Leicester 2-1 Cardiff

Leicester banished a run of five home league games without a win as they outclassed promotion hopefuls Cardiff.

Paul Gallagher starred for the Foxes, first converting a penalty when Haris Vuckic clumsily brought down Richie Wellens after a corner.

The striker then struck a fine free-kick around the wall to make it 2-0.

Peter Whittingham pulled a goal back for Cardiff from the spot when Paul Konchesky nudged Rudy Gestede, but Leicester refused to be rattled.

Cardiff suffered an early blow when Aron Gunnarsson suffered what appeared to be a hamstring injury after seven minutes, with Filip Kiss being brought on as substitute.

Gallagher had already wasted a great chance for Leicester to take the lead, snatching at a left-foot volley and slicing wide when put through on goal.

Sean St Ledger also should have done better with a free header from a corner but looped his header high over the visitors' crossbar.

When the Foxes did get the ball on target they found David Marshall in good form in the Cardiff goal.

The Scotland goalkeeper had to adjust his position quickly to push away Wellens' bicycle kick, before having his palms stung by Konchesky's 25-yarder as the full-back strode forward.

Cardiff came into the match unbeaten in nine games but their usual discipline failed them four minutes from half-time when the Bluebirds failed to deal with a corner.

The ball fell invitingly for Wellens but before the midfielder could connect with the ball he was clumsily upended by Vuckic, making his debut on loan from Newcastle United.

Referee Mark Halsey pointed to the spot and Gallagher turned and struck a blistering penalty that gave Marshall little chance.

Kenny Miller thought he had equalised for Cardiff with a sublime chip over Kasper Schmeichel only to be denied by a late off-side flag.

Leicester started the second half in the same confident mood they had dominated the first and Marshall was again at full stretch to deny David Nugent, as the striker struck a first-time shot across the Bluebirds keeper.

Strong finish soothes Cardiff boss

But when Don Cowie brought down Lloyd Dyer in full flight, Gallagher stepped up to squeeze the resulting free-kick past the Cardiff wall and into the net.

Cardiff were handed a lifeline when Konchesky appeared to shove Gestede in the back as he jumped for a high ball in the area.

Referee Halsey awarded his second penalty of the match and Whittingham stepped up to send Schmeichel the wrong way.

The Foxes refused to panic despite their lead being halved and comfortably saw out the remaining 13 minutes - with Nugent close to a third home goal - to move into the top half of the Championship table.

Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson: "I'm not sure 2-1 is ever comfortable, but from our perspective we deserved to win.

"We were dominant and a little unlucky to concede a penalty because there was a foul on Kasper [Schmeichel] leading up to the incident.

"I think we played with confidence and created some good chances as well.

"There have been suggestions we look jittery when we concede a goal but I thought we coped with that well and stayed the dominant side to win well."

Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay: "I'm disappointed because in the first half we didn't get out of the blocks.

"But it didn't help when one our our main players, Aron Gunnarsson, went off early on.

"We were playing a good team who we didn't get close enough to in the first half and allowed them to play too much.

"We competed better in the second half and after our penalty we caused them a few problems with our forwards Kenny Miller and Rudy Gestede.

"It was always going to be tough coming here. They have a good manager and a fantastic squad and you always have to be ready to match them and I don't think we did that until the second half."

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