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It's All In The Past - Leicester

October 19 2009

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

Leicester City away is not a match that many fans will have many happy memories of, writes Simon Pophale.

Given that we only recorded our first win in 1982 (at the 10th attempt in the league) and there have been only two wins since then, no matter whether the match was played at Filbert Street or the Walkers Stadium.

Quite often, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy when you start believing that there is a "bogey" team but in the case of Leicester, they really have held the Indian sign over us, almost as soon as we joined the league, we have found getting one over on them at their place almost impossible.

Take the first few seasons in the league. It took us four attempts to get even so much as a goal and our first point did not come until 50 years after we joined the league – in 1971/72, when we managed a 0-0 draw in the First Division.

Leicester have spent 103 of their 104 seasons in the top two divisions, which gives reasons why there was such a long gap in league meetings between the sides. When Leicester were in the second tier, we were either in Division Three (South) or Division Four. When we finally made it back to the Second Division, Leicester were in the top flight.

After yet another defeat, 2-1 in the 1972/73 season, our relegation saw an end to our meetings until our promotion season of 1978/9. And for the next four meetings, we managed to avoid defeat – gaining three draws all finishing 1-1 and we finally managed to break the hoodoo in 1982/83 season in a campaign when there was little cause for optimism of any sort, saw us win 1-0.

Leicester getting promotion at the end of that term gave us a three year break from the Foxes, but in the 1987/88 season anyone present at Filbert Street for our first game of 1988 would have witnessed an eight-goal thriller equally shared between the sides. In the season where we finished third and missed out on promotion, we were left shattered on the last day by Manchester City.

One year later and the season would end at Fibert Street, as we avoided defeat again with a 2-2 draw and our subsequent play-off victory against Blackburn which saw us play into June, ensured yet another gap as we plied our trades in different divisions.

It was another promotion season when the sides met again and we managed yet another draw away from home, 1-1 this time, but the season would end well for both clubs, with Leicester winning the play-off final against Derby and ourselves winning the Championship.

As so often happens though, the promotion for us was followed by relegation and Leicester also succumbed, however we made only our second victory there with a 1-0 victory.

In the fateful 1995/96 season, a third win (3-2) was tempered with Leicester beating us in the Play-off final that year.

By the time we had reached the Premier League, Leicester were under a huge resurgence masterminded by Martin O’Neill and in the 1997/98 season we did manage a 1-1 draw. This was notable for us being down to 10 men early on when Marc Edworthy was sent off, then Michele Padovano scored and we look on course for a sixth away victory but we were denied by Muzzy Izzet right at the death.

That was our last visit to Filbert Street, as by season 2002/03 Leicester had moved to a new home but the Walkers Stadium has been a very unhappy hunting ground for us. We have never won there yet in five visits. Ex-Palace loan striker Paul Dickov got the winner on our first visit there.

Our next trip was on Good Friday in 2006 but there was very little good about losing 2-0, Andy Welch and Matt Fryatt scored in a game where we were denied a clear penalty.

The following season we took the lead when TOM SOARES scored following a melee in the box following a corner. Leicester got out of jail with an Iain Hume penalty.

Last time out in the League in the 2007/08 season; despite Leicester going down to the third tier of English football for the first time, we still could not muster a win at the Walkers as although we were on a 15-match unbeaten run, Barry Hayles scored right at the death off his shin in Claridge-esque fashion to take the points.

There are no such things as "bogey" teams, but you’d be hard pushed to find a record much worse than this against any of our Championship rivals this season.

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