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The BBC's Pat Murphy
"Leicester were there for the taking"
 real 28k

Saturday, 22 April, 2000, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Foxes preserve unbeaten run

Martin O'Neill's men refused to be beaten
Aston Villa 2-2 Leicester City

Leicester City skipper Matt Elliott was again the chief thorn in the side of Aston Villa as the Foxes maintained their 13-year unbeaten run against their Midlands rivals in a pulsating Premiership clash.

Elliott had wrecked Villa's Worthington Cup dreams when he scored the only goal of this season's two legged semi-final.

And the Scotland international came up trumps again by scoring his side's first goal and laying on the second equaliser for Neil Lennon.

But the game ended in controversy with an injury-time touchline flare-up involving a dozen players and Leicester assistant-manager John Robertson.

Neil Lennon scored Leicester's second
The visitors were incensed by a late touchline tackle by Villa substitute Lee Hendrie on Rob Savage and several stewards were involved in restoring order.

Villa must be wondering what they have to do to defeat the Foxes and the two dropped points was a big blow to their hopes of sneaking into Europe via a high Premiership placing.

The Foxes always seem to have a trick or two up their sleeve to frustrate Villa - and in Elliott they have the ace of the pack.

The Scotland defender started in defence, went upfront to score and lay on Neil Lennon's equaliser, and reverted to the back to help deny a late Villa surge for the three points.

But it was Alan Thompson, frozen out of the first team picture for four months until recently, who put John Gregory's side ahead in the 31st minute.

Dion Dublin was the creator with a back heel which fell into the path of Thompson who crashed a rising left-footed shot past Flowers.

Five minutes later however, the scores were level when Villa defender Gareth Barry gifted the goal to Elliott.

Stefan Oakes sent over a dipping left-wing free-kick and Barry completely missed his attempted clearance.

The ball fell into the path of Elliott at the far post and he made no mistake as he hammered a rising shot past David James.

Villa needed only three minutes of the second half to regain the lead through a rare headed goal from Paul Merson.

But any side managed by Martin O'Neill will not lay down and die and in the 67th minute they were back on level terms for the second time.

Izzet sent over a right-wing cross, Elliott headed back to Lennon and, despite the efforts of Alan Wright to close him down, he was able to drive a right-footed shot wide of David James.


Aston Villa: James, Ehiogu, Samuel, Barry, Watson, Thompson, Boateng, Merson, Wright, Dublin, Carbone. Subs: Joachim, Hendrie, Ghrayib, Bewers, Enckelman.

Leicester: Flowers, Sinclair, Taggart, Gilchrist, Impey, Savage, Lennon, Oakes, Izzet, Cottee, Elliott. Subs: Walsh, Marshall, Dudfield, Zagorakis, Arphexad.

Referee: G Barber (Tring)

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