Leicester suffered a wobble in their bid for an instant return to the Premier League after a stunning Ryan Longman strike condemned them to a 1-0 defeat at struggling Millwall.

Back-to-back wins had reignited the Foxes’ promotion bid and lifted them back to the top of the Championship.

But they slipped up in south London as the Lions, in need of the points for different reasons, battled to a first win in five matches to go four points clear of the relegation zone.

In a huge match at both ends of the table, Leicester’s defeat will have been welcomed by Ipswich and Leeds as the three-horse race for automatic promotion enters the final straight.

Millwall had a chance to open the scoring in the first minute, George Honeyman floating in a free-kick which Longman headed too close to Foxes goalkeeper Mads Hermansen.

Leicester quickly settled, though, and Stephy Mavididi – the late matchwinner against Birmingham on Saturday – should have done better when he was sent through by Yunus Akgun but his touch was too heavy.

Ricardo Pereira’s clever flick then found Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who slipped in Jamie Vardy.

But the 37-year-old former England striker was losing his balance as he got his shot away and Matija Sarkic made a comfortable save.

Dewsbury-Hall, playing as a number 10, took aim from 20 yards but his effort was deflected wide.

Millwall, happy to sit back and let Leicester have the ball, almost snatched the lead on the break before half-time.

Ryan Leonard whipped in a cross from the right and captain Jake Hooper got a firm head on the ball, but it was pushed away by Hermansen.

The goal arrived on the hour and, for Millwall fans at least, it was well worth the wait.

Wout Faes lost the ball in midfield and Billy Mitchell sent Longman scampering away down the left.

The on-loan Hull winger cut inside Harry Winks before curling a spectacular 25-yard effort past Hermansen and in off the underside of the crossbar.

Millwall almost doubled their lead when Michael Obafemi bulldozed his way into a shooting position but Hermansen got down well to save.

Leicester pushed for an equaliser and Pereira got in behind only to see his angled drive blocked by the legs of Sarkic.

They came agonisngly close in stoppage time but were denied by a goal-line clearance from Mitchell to keep out substitute Kelechi Iheanacho’s header.

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca paid tribute to his team’s character after seeing them regain control of the race for automatic promotion from the Championship.

Stephy Mavididi’s 87th-minute header, after Jay Stansfield had earlier cancelled out Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s opener, saw the Foxes beat Birmingham 2-1 and take full advantage of defeats for Ipswich and Leeds to regain first place.

Despite dominating for long periods, against opponents who now find themselves inside the relegation zone with only five matches remaining, Maresca’s men struggled to translate their superiority into a commanding lead following Dewsbury-Hall’s clinical 28th-minute finish from Patson Daka’s assist.

Indeed, when Leicester goalkeeper Mads Hermansen gifted Blues a route back into the game, it appeared as if the visitors would claim an unlikely point in their battle for survival.

But after seeing Stansfield charge down the Dane’s attempted clearance on the stroke of half-time, Maresca’s men held their nerve with Mavididi guiding substitute Yunus Akgun’s centre past John Ruddy and into the back of the net.

“I just told the players I’m very happy, especially for the way we came through,” Maresca said.

“We performed well throughout the whole of the game. Unfortunately we conceded right at the end of the first half but carried on in exactly the same way in the second.

“There can be a temptation to try and go long ball but we resisted that temptation.

“The big thing for us is to manage the emotions. That is the most important thing at this stage of the season.

“When we come to this point, things can move around a lot. Positions can change a lot. So it is important just to keep that focus, dominate the transitions, and keep doing the same thing. Show belief in what you are doing. We did that out there.”

With the Foxes returning to action at Millwall on Tuesday, Maresca added: “We just need to go game by game now. That has to be the mentality. We are not looking beyond that.

“We simply focus on the next one and go from there. Then, when the season is over, that is when we look at our position.”

Rowett, overseeing Blues for the third time since being placed in interim charge, cut a frustrated but defiant figure afterwards.

“It was tough to take, especially when you get to that time,” he said.

“But Leicester are an incredible side and they make the pitch so wide. There was some last-ditch defending and yes, there were times when we were thinking we’d done well to keep them at bay. But we just could not hold on and that is disappointing.

“There were periods when we did put them under pressure. That was when the stadium felt like a different place. But when you press them, they find those spaces and can play through you. That’s what really good sides do, they find ways and solutions.”

Despite their perilous predicament, Rowett is still backing Blues to haul themselves out of trouble.

“Our season is not going to be defined by taking points at Leicester away,” he added.

“It is going to be defined by our home games. It’s up to us and I think we’ve got enough quality in the group.

“What you have to do, at this stage of the season, is perform under pressure. For me that pressure is a privilege.”

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.

Coventry’s sensational late show stunned leaders Leicester as the 10-man Foxes were deservedly beaten.

