Substitute Abdul Fatawu scored a stunning extra-time winner as Bournemouth lost 1-0 at home to Sky Bet Championship leaders Leicester.

Fatawu collected Kelechi Iheanacho’s pass on the edge of the penalty area before bending a powerful left-foot shot into the top corner to send the Foxes into the quarter-finals.

Leicester made nine changes from the side beaten at home by promotion rivals Leeds last week but still showed their Premier League credentials.

Dennis Praet had the game’s first shot on target when he put an overhead-kick tamely into the arms of goalkeeper Mark Travers from Marc Albrighton’s lofted cross.

Arjan Raikhy also fired wide from the edge of the box in the opening minutes.

Bournemouth rested top-scorer Dominic Solanke and handed a full debut to January transfer window signing Enes Unal.

Turkey international Unal caught the eye with an industrious first-half display, although his ninth-minute 30-yard free-kick was a touch ambitious as it flew high and wide.

In the 15th minute, Leicester’s stand-in goalkeeper Jakub Stolarczyk had to come quickly off his line to beat Unal to Philip Billing’s through ball.

And three minutes later Hamza Choudhury was on hand to clear Unal’s close-range shot off the line.

Bournemouth midfielder Alex Scott should have done better after being picked out by Luis Sinisterra’s low cross but he blazed over from midway inside the penalty area.

Leicester continued to pose a threat on the counter-attack and Yunus Akgun should have at least hit the target when he headed wide from another Albrighton centre.

The Foxes had another big let-off 11 minutes before half-time as left-back Milos Kerkez drilled a cross-shot towards the six-yard box but Unal could only stab wide.

Albrighton, one of the few survivors from Leicester’s 2021 FA Cup-winning side, was inches away from firing the Foxes ahead in the 41st minute when his low strike from the edge of the area slammed against a post.

Bournemouth goalkeeper Travers then made an acrobatic save to turn Wanya Marcal’s follow-up effort over the crossbar.

In the final minutes of the half, Stolarczyk made a good reaction save to keep out Sinisterra’s header from a corner before Scott put the rebound wide at the far post.

It was Bournemouth’s turn to be denied by the woodwork five minutes into the second half as Marcos Senesi’s long-range curler beat Stolarczyk before hitting a post.

Stolarczyk was called into action again in the 74th minute to beat away Kerkez’s well-struck near-post effort.

Akgun should have won it four minutes from the end of normal time when he found himself one-on-one with Travers but blazed over.

Just as the game looked to be heading for a penalty shootout, Ghanaian Fatawu won it in the final minute of the first half of extra time.

Leeds boss Daniel Farke said the feelgood factor was more important than club records after three late goals sealed his side a 3-1 home win over promotion rivals Leicester.

Connor Roberts, Archie Gray and Patrick Bamford all struck for Leeds in the final 10 minutes after Wout Faes’ first-half header had given Championship leaders Leicester a deserved lead.

Farke’s side equalled a 92-year club record of nine straight league wins and extended their unbeaten run at Elland Road this season, while the German is the first Leeds manager to remain undefeated in his first 19 home games in charge.

The former Norwich boss, whose side have cut the gap on Leicester to six points after trailing them by 17 at the turn of the year, said: “It’s a great evening for everyone connected with Leeds United.

“To be there with a ninth win in a row, unbeaten here at Elland Road (this season) – there are many record-breaking statistics.

“But even more important is the feeling and the spirit. You could feel it in the celebrations of the whole stadium.

“You could see what it means to everyone connected with this club after some really tough years, many disappointments and days of suffering.

“To experience such a period when you feel everything is really united here – players, staff, supporters, the whole club.

“We’re delivering such performances and such results. It’s great and I’m delighted for our supporters. They can enjoy their weekend in a proper way, that’s for sure.”

Leicester had been good value for their slender lead after Faes headed in from a corner but were punished for some glaring misses and slipped to back-to-back league defeats.

Jannik Vestergaard’s second-half header went within a whisker of giving the Foxes a 2-0 lead when it hit a post and Patson Daka had an effort wrongly ruled out for offside.

Stephy Mavididi fired a fraction wide and Daka pulled another golden chance off target.

On the disallowed goal, Leicester boss Enzo Maresca said: “I didn’t watch to be honest, so I can’t say anything.

“But until the goal we conceded in the 80th minute, we dominated and controlled the game.

“We created many chances and at the end it was a matter of the chances that we missed.”

