ADE LIFTS FOXES OFF THE BOTTOM
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
A couple of short corners from the left, involving Dennis Wise and Andy Impey saw the latter cross to the back post, where it was headed back into the danger zone. Matt Elliott swiped at the ball and although Akinbiyi's first shot was blocked by Emerson Thome, he showed resilience and balance to get a second chance which he scuffed into the corner of the net.
The manner of the goal will not matter to Akinbiyi, who has been come in for microscopic attention from the nation's commentators and although it was just his first in 15 games, it could prove to be a turning point in his Leicester career.
Sunderland's sloppy defensive start to the match almost got them into trouble in the fourth minute when Trevor Benjamin and Akinbiyi converged on Stanislav Varga.
The ball broke to Benjamin who raced untouched on goal, but an awful miscontrol off his thigh saw Tomas Sorensen given the opportunity to save and although the rebound came back out, the striker fell over in attempting to turn and shoot in one movement.
In an enjoyable start to the game Sunderland's first major chance came in the seventh minute when Gavin McCann, Kevin Phillips and Jason McAteer linked up superbly to give the Irish defender a clear shot on goal, that he curled just past the post.
With the angle of the sun causing severe glare in one half of the pitch, Frank Sinclair's misjudgement of Sorensen's goal kick was perhaps understandable, but his mistake set Phillips clean through only for him to put it wide.
Akinbiyi's first attempt at goal came in the 19th minute when his marker, Thome was fortunate not to be pulled up for holding onto the striker in the box. The powerful Leicester man shrugged off the challenge but his weak shot was easily claimed by Sorensen.
Considering all the media focus on Akinbiyi's poor form in front of goal, Phillips was not looking at his best and Michael Gray's drive into the box in the 22nd minute found the striker at the back post. The pace on the ball into him was too much and the ball got stuck under his feet and from just three yards out, the chance went begging.
After such a bright start it was disappointing for the game to descend into a frustrating affair, with a fair degree of tension gripping the match.
McAteer found himself the first in referee Steve Dunn's notebook after a tangle with Robbie Savage, who escaped punishment and the first half ended with both sides having a single chance to grab the opening goal.
A cross from the right caused chaos in Sunderland's box, but from the clearance, McCann blazed over when well placed at the opposite end.
Julio Arca should have put Sunderland a goal up in the 52nd minute as Ian Walker stretched to cut out a cross only presented the ball on a plate for the Argentinian but he volleyed wide, missing an open goal.
A poor through ball attempt by Dennis Wise almost gave the visitors the chance to open the scoring as Stefan Schwarz anticipated the pass and fired goalwards, only for Walker to tip it over the bar.
After Leicester's goal, Varga was replaced by Niall Quinn, but the Irishman's imposing aerial ability was snuffed out by a determined home defence and with Elliott in imperious form and Wise and Savage frustrating the visitors, Sunderland returned to the North East pointless.
Click below for indepth coverage of the game:
Click here for The Premiership table