Callum O’Hare’s double and Milan van Ewijk’s goal fired the Sky Blues to a 3-1 win.

O’Hare’s 79th-minute strike hauled them level, after Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s controversial penalty gave the visitors the lead, before the midfielder netted late following van Ewijk’s effort two minutes from time.

The Sky Blues were furious about the penalty but were given hope by Abdul Fatawu’s red card in first-half stoppage time.

Leicester slipped to a first defeat in 11 Championship games with Coventry maintaining their play-off challenge.

Beforehand, both clubs condemned those who had hung banners on the M69 mocking the death of former owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and abusing Leicester fans.

The hosts had lost just once since December, a seven-match unbeaten run pushing them to the brink of the play-offs and the Sky Blues took that confidence to go at Leicester early, coming close after six minutes.

The busy O’Hare won the ball back for Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and the winger jinked past James Justin and Mads Hermansen turned his drive onto the post.

A minute before Matty Godden curled at Hermansen while Kasey Palmer drilled wide soon after with the Foxes yet to get going.

Leicester last lost in November, successive defeats to Leeds and Middlesbrough, and had dropped just four points since yet they were unnerved by Coventry’s bustling approach.

Godden’s deflected effort skidded wide as the Sky Blues continued to press, only for Leicester to issue a warning 10 minutes before half time.

Good work from Dewsbury-Hall saw the Foxes break and when the midfielder swapped passes with Stephy Mavididi he teed up Cesare Casadei, only for the forward to slide his shot inches wide.

O’Hare then had his own chance but failed to get a connection before late drama at the end of the half.

Van Ewijk lost possession and allowed Dewsbury-Hall to chase, Bobby Thomas came steaming in and, while he won the ball, the defender caught the Leicester man with the follow through.

Referee Darren England pointed to the spot and Dewsbury-Hall sent Brad Collins the wrong way after 44 minutes.

If the visitors thought they would then see out the half with few problems they were mistaken when Fatawu – who had earlier been warned to calm down by Wout Faes – cleaned out Jake Bidwell in stoppage time and was instantly shown a red card.

Coventry tried to capitalise and Godden wasted a fine chance, heading van Ewijk’s cross at Hermansen 10 minutes into the second half.

Leicester carried little threat and it was up to Coventry to break them down but Mark Robins’ men struggled for inspiration, despite the man advantage, until O’Hare struck with 11 minutes left.

Substitutes Ellis Simms and Jay Dasilva combined to set up O’Hare for the midfielder to curl in low from 12 yards.

Coventry went chasing victory and went ahead in the 88th minute when Sakamoto’s corner was only cleared to van Ewijk on the edge of the box and he found the bottom corner.

There was still time for O’Hare to volley in a third in stoppage time to cap the comeback.

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca says his Sky Bet Championship leaders have surprised him after passing the 60-point mark before the turn of the year with victory at Cardiff.

The Foxes strolled to a 2-0 win in the Welsh capital with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Justin James producing brilliant efforts.

Leicester now have 62 points from 25 games – eight clear of second-placed Ipswich – and are chasing Reading’s record Championship total of 106 from the 2005-06 season.

Maresca’s side are now unbeaten in nine games – seven wins and two draws – and their 20th league success came three days after drawing at Ipswich.

“I am very happy for one reason, that in this moment with this amount of games, the effort from the players has been unbelievable,” said Maresca.

“To play two games in a row away from home is very difficult, playing every three days. I think the club has to be happy.

“The fans need to be proud of these players – they are and showing the desire to win even in this period.

“To finish the year with more than 60 points. I don’t think anybody expected this, me included. Now we need to continue.”

Leicester were without Kelechi Iheanacho – who was named in Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations squad on Friday – in Cardiff.

Maresca said: “Kelechi had a muscular problem two days ago. We are still waiting to see if it is something important or something just a matter of days.

“But I don’t think will be able (to play) for next one.”

On reporting for Nigeria duty, Maresca said: “It depends on the injury. If it is an important injury for sure he has no chance to go. If it is not an important injury he can go.”

Cardiff have lost six of their last 10 games in slipping to 14th in the Championship, although they are only five points adrift of sixth-placed.

The Bluebirds lost striker Karlan Grant to injury before half-time, with boss Erol Bulut providing a gloomy update.

Bulut said: “It’s a hamstring, maybe a rupture. It doesn’t look good. We will know more when he has the scan.

On the game, Bulut – who hopes to be active in the January transfer window after “positive” talks with Cardiff owner Vincent Tan – added: “I can speak only positive things about my team and we have to continue to work on it.

“I think we are in a positive way. A good way. We cannot compare ourselves with Leicester.

“I always said we wanted to be around the play-offs. We have a lot of games to push. And also in January, I hope for a few transfers to push for more.”