The Italian admitted his players reacted badly to conceding Leeds substitute Roberts’ equaliser.

“In the last 10 minutes, in this kind of game in this stadium, it’s easy when you concede a goal that you drop a little or mentally they are better than us,” he added.

“We feel bad because we dropped points, but at the same I feel very proud because we came here with the personality we showed.”

Leeds struck three late goals at a bouncing Elland Road to beat Leicester 3-1 and throw the Sky Bet Championship title race wide open.

Leicester appeared to be tightening their grip on top spot after Wout Faes’ first-half header, but Leeds hit back in a roaring finish with goals from Connor Roberts, Archie Gray and Patrick Bamford.

Daniel Farke’s side equalled a club-record nine straight league wins – set in 1931 – extending their unbeaten start to the year and closing the gap on leaders Leicester to six points.

The Foxes, who had been 17 points ahead of Leeds at the start of 2024, had been good value for their slender lead, but were punished for some glaring misses as they slipped to back-to-back league defeats.

Leicester were first to threaten through Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s low effort and went close again through a header from Patson Daka, whose fierce drive soon after forced Illan Meslier into a flying save.

Daka was involved again when Leicester took a 15th-minute lead, flicking on Dewsbury-Hall’s corner for the unmarked Faes to head home at the far post.

The Belgium defender’s third-ever goal for the Foxes was the first Leeds had conceded in six league matches and they set about making amends.

Joel Piroe headed wide, Willy Gnonto’s shot was blocked and Leicester centre-half Jannik Vestergaard brilliantly denied Crysencio Summerville a shooting chance in front of goal.

It was fast and furious as Leeds pinned Leicester back in search of an equaliser, but the visitors’ backline, bolted together by big Dane Vestergaard, held firm until half-time.

Georginio Rutter curled wide early in the second period and with Leeds committing men forward, Leicester were measured and incisive on the break.

The Foxes showed they were a step up from the opposition that Leeds had recently faced and it took another full-stretch save from Meslier to keep out Stephy Mavididi’s angled shot.

Vestergaard then headed Dewsbury-Hall’s corner against a post and Daka thought he had put his side 2-0 up, only for his follow-up effort to be ruled out for offside.

Mavididi raced on to Dewsbury-Hall’s slide-rule pass to shoot agonisingly wide before an increasingly frustrated home crowd was lifted by Summerville’s blocked shot.

Daka wasted a golden chance to double the Foxes’ lead in the 73rd minute when dragging his effort off-target after another rapier counter-attack.

Leeds were struggling to gain momentum as the game entered the final 15 minutes, repeatedly repelled by Leicester’s two walls of blue.

But the Whites turned the game on its head with two goals in three minutes.

Roberts, a 73rd-minute replacement for Junior Firpo, lashed home a rebound into the bottom corner after Rutter had been tackled inside the penalty area to equalise in the 80th minute.

And with Leeds fans still celebrating, Gray took possession on the edge of the box and fired home a left-footed effort, which wrong-footed goalkeeper Mads Hermansen after deflecting off Faes and nestling into the bottom corner.

Substitute Patrick Bamford wrapped up the points for Leeds, deflecting in  Daniel James’ sweetly-struck free-kick in stoppage time to leave Leicester shell-shocked.

Michael Carrick praised Middlesbrough’s incredible spirit after an impressive 2-1 victory at Championship leaders Leicester ended a four-game winless run.

Boro completed a league double over the Foxes after Finn Azaz produced a cool finish into the top left corner from Lewis O’Brien’s square pass to break the deadlock in the 24th minute before Samuel Silvera powered home to double the lead eight minutes before half-time.

Despite Jamie Vardy finding the bottom left corner with five minutes left to play from Tom Cannon’s ball in behind, Boro held on to claim their first win at the King Power Stadium and inflict a first home defeat on the Foxes since November.

The visitors remain seven points off the play-off places and Carrick insists his side have plenty more to offer after securing just their second league victory since the turn of the year.

Carrick said: “The spirit and the will to win was there, tactically the boys understood it, the boys were so eager to carry it out, it’s not easy as we’ve taken a few hits lately, the spirit was incredible.

“I’m just happy the boys had something go their way for a change, they deserve it because they’re an unbelievable group to work with, it doesn’t surprise me.

