game was delayed after Vardy’s poor tackle on Westwood from behind saw the Villa midfielder taken off on a stretcher and replaced by Richardson.
When the game resumed, all eyes were on Clark as he tore through Ulloa. He certainly got the ball and his strong tackle seemed to please the Villa faithful, although it was a little rash.
The four minutes of injury time saw another tough tackle on Ulloa, this time courtesy of Agbonlahor, as the atmosphere on the pitch grew increasingly heated.
When the second half got underway, the Foxes were without their scorer Ulloa, who was replaced by Nugent.
An unmarked Schlupp should have taken advantage of Hutton’s poor positioning in the forty-eighth minute but was unable to.
Much maligned for his pitiable passing, Richardson’s experience showed when he beat the offside trap and played Benteke through. However, the Villa striker was unable to bury the ball and was clearly frustrated.
Schmeichel showed skill and courage on a number of occasions in the second half, throwing himself in the way of Richardson and blocking Agbonlahor’s shot with his legs.
At times, as one fan behind me remarked, it seemed like our opponents were from Leicester’s Taekwondo Club rather than its football one. Cambiasso earned himself a yellow card for a bad tackle from behind on Agbonlahor just before the hour mark and was joined in Pawson’s book a minute later by Schlupp, who had made a late challenge on Hutton.
With Cleverley experiencing some discomfort, he was replaced by Grealish at the hour mark.
The mania eased a little at this point. Nugent worked hard for the visitors and almost reaped the reward after sixty-six minutes, when Guzan managed to tip the ball over the bar.
With the visitors enjoying their best spell of the game, the Villans’ second goal came from the most unlikely of sources. A great run down the left from Agbonlahor allowed him to cross to Benteke, who then passed to the advancing Hutton. The former bomb squad member exploded into life and slotted home, sending the claret and blue army into raptures since it was the first time the Villans had scored in the second half since April 5th and Hutton’s first goal for four years.
It was encouraging to see the home side pressing the advantage and Grealish’s passing showed promise. He picked out Benteke with a precise cross but Schmeichel’s heroics prevented Benteke’s header from crossing the line. Amazingly, he continued to thwart the Villans’ efforts to add to their lead, managing to deny the Belgian again from the ensuing corner.
A clash between Konchesky and Hutton left hearts in mouths but it was the Foxes who found themselves playing the remaining ten minutes of a fractious encounter with ten men.
Despite Schmeichel’s saves and the Foxes’ efforts, they were unable to stage a late comeback, leaving the Villans to delight in back-to-back wins and their march up the Premier League table, where they are now in eleventh place.