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca said it was “unbelievable” his team were given less time to recover than opponents West Brom despite beating them 2-1 in a dramatic late finish.

The Foxes briefly extended their lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship to four points after Harry Winks scored a stoppage-time winner to cancel out substitute Josh Maja’s 89th-minute equaliser.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall put Leicester in front after 72 minutes before unselfishly opting to set up Winks four minutes into time added on.

“It was a very difficult game because of them and because when you play Wednesday night and Saturday lunchtime it’s not easy, and they played Tuesday night, so they had 24 hours more to recover the energy,” said Maresca.

“For me it’s unbelievable when you play Wednesday night and Saturday – both teams have to play together (at the same time), not one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday because the difference is huge.”

Maresca claimed some of his players were tired during the game.

“Wilfred (Ndidi) came back from a long-term injury, we gave him some rest on Wednesday night but you could see he wasn’t fresh,” added the Italian.

“Wout Faes did a big effort to be there, and Jannik (Vestergaard), JJ (James Justin) the same.”

Dewsbury-Hall was Leicester’s standout player after scoring his sixth goal of the season and setting up the other, but Maresca wants more from him.

“In terms of goals, he is where he has to be, but with assists I’m not happy, because this one was quite easy,” he said. “He has to improve his last pass because he’s had many chances.”

Leicester led in the 72nd minute when Dewsbury-Hall headed home Ndidi’s cross.

Albion equalised in the 89th minute when Faes headed away Darnell Furlong’s throw-in and, when the ball came back in, Cedric Kipre helped it on and the grounded Ricardo Pereira could only tee up Maja to net his first Albion goal.

For the winner, Leicester broke following a long Albion throw-in and Kelechi Iheanacho found Dewsbury-Hall, who dribbled 40 yards before drawing Alex Palmer and slipping in Winks.

West Brom head coach Carlos Corberan admitted he had no regrets at going for broke instead of settling for a draw after the equaliser.

“We weren’t trying to defend the result – we were attacking how I think you need to attack, but prior to the throw-in we should have defended more calmly, not as aggressive so as not to give them the option to score,” he said.

“We attacked how we always attack. Sometimes to change something is negative.

“If I told my centre-backs not to go up (to join the attack), having scored a goal two minutes ago, at home, I’d have regretted this.

“There are many small aspects to correct – not just because we lost, but to not suffer transitions against opponents.

“The next time we have a throw-in, we must be prepared to not only try to score, but to try to score without the risk of suffering the transition.

“In the 93rd minute, sometimes you make mistakes because of the emotion, not even the emotion to attack, but the emotion to recover the ball, to help your team and to try to make a foul, to keep running.

“We are humans, this is why football is magic. These things happen.”

Harry Winks scored a last-gasp winner as Sky Bet Championship leaders Leicester beat West Brom 2-1 in a dramatic finish to give manager Enzo Maresca a winning first return to The Hawthorns.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s 72nd-minute header – his sixth goal of the season – gave Leicester the lead and the midfielder then set up Winks in the fourth minute of stoppage time after substitute Josh Maja looked like he had rescued a point.

Maresca, who started his professional career at West Brom and played 47 games there between 1998-2000, will have been relieved as there was little between the teams, who both hit the goal frame in the first half.

West Brom had a penalty claim turned down when Grady Diangana went down after it appeared he was pushed over in the box; VAR might have intervened if it was available.

Albion then failed to react quickly enough when goalkeeper Mads Hermansen played a poor pass out and it was intercepted, Brandon Thomas-Asante eventually having a shot blocked.

The home side went even closer in the 25th minute when Cedric Kipre stabbed against a post with the goalkeeper beaten after Matt Phillips’s corner had flicked off a couple of heads.

But Leicester returned fire to hit the goal frame themselves when Kelechi Iheanacho’s low angled drive was deflected onto the near post by Darnell Furlong’s lunge.

It looked like things might open up after the break when Diangana’s curling shot was deflected over the bar off Wout Faes.

But instead it became very scrappy, with both teams guilty of giving the ball away in midfield and defences remained on top.

That almost changed when Wilfred Ndidi got on the end of a cross from substitute Abdul Fatawu, but his flicked header under pressure lacked the power to beat Alex Palmer, who fumbled before the ball was cleared.

The Ndidi-Fatawu link-up combined again to devastating effect in the 72nd minute.

Fatawu spotted Ndidi’s run beyond the Albion midfield in the inside right position and the latter crossed for Dewsbury-Hall to nod the ball home ahead of Furlong from six yards out.

Albion equalised in very scrappy fashion. Furlong’s throw-in was headed away by Faes and, when the ball came back in, Kipre helped it on – a grounded Leicester defender could only tee up Maja to prod home his first goal since February 2022.

But Leicester hit Albion on the counter when they broke on a long throw-in and Iheanacho passed from inside his own half to Dewsbury-Hall, who ran 40 yards with the ball before drawing Palmer and slipping in Winks for an open goal.