“The players are happy without being overly happy which is good, they’re eager to bring on what’s next, there was almost a feeling we could have scored one or two more and made it a little bit easier, they had chances towards the end, but there’s a good sense that that is still not enough, we want some more.

“We played very similar to how we played at home against them, they put five across their top line, it was just different personnel and the boys did their specific jobs unbelievably well and I was really pleased they took that on board.”

Leicester missed a number of gilt-edged chances throughout as Jannik Vestergaard twice failed to hit the target from close range while substitute Vardy blazed over the bar shortly before he reduced the deficit.

The Foxes saw their eight-game unbeaten run at home come to an end although Leicester boss Enzo Maresca was pleased his side kept fighting until the final whistle despite lacking quality in the final third.

Maresca said: “It was just one of those days you have to drop points, we created many chances before their goal, we pushed until the end and tried until the end and that’s the most important thing.

“Even playing a different way we created a lot of chances, we tried to adjust and adapt, we lost a little bit of balance after we conceded the first goal and we conceded some counter attacks which we need to avoid.

“We missed the last pass, even with these things that we need to improve, we had many chances that we missed, we were close, it’s part of our season, we can’t think we’re going to win every game.

“We have 13 games, we need to win some more games to reach our target, it’s not easy, you can drop points every game in the Championship, from now on all the games are important, we didn’t drop in terms of commitment, it was a lack of quality in the last third.”

Middlesbrough claimed their first win at the King Power Stadium with a 2-1 victory over Championship leaders Leicester.

After the Foxes missed two big chances to take the lead, Finn Azaz opened the scoring in the 24th minute with a clever finish from Lewis O’Brien’s square pass before Samuel Silvera’s emphatic strike after 37 minutes extended Boro’s advantage.

Substitute Jamie Vardy halved the deficit in the 85th minute, producing an excellent finish into the bottom left corner, but Boro held on to end a four-game winless run and complete the double over Leicester.

The Foxes, who lost at home for the first time since November, are now nine points in front of second-placed Leeds – their next opponents on Friday.

The home side spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead after five minutes when Jannik Vestergaard headed Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s cross from the right into the side netting from five yards.

Leicester missed another gilt-edged chance soon after as Patson Daka somehow miscued his close-range header, sending the ball across the face of goal.

Moments later, Abdul Fatawu cut in from the right and saw his goalbound effort blocked behind by Matt Clarke.

Boro took full advantage of those missed opportunities to break the deadlock when Silvera released O’Brien in behind and the midfielder squared the ball across the box to Azaz who coolly lifted into the top left corner.

Foxes defender Ricardo Pereira then made a crucial interception as he cut out O’Brien’s square ball after Boro caught Leicester on the counter attack from their own corner.

However, the visitors doubled their lead after Stephy Mavididi played a short pass to James Justin from a throw-in and Riley McGree pounced to slip in Silvera who smashed the ball into the left corner of the goal.

Leicester searched for a way back into the game before the break as Fatawu’s shot from 20 yards dipped narrowly over the crossbar before Dewsbury-Hall saw his effort deflect over the top.

Boro could have extended their lead early in the second half when Azaz lifted a pass through to McGree and Foxes goalkeeper Mads Hermansen hesitated coming off his line only for the midfielder to carry the ball out of play.

McGree then curled a free-kick inches wide of the post from 25 yards after Wout Faes bodychecked Azaz to break up a promising Boro attack.

Leicester should have reduced the deficit when Kasey McAteer played a ball across the box to fellow substitute Vardy only for the veteran striker to blaze his shot over the bar from close range before Vestergaard repeated the feat moments later.

However, Vardy made amends for his earlier miss five minutes from time when he produced a clinical finish into the bottom left corner after racing onto Tom Cannon’s ball in behind the Boro defence.

The Foxes were unable to find a leveller as Boro put their bodies on the line to win away at Leicester for the first time since September 2001 and bring an end to the home side’s four-game winning run.

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca refuses to accept that his side are all-but promoted.

A 2-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday at King Power Stadium moved the Foxes 14 points clear of third-placed Southampton.

It looks to be only a matter of time before Maresca’s side confirm their return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

But the Italian coach does not see it that way and warned his players against complacency over the next stage of the season.

“If any of my players show a drop, I will change them, even after two minutes,” he said.

“They won’t play. We aren’t changing anything, we have to keep winning and we have to respect our opponents.

“I’m very happy with this win, but now the focus moves on to Saturday when we play Middlesbrough.

