HUDDERSFIELD Town fell victim to both Chris Wood and Anthony Knockaert for the second time this season as the New Year began with a shattering setback.
Clinical Kiwi international Wood scored twice against Town when on loan at Millwall, and grabbed a debut double after joining Leicester from West Brom in a deal which could reach £2m.
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And having got both goals when the Foxes won 2-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium back in October, Frenchman Knockaert repeated the feat as home fans at the King Power Stadium revelled in a six-goal romp.
For Town it was tough going, and it is now 10 games without a win for a side who are looking over their shoulders at the relegation places and who are badly in need of a big injection of confidence.
Many fans will feel manager Simon Grayson needs to make good use of the transfer window to stop the season, which began with so much promise, from turning into a fight for Championship survival.
Town boss Simon Grayson, a former Leicester player, made three changes, bringing in Lee Novak, making a 100th start for the club, Scott Arfield and James Vaughan at the expense of Leicester loan man Jermaine Beckford – ineligible to play against his parent club – Simon Church and Chris Atkinson .
Leicester came flying out of the traps, and Anthony Gerrard had already cleared off the line from striker David Nugent and Town keeper Alex Smithies parried a shot from Wood, by the time the latter opened his Foxes account just six minutes into the game.
Town had initially cleared Knockaert’s corner, but the Frenchman played the ball back into the danger area and Wood climbed highest to head home.
Nugent stung Smithies’ palms with another crisp shot before Town managed their first effort on target in the 15th minute when Vaughan’s header was easily collected by Kasper Schmeichel in the Foxes goal.
Town were starting to find their feet and were stringing together some more encouraging phases of possession, but when an attack down the left involving Murray Wallace and Vaughan broke down and the home side countered with pace and precision in the 24th minute.
On loan Manchester United defender Michael Keane cleared his lines to Nugent, who played a neat one-two with Wood and raced off down the right flank before crossing for his frontline partner to side-foot his second goal of the game.
Vaughan, working hard against the club he served on loan in 2010, shot over before then setting up Arfield for a shot which was deflected wide.
Schmeichel twice had to punch crosses clear but in general Leicester looked calm, composed and capable of scoring again – Wood shooting just wide following a 37th minute corner.
The third goal finally arrived in first half stoppage time when Joel Lynch’s misplaced pass let in Knockaert, who passed to Belgian right back Ritchie De Laet who smashed the ball home from just inside the area.
Town began the second half with Ian Bennett in goal in place of Smithies, who had needed treatment after taking a knock midway through the first half which had prevented him from taking goal-kicks.
And the veteran keeper , making his first appearance of the season, was forced to pick the ball out of the net twice within six minutes after his introduction.
Both goals came from the tricky Knockaert, who side-footed his side’s fourth goal after Wood rampaged down the left and curled in the fifth after robbing the hesitant Wallace and breaking into the penalty box.
Arfield’s first goal of the season on the hour, drilled in at the second attempt after Schmeichel blocked the first, at least upset Leicester’s momentum.
And when the midfielder headed narrowly over before Novak was by a Schmeichel block, Town’s 885 fans in a 25,913 crowd, were chanting “We’re going to win 6-5”.
Not surprisingly, it was Leicester who reached the half dozen when substitute Martyn Waghorn volleyed home from Wood’s cushioned header in the 76th minute.
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