Report: Leicester 5-3 Bolton
Bolton Wanderers ended the 2013 calendar year on the wrong side of an eight-goal bonanza against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
The Trotters responded well to an early setback to draw level and then twice gained the lead - an Andre Moritz brace and Jermaine Beckford accounting for the goals.
With the scores level at 3-3 at the interval, the home side would ultimately go on to wrap up the points after two second half goals.
Dougie Freedman made no less than six changes to his starting line-up, two of which were enforced.
Neil Danns and Kevin McNaughton had both returned to their respective parent clubs, whilst Chris Eagles, Mark Davies, Darren Pratley and Joe Mason were named on the bench.
That allowed for ex-Leicester pair Matt Mills and Beckford, plus Medo Kamara, Rob Hall, Chung-Yong Lee and Moritz to start from the off.
Leicester started game with a swagger you’d expect from a top of the table side and with just six minutes on the clock the hosts were a goal to the good.
With the ball pinging around on the edge of the area following Matt James’ miss-kick, Danny Drinkwater then steadied himself before arrowing a low drive goalwards that spun into the net off the foot of the post.
James almost doubled the lead immediately from the restart, though his slaloming run after neat give-and-go with David Nugent was halted by Andrew Lonergan.
After 15 minutes of weathering a Leicester storm, out of nowhere Bolton drew level.
Lee was afforded space to gallop across the face of the Leicester area, before his low cross was prodded into the far corner by Moritz.
If the home side were aggrieved to have conceded an equaliser given the balance of play, what unfolded next would really rankle.
Beckford, whose every touch was being jeered by the home fans, found space inside the area. In the flash he shifted the ball onto his left foot and out of the reach of Liam Moore, before digging out a low shot that nestled in the far corner.
James and Drinkwater continued to be at the hub of all of the home side’s positive play, though as the half wore on the pair were largely restricted to long-range efforts.
Medo Kamara, who himself had impressed with a flurry of shots from distance in recent weeks, stung the palms of Kasper Schmeichel from distance.
Just as it seemed Bolton were set to see out of the opening 45 with a 2-1 lead, a remarkable two-minute period ensued.
First, Lloyd Dyer, a constant threat down the left, pinched half-a-yard on Alex Baptiste before his back-post cross was headed home by Anthony Knockaert for 2-2.
It was a blow, but immediately from the restart Bolton were back in front.
Moritz danced his way around two defenders before sending a low daisy cutter through two sets of legs and beyond a hapless Schmeichel for 3-2.
But once again the hosts hit back.
Bolton failed to clear Dyer’s cross, with Paul Konchesky then thundering an effort goalwards that took a double ricochet on its way into Lonergan’s net. Mills will almost certainly be credited with an own goal.
Pratley was introduced in place of Hall at the interval.
And whilst the early throes of the second half offered little in the way of attempts on goal, tempers did flare on the hour mark.
Zat Knight clashed with Jamie Vardy off the ball, with both eventually escaping with yellow cards.
In truth the home side looked the more likely to swing the game in their favour.
Knockaert’s swirling free-kick came back off the bar with Moore unable to turn home the rebounds with the goal gaping.
Whilst primarily being on the back-foot Bolton still posed a significant threat on the counter. Mark Davies, on in place of Moritz, saw a shot from the edge of the area clawed away by Schmeichel.
But the home side’s pressure was to eventually tell.
On 72 minutes Vardy latched onto Nugent’s flick and after toeing the ball away from Lonergan, was eventually felled by the onrushing goalkeeper inside the area.
Though Lonergan made amends against his former Preston team-mate, flying right to fist away the resulting spot kick.
But it was only to be a temporary rest bite for Wanderers.
Dyer once again escaped down the left and made a beeline for goal. After fending off Baptiste he curled a low effort into the far corner.
Bolton had to go for it. Joe Mason was thrown on for Medo.
With time ticking away Bolton penalty appeals fell on deaf ears, as Pratley smashed Baptiste’s cut-back into Wes Morgan’s midriff.
In the end Leicester sub Gary Taylor-Fletcher made sure of the points, finishing from the right channel.