“We struggled a little when they changed shape in the second half, but after about 15 or 20 minutes we were OK.

“But I wanted a third goal before half-time to make us more comfortable, if they score one they can come back.”

Jamie Vardy scored against his boyhood club and also played a part in Leicester’s opening goal after four minutes.

“Jamie showed well with two goals against Stoke and he was fighting and pressing against Watford, now he’s the player who has scored the most goals for us this season,” Maresca added.

“I am very happy with him. I felt this game would suit Jamie and the idea here was for him to start. It’s my duty to give everyone minutes, sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t, but Jamie was working well.”

Sheffield Wednesday manager Danny Rohl was encouraged by his team’s second-half performance.

“We showed a lot more in the second half and I was happier with our reaction to going behind,” he said.

“We changed to a back five but it was more having the belief.

“There was an improvement, but against Leicester you need to be good for 90 minutes and we had one good half.

“That was the positive thing we can take from the game and I think our supporters at the end recognised our second-half performance.

“This is what we can do if we are on the front foot, the data showed that. If we could have had one goal, then maybe we can try to do something.

“At Leicester it is a challenge, but we always wanted to try to get something. We drew with them at home. We know how strong they are, they are outstanding. But we reacted better than we did against Southampton.

“What we have to do now is come to every game and take as many points as we can.”

Leicester strengthened their position at the top of the Sky Bet Championship as captain Jamie Vardy scored against his boyhood club in a 2-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday at King Power Stadium.

Enzo Maresca’s side had the game won by half-time and are now 14 points clear of third-placed Southampton as they close in on promotion back to the Premier League.

Vardy, who was released by the Owls for being too small as a teenager, also played a part in the opening goal for Abdul Fatawu after four minutes.

Vardy started a game for the first time in more than two months and, coincidentally, the last Championship game he was on from the start was against Wednesday.

But this was a genuine team display with threats from all over the pitch in a commanding performance against Danny Rohl’s struggling side.

Leicester took an early lead after a mix-up in the visitors’ defence.

Goalkeeper James Beadle’s short pass put Will Vaulks in trouble with Dennis Praet close by. The ball fell to Kieran Dewsbury-Hall who delivered a cross meant for Vardy – but his step-over allowed the ball to go through for Fatawu and he tapped into an empty net.

Wednesday struggled against Leicester’s slick style of play with Harry Winks, Vardy and Dewsbury-Hall all causing problems.

On the half-hour, Dewsbury-Hall twisted and put in a cross which defender Wout Faes could only hook over the crossbar.

But Leicester extended their lead nine minutes before half-time when a long ball from Faes found Dewsbury-Hall and he neatly set up the chance for Vardy to score with an angled drive.

It was his 11th goal of the season and made him Leicester’s top scorer.

The Owls briefly threatened to pull a goal back when Djeidi Gassama’s long-range shot was saved by Leicester goalkeeper Mads Hermansen.

Wednesday substitute Anthony Musaba then sent a shot inches past the far post as the game passed the hour mark.

Vardy received a standing ovation when he was substituted with 10 minutes to go.

Leicester were able to play out the final minutes under no pressure, although there were some encouraging signs for Rohl in the second half.

Enzo Maresca said his Leicester side delivered a “complete performance” following a 2-1 victory at Watford that maintained their 11-point lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship.

Patson Daka’s 10th-minute penalty and a 55th-minute effort from Ricardo Pereira appeared to have put Maresca’s team on course for a comfortable victory.

But a mistake by Foxes midfielder Harry Winks gifted Watford substitute Emmanuel Dennis the chance to reply in the 63rd minute and the visitors were forced to go on the defensive to protect the points.

And Maresca – who insisted he had got everything he wanted on his 44th birthday – said the combination of his side’s forward efforts together with their late resolve summed up their progress this season.

“We got three points and yes we are happy because it has been a complete performance in terms of we play when we have to play,” he said.

“And we suffered together, after the goals we conceded we lost a bit of confidence but overall I’m happy.”

He added: “It has been a complete performance because when we needed to play, we played the way we want to play. It’s part of the season we are trying to change some things.

“I can understand that the only thing that people can see is just get promoted. But for me get promoted is just at this moment.

“This was a club in transition last summer with lots of important players leaving.

“There are many more thing we have done. But I can understand the focus is on promotion, but we are changing many things.”

And the manager was adamant he would not criticise Winks for the misplaced pass that set Dennis up for the Watford reply.

