Newcastle United’s season continued to rot as they were beaten 3-0 by an impressive Leicester on Saturday.
The Foxes were sensational start to finish at the King Power Stadium as goals from skipper Wes Morgan and a brace for Leonardo Ulloa helped their season continue to gather momentum in the race to beat the drop. Five wins out of their last six matches is title-winning form for Nigel Pearson’s side but results elsewhere mean Leicester remain just a point clear of the relegation zone.
In contrast, Newcastle – who were top half in April - have now lost their last eight matches after Mike Williamson and Daryl Janmaat saw red in Leicester. The result means the Magpies now look a genuine contender for relegation to the Football League, with the resurgent Leicester just a point behind them in the table.
In an abysmal afternoon for Caretaker Manager John Carver’s side, Leicester took the lead inside 36 seconds.
From a Newcastle kick-off, Leicester won a corner delivered by the Marc Albrighton whose cross found Ulloa unmarked at the front post powering a header past Tim Krul.
The Foxes continued to mount pressure on Newcastle whose heads’ surely dropped after the first goal, when Wes Morgan beat the offside trap to score on the 17th minute Carver must have been fearing the worst.
The tireless Albrighton’s free-kick narrowly beat the oncoming Ulloa but Morgan, who evaded Magpies’ captain Fabricio Collocini, poked home for two. The second-half started just as badly for Newcastle when another dangerous Albrighton corner saw Marcin Wasilewski pushed in the 18-yard box and referee Mike Dean gave a penalty.
The impressive Ulloa scored his second from the spot and Leicester fans were in raptures.
Their North-Eastern counterparts on the other-hand were angry. Chanting against owner Mike Ashley throughout the game, the Magpies’ season seems lightyears away from almost certain safety under Alan Pardew.
Their day went from bad to worse in the 62nd minute as defender Mike Williamson made a poorly timed challenge on Jamie Vardy and was sent-off for a second bookable offence.
Five minutes later Ulloa could have had his hat-trick but for a superb reaction save from Tim Krul. Albrighton again the man with the cross finding Ulloa rising above Collocini to head at goal from 10-yards.
In injury-time man-of-the-match Vardy once again beat the Newcastle defence and Daryl Janmaat repeated Williamson’s misdemeanour sieving down the Leicester man for a second Newcastle red.
Vardy narrowly headed wide from close-range in the closing stages but the score remained the same in an afternoon which sees Newcastle go into their next game against West Brom without two of their four first-choice defenders.
After the game Newcastle boss accused Williamson of being sent-off on purpose. "I thought he'd done that on purpose - it looks like he did," he said. "The ball was off the pitch - he had no need to make the challenge. He will miss two games. Is it an easy way out?"
Asked about his side’s performance Carver reacted sternly: "On a scale of one to 10, it is a minus 10."
"I asked if everyone understood their roles and responsibilities. I can't go and mark men on the pitch myself. If we're not willing to compete, get your head onto the ball and risk getting an injury, you won't get anywhere. We'll have an open discussion on Monday - it'll be interesting."
Following controversy in mid-week, Leicester boss Nigel Pearson was unsurprisingly more relaxed after seeing his side dominate Newcastle for 90 minutes;
"From the kick-off we didn't allow Newcastle to feel their way in to the game. To get two goals in a short amount of time helped. With a couple of months to go our season was in danger of not happening as we'd like. But we've kept our destiny in our hands. Goal difference will be important - days like today help.”
Pearson also spoke out in support of Carver following the game; "Someone of John Carver's integrity has to try to find solutions that are proving difficult to solve. I feel for him - he cares so much about the club. You've got a better chance if you have people who have a feel for the club. They still have more points than us. They've still got work to do but so do we."