Georginio Rutter earned Leeds a 1-0 victory against Sky Bet Championship leaders Leicester as Daniel Farke’s side took another step towards challenging the top two.

The result still leaves Leicester 11 points clear of Leeds in third place, but this will be seen as a statement victory against a side who have dominated the division this season.

Abdul Fatawu hit the crossbar in the first half, and Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier produced a superb save to keep out a stoppage-time header from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. But Leicester had just one shot on target while suffering their second home defeat of the campaign.

Leicester, five points clear at the top, had been chasing a 10th successive victory and were looking to equal the best-ever start to a second tier season since Bristol City in the 1905-06 season.

But Leeds took on Enzo Maresca’s side head-on. They were rewarded when Rutter netted after 57 minutes with a goal that proved to be the winner.

Leicester found themselves under pressure early on, something they have not been used to at the King Power Stadium this season.

But Leeds, who were also relegated from the Premier League last season, caused Leicester problems and looked in confident mood.

Joel Piroe carved out space in the Leicester area after only two minutes, but he curled his shot wide of the target.

Maresca’s side began to find some momentum and the game suddenly switched from one end to the other as Fatawu raced in from the right and unleashed a powerful shot which shook the crossbar.

Leeds immediately moved into the Leicester area and Crysencio Summerville went down under pressure from Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira.

Referee Dean Whitestone waved away all appeals, much to Farke’s anger.  He made his feelings known in the technical area, with his protests seeing him shown a yellow card.

Leeds continued to put pressure on Leicester after the break and goalkeeper Mads Hermansen could only parry a Piroe shot, but there was no-one to take advantage of the loose ball.

Leeds who broke the deadlock when a Daniel James corner was met by Sam Byram’s header, which was pushed out by Hermansen. The Dane may have got lucky moments earlier, but this time the ball fell into Rutter’s path and he scored from close range for his third of the season.

Maresca had been planning to take off Jamie Vardy and replace him with Kelechi Iheanacho as the goal went in, a move which then happened with Leicester a goal down.

Leeds threatened a second with 17 minutes to go as James broke clear, but his low drive was smothered by Hermansen.

Leicester laid siege to the Leeds goal in the closing stages, but could not find the equaliser.

Leicester reclaimed the Championship summit after two second-half goals from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall either side of a Kelechi Iheanacho strike clinched a 3-0 win at home to promotion rivals Preston.

The victory – the Foxes’ ninth in 10 Championship outings – lifted them back above Ipswich, who had moved a point clear on Tuesday by beating Hull.

Referee Thomas Bramall took charge of this one after initial choice Darren England was stood down as a result of the fallout over his error as VAR in Liverpool’s Premier League loss at Tottenham on Saturday.

Leicester bossed the early possession as third-placed Preston looked to catch them on a counter-attack but Abdul Fatawu’s shot – high and wide from a tricky angle – was all the hosts had to show for the first 10 minutes.

Preston fancied their chances from set-pieces but Jack Whatmough, one of four changes following Saturday’s 4-0 loss at home to West Brom, saw his header from Robbie Brady’s free-kick drop well wide.

Stephy Mavididi’s quick feet saw him skip past challengers to get into the Preston box on the left but when he slipped in Dewsbury-Hall he was denied by Liam Lindsay’s vital sliding block.

Leicester were looking frustrated, prompting defender Wout Faes to have a go from distance and the Belgian scuffed it wide.

Referee Bramall was the centre of attention in the 37th minute by ignoring home shouts for a penalty when Liam Millar barged Mavididi over.

The half’s clearest chance fell to Preston but Duane Holmes, played through on the left by Ali McCann, fired wide with only goalkeeper Mads Hermansen to beat.

The second period began with Wilfred Ndidi heading wide of the Preston goal and Dewsbury-Hall curling an effort that also failed to trouble North End goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.

Holmes was soon back causing trouble at the other end however – and this time he forced Hermansen into a diving save with a low drive.

Leicester broke the deadlock on the hour – and required a slice of good fortune to do so as Ndidi’s ball towards Jamie Vardy was inadvertently played towards his own goal by McCann, allowing Dewsbury-Hall to seize upon it and slot across Woodman.

Leicester made sure of the points with a 76th-minute clincher from Iheanacho.

Dewsbury-Hall moved swiftly to play Ndidi into a position where he could square the ball across the box for the striker to make a simple back-post finish.

Preston thought they had pulled one back through Ben Woodburn but referee Bramall penalised the substitute for a pull on Faes’ shirt.

Dewsbury-Hall made it 3-0 in the 90th minute on the rebound after Woodman had parried Iheanacho’s shot. Iheanacho had started the move himself with a ball to fellow sub Marc Albrighton.

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