He added: “The mistake is part of the process. I always said that if they try to do what we work on everyday and make a mistake, then it doesn’t matter. But if they don’t try, then they are not going to play.

“At the end Harry was a bit sad and upset, but it’s not any problem. And we are very happy with the second goal. It was very nice and the performance was good as well.”

Watford boss Valerien Ismael was pleased with his side’s efforts against the league leaders, and in particular ending a run of three games without a goal – even if he was unhappy at the decision to award a penalty after Leicester’s Dennis Praet went to ground after a challenge from Giorgi Chakvetadze.

“I’m really proud of the players and pleased with the performance and mentality they showed,” he said.

“In this game, you saw we had bad luck. After one minute, Bayo was injured and we needed to change the plan. After that, a soft penalty. I’ve been many years in English football and that was a soft penalty.

“Even when 1-0 down, we were disciplined and we were aggressive.

“I said at half-time it was still 1-0, and we had to be patient. It would have been wrong to have lost our heads and pushed too much.

“We had two or three situations on the edge of the box when we should have taken one or both to get back into the game.”

Patson Daka set Leicester on course for a 2-1 win against Watford at Vicarage Road that maintained their 11-point lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship.

But Enzo Maresca’s side were grateful for the cushion provided by Ricardo Pereira’s second-half strike after a Harry Winks mistake gifted Emmanuel Dennis the chance to fire up hopes of a Hornets comeback.

Daka converted a 10th-minute penalty for his third goal in three games since returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty with Zambia.

And the Foxes stood firm to protect their lead after Winks’ misplaced pass allowed Dennis to score his first goal since returning to Watford on loan from Nottingham Forest last month.

Watford came into the game having failed to score in their three previous outings – and without a goal from open play in five games.

But they were soon forced to rethink their forward plans when striker Vakoun Bayo pulled up just 75 seconds into the game.

Maresca’s side assumed control, displaying the confidence expected from a side with such a commanding lead at the top of the table.

And it took them just 10 minutes to make the break after Dennis Praet outwitted Giorgi Chakvetadze to win a 10th-minute penalty.

The Foxes midfielder broke into the box to collect a pass before cutting inside Chakvetadze who stuck out a trailing leg.

Referee Oliver Langford immediately pointed to the spot and Daka beat goalkeeper Ben Hamer with a powerful low shot.

Watford had made little impression on the game at that point and might have found themselves two down had Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall not shot over the bar after being set up by Daka.

Valerien Ismael’s side did manage to grow into the game as the half progressed and finally managed to test Leicester keeper Mads Hermansen when Wesley Hoedt shot from long range in the 33rd minute.

That proved to be a rare moment of threat from the home side in the first half but they had shown signs of developing some momentum before the break.

Leicester once again took the initiative at the start of the second half.

And Maresca’s men doubled their lead 10 minutes after the restart when Pereira slotted home after a sweeping counter-attack.

The move was started by Hermansen and, when the ball was rolled out to Pereira, the Foxes skipper was allowed to run from deep before exchanging passes with Abdul Fatawu and placing his finish beyond Hamer.

Watford almost responded immediately when Ken Sema’s left-wing cross was deflected dangerously close to his own goal by Leicester defender Wout Faes.

But it was an even more glaring error that gifted them the 63rd-minute strike that fired up hopes of a home comeback.

Hermansen played the ball out to Winks, who completely miscued a first-time pass and succeeded only in finding Dennis, who was standing unmarked by the penalty spot and finished into an empty net.

Watford pressed for an equaliser but were unable to prevent Leicester from seeing out a third successive league win.

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca is content to ignore criticism from some Foxes fans after seeing his side move 11 points clear at the top of the Championship with a 5-0 demolition of Stoke.

Doubles from Patson Daka and Jamie Vardy helped the visitors take another step toward an immediate return to the Premier League.

Daka opened the scoring with a tap-in shortly before Kasey McAteer’s deflected long-range strike doubled the Foxes’ lead.

After the restart the in-form Daka converted Leicester’s first penalty of the afternoon for a sixth goal in eight games.

Substitute Vardy then notched his ninth and 10th goals of the season, his second deep in stoppage time also from the penalty spot.

It was the league leaders’ biggest victory of the season, much to the delight of boss Maresca.

“The most important thing for me is the way that the team is getting better,” said the Leicester boss.

“I don’t like it when people hurt the players, because I know the effort that they’re doing to bring this club back to the Premier League.

“Since the start, I see the way that they’re working and I know that they’re doing everything they can.

“If some of the fans aren’t sure or convinced, it doesn’t matter to me. The performance was very good today and that experience will make us better.

“I’m very happy with the result and the clean sheet, especially with the first half-an-hour, that was very good and we played the way that we like to play.

“The last 10 minutes of the first half, we conceded two yellow cards that we needed to avoid as it could compromise the game, but that was it.

“We’re very happy and when we play away, the environment is always nice and the players and fans together enjoy the moment.

“I’ve said many times, our fans are unbelievable. At home some of them maybe aren’t convinced, but it is what it is.

“It’s important for us to have lots of options and every time we need them, they help, so we’re very happy.”

It was another dismal afternoon for Stoke, whose winless run at home now stands at nine games, dating back to October.

“We were miles off it and they were just too good for us,” said boss Steven Schumacher, who oversaw a third defeat on the spin.

“They showed today why they’re top of the league. They’ve done everything properly, but they didn’t have to work hard at all.

“We didn’t have the belief or the quality. We tried, but they had too much for us and their goals were too easy.

“We knew we were coming up the best team, this result wasn’t going to determine the outcome of the rest of the season, but the next two might do.

“I need to make sure that we respond and put in a better performance and try to get a win.

“It’s three games now with three defeats and we need to do something about it, so Blackburn’s going to be a big game at the weekend.

“We need to get the players ready for it. We have to react and we won’t go away and sulk.

“There’s a real lack of confidence at home. When things go against us or there’s a little adversity, the crowd turns against us and it affects the players.

“We have to work hard to try and change that now.”

Leicester extended their lead at the top of the Championship to 11 points with a thumping 5-0 victory at Stoke.

Patson Daka and Jamie Vardy both scored twice, including a penalty each, to inspire the Foxes to a comprehensive victory.

The in-form Daka opened the scoring and Kasey McAteer doubled the visitors’ advantage shortly before the half-hour mark.

After the break a first penalty of the afternoon for Leicester allowed Daka to net his second, his ninth goal involvement in his last eight matches.

An evergreen Jamie Vardy came off the bench to complete the rout, firing in his first goals in the league since November.

Stoke offered little resistance against the table-toppers, with their winless home run extended to nine games, dating back to October.

Unbeaten in eight meetings with the Potters, a rampant Leicester started on the front foot.

The returning Abdul Fatawu, who had missed three games through suspension, flashed a venomous effort just wide in an early threat to the hosts.

Stoke failed to heed the warning, with a McAteer header forcing a smart acrobatic stop from Jack Bonham and Daka heading over from close range.

And Enzo Maresca’s side were soon rewarded, with the Daka adding the finishing touch to a slick attacking move.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s delicate delivery was headed back across goal invitingly by Fatawu, with the Zambia international firing into an empty net.

The Potters then had a glorious opportunity for an immediate leveller, but Tyrese Campbell’s drilled effort was saved by the feet of Mads Hermansen.

Instead Leicester tightened their grip on the game as an ambitious McAteer effort from range deflected wickedly off Ben Wilmot and flew beyond a wrong-footed and helpless Bonham.

Steven Schumacher tried to revitalise the hosts with a string of changes after the interval, but Leicester did not let up.

When Wout Faes’ buccaneering run was halted in the area, Daka converted from 12 yards for a sixth goal in his last eight outings, either side of his trip to the Africa Cup of Nations.

It was the forward’s last piece of action for the day, but his replacement Vardy soon picked up the mantle.

The 37-year-old former England international finished first time from a glorious James Justin delivery and added a second from the penalty spot deep into stoppage time.

Stoke nearly added a consolation, but a Hermansen double save thwarted both Bae Jun-ho and Wilmot, capping off a dismal afternoon for the hosts.

But it was another day to remember for Leicester, who took another step closer to an immediate return to the Premier League.

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca admitted he did not want Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall to leave, but said the player’s future was now a matter for the club.

Dewsbury-Hall scored the opening goal after only three minutes as Leicester moved 10 points clear at the top of the Championship thanks to a 3-1 victory over Swansea.

The midfielder is thought to be a January transfer target for Brighton, but Leicester want at least £30million for him.

Two goals in three minutes sealed the points for Leicester with Stephy Mavididi scoring from the penalty spot, and Yunus Akgun adding a third.

But Maresca said Dewsbury-Hall had not been affected by the transfer speculation leading up to the game.

“I don’t want Kiernan to go – ask the club if we need to sell or not,” said Maresca.

“The only way we can do something is to sell players. I don’t think that Kiernan’s future was about this game. Kiernan is a Leicester player, hopefully he can play in the next game.

“Here, he showed once again he is in love with the club, if something will happen now, I don’t know.

“He cares about the club and he has 10 goals this season, probably for the first time in his life, these kind of things, people don’t give the right importance to and it’s not a good thing.”

Maresca also sensed the frustration among the home supporters at times, even though Leicester are dominating the English second tier.

“You can feel the fans when they’re not happy, some people take things for granted,” said the Italian coach.

“We have won 26 of 34 games this season, unbelievable, a huge number.

“The only thing I can say is that people think it’s easy, but it’s not. I came to this club to play with this idea, the moment there is some doubt about the idea, the day after, I will leave, it’s so clear.”

Swansea manager Luke Williams was left frustrated as he searches for his first league win since taking over.

“Leicester are a fantastic side who played in a fantastic way, they unlocked us,” he said.

“We held our own after the first goal, but you need to be clinical to come away with anything from Leicester.

“But then it was really quite frustrating to lose concentration, the second two goals were gifts.

“We made it a little bit too easy for those goals. I haven’t seen the penalty back, but what I know is that what came before it was a lack of concentration and focus and you cannot do that against a top side.

“It’s really difficult and challenging for the players to concentrate for 96 minutes against a side posing so many questions, but if you want to compete at the right end of the division, it’ll require the players to be focused for the entire game.”

Williams admitted his first win in the Championship with Swansea could not come soon enough.

“We’ve had very tough fixtures, but it’d be lovely to get a victory for sure,” he said.

Williams said he expected to be busy as the transfer deadline approached.

“We’re going to be trying to bring the right players in, but it’s challenging,” he added.

“I hope it’s busy and I hope it’s fruitful as well.”

Leicester moved 10 points clear at the top of the Championship following a convincing 3-1 victory over Swansea.

Enzo Maresca’s side took the lead through Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall after only three minutes.

Dewsbury-Hall is believed to be a January transfer target for Brighton, but he showed no signs that the speculation was affecting his game.

Leicester then missed a number of opportunities to put the game beyond Swansea’s reach, before Stephy Mavididi scored a 69th-minute penalty and substitute Yunus Akgun added a third, just three minutes later.

Joe Allen scored a stoppage-time consolation goal, but the result left Luke Williams still searching for his first win as Swansea manager.

Leicester took the lead after only three minutes as Dewsbury-Hall scored his 10th goal of the season

Patson Daka played the ball through Nathan Wood’s legs for Dewsbury-Hall, who took his time before picking his spot and putting the ball past Swansea goalkeeper Carl Rushworth.

But Leicester should have added a second after 19 minutes when Dewsbury-Hall crossed from the right for Daka, who was back in the team after returning from the Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia. But he sliced the ball wide from four yards out.

Leicester came close adding a second on the stroke of half-time when Mavididi’s shot from the edge of the area was tipped on to the crossbar by Rushworth.

Dewsbury-Hall then set up Daka for another chance, but he put his effort over.

The hosts had another chance to score – six minutes after half-time – and this time it was Dewsbury-Hall’s turn as he put a Dennis Praet cross wide from close range at the far post.

Swansea defender Harry Darling then went off injured after 61 minutes.

Leicester’s Kasey McAteer saw a long-range effort fly over the bar and Swansea almost hit back straight away when Jamie Paterson went close from 20 yards out.

But the Foxes finally found the net after 69 minutes from the penalty spot.

Daka took the ball off Swansea’s Bashir Humphreys on the halfway line and raced towards goal.

Wood caught up with the Leicester striker but was penalised for a lunging challenge, missed the ball and left Daka falling over in the box. Wood disputed referee Keith Stroud’s decision, but Mavididi stepped up to convert the spot-kick.

Leicester were three up after 72 minutes as substitute Yunus scored for the second-successive game.

Galatasaray loanee Yunus made the most of some hesitancy in the Swans defence to pounce following a poor clearance from Rushworth.

Swansea scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Jay Fulton’s cross was headed back into the six-yard area by Ben Cabango and Jerry Yates failed to connect before Allen scored from eight yards out.

Enzo Maresca conceded Leicester rode their luck en route to booking their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 win against Birmingham.

Birmingham spurned a number of first-half chances before Foxes striker Jamie Vardy opened the scoring after 47 minutes with his first goal in over two months from Marc Albrighton’s cross.

Yunus Akgun smashed his first Leicester goal into the top-left corner from the edge of the penalty area after 72 minutes before Dennis Praet sealed the win two minutes from time with a confident finish from substitute Tom Cannon’s cutback.

Maresca said: “We were lucky in the first half, they had many chances. The second half was much better, we controlled the game and made some tactical adjustments.

“A big part of the final result is down to Jakub (Stolarczyk’s) saves in the first half, that gave us the opportunity to still be in the game in the second half.

“(The first goal) was like 2016, it was fantastic, I’m happy for Jamie because it’s always important for a striker to score goals and also happy for Marc for the assist.

“I’m especially happy for the seven or eight players young players we had in the squad from the academy, I think it’s something historic.

“We expected to struggle a little bit because of the changes and playing many young players but we struggled because we were not playing in the way we like to play with the ball.

“I was very calm (at half-time), I was ready for the first half, it’s normal that we struggled with 10 new players in the team.”

Blues manager Tony Mowbray could not believe his team were not in front at the break after a number of good chances went begging as he suffered a first defeat as Birmingham boss.

Mowbray said: “We could have been four-nil up, maybe five, at half-time, we squandered some pretty good chances, in the end their quality showed.

“We’re trying to create an identity, there were plenty of positives in the first half, the changes we made didn’t help us.

“It felt as if we were making changes and becoming less effective and they were making changes and becoming more effective.

“The second goal was a real killer for us, the game ran away from us.

“The players have seen the identity and how hard they have to work, if they don’t bring it they won’t be playing, they either want to come on the journey or they don’t.

“Who can criticise anybody for the first-half performance? Everybody did their job and a bit of somebody else’s job and the rewards were there for all to see.

“It was difficult to comprehend that we didn’t come in winning the game at half-time but we had to accept it and try and repeat it but we couldn’t.”

Jamie Vardy’s eighth goal of the season helped much-changed Leicester into the FA Cup fifth round with a 3-0 win against Birmingham.

Vardy broke the deadlock with a header from Marc Albrighton’s superb cross after 47 minutes before Yunus Akgun’s thunderbolt on 72 minutes sealed Leicester’s place in the fifth round.

Foxes midfielder Dennis Praet added a third goal with a cool finish after 88 minutes, with Birmingham made to rue a number of missed chances in the first half as Blues lost for the first time under new boss Tony Mowbray.

Birmingham almost took the lead after just two minutes as Foxes goalkeeper Jakub Stolarczyk made a smart save with his foot to deny Keshi Anderson from the left-hand side of the penalty area.

Blues midfielder Koji Miyoshi was next to try his luck with a fine curling effort from just inside the penalty box which went inches over the crossbar with Stolarczyk rooted to the spot.

The visitors spurned another chance to take the lead when Jordan James and Jay Stansfield played a clever one-two which sent the former through on goal only for Stolarczyk to make a crucial save.

Mowbray’s side continued to dominate the chances as Siriki Dembele saw a low shot saved before Stolarczyk denied Stansfield soon after, with the striker sending his follow-up effort over the crossbar.

Birmingham went even closer to the opening goal five minutes before the break as Stansfield poked a shot against the post from 10 yards out after good work from Dembele.

Leicester made their opponents pay for those missed chances just two minutes into the second half as Vardy headed home Albrighton’s inch-perfect cross from the right into the bottom-left corner from eight yards out.

Blues had a chance to draw level soon after only for Anderson to blaze his shot into the stand after he was picked out by Stansfield following Hamza Choudhury’s giveaway.

The home side doubled their lead after 72 minutes when Akgun collected a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area before smashing a shot into the top-left corner to score his first goal for the club.

Enzo Maresca’s side could have extended their advantage eight minutes from time only for Ben Nelson to volley straight at John Ruddy from close range after Blues failed to clear their lines at a corner.

The Foxes added some gloss to the scoreline with two minutes left to play when Praet, making his first start since August, found the bottom-right corner from substitute Tom Cannon’s cut back.

Leicester are now unbeaten in their last eight matches against Birmingham in all competitions, while Blues have failed to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup in each of the last four seasons.

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