With Kirby in seventh spot, but only a 3 point deduction adrift of fourth-placed Holbeach, and Leicester currently top of the table on goal difference,
I was expecting a good game. Nirvana's rivals for the title, Kempston Rovers, were also in action against third-placed Newport Pagnell and I am sure that at least one of the travelling Leicester contingent had one eye on Twitter for score updates (I know I did).
Ratby Lane is situated just a decent goal-kick off the M1, just North of Leicester Forest services. The football ground is part of the Kirby Muxloe Sports Club which also plays host to cricket and has a an artificial five-a-side pitch.
There are three covered areas around the pitch. At the far end from the car park, behind the goal, is a small covered standing area. On the M1 side of the ground there are two covered seating areas, one a more modern looking stand with blue and yellow seating (the colours of Kirby Muxloe) that spells out KMFC. Alongside this is a breeze block construction that also houses a few rows of non-tiered seating. The dugouts are opposite the two main stands, on the Ratby Lane side of the stadium. The main clubhouse is situated off the car park and is not accessible from inside the ground.
It was noticeable, as the teams made their way out, that a fair few officials and supporters from Nirvana had made their way across Leicester for this game. Leicester, in their red and black stripes, were kicking down the slight slope in the first half and it was clear from the opening minutes that they were in no mood to be dropping points. In fact the blue and yellow shirts of Kirby Muxloe rarely made it across the halfway line in the opening 15
minutes.That said, and with all their possession, Leicester did not really trouble the home goalkeeper in the opening 39 minutes. That was until a thunderous
drive from outside the box beat the home keeper only to hit the inside of his right hand post and rebound to safety. Nirvana were getting closer and two minutes later they got their reward. A driven cross from the left wing was met at the near post by Tendai Chitizia giving the home keeper no chance. 0-1 and no more than Leicester deserved.
Despite their dominance, Leicester couldn't find another goal before half-time and the players left the field with the score at 0-1. Coincidentally, Kempston were leading Newport Pagnell by the same score. The biggest surprise at Kirby was that it was only a single goal lead, such had been the discrepancy in possession.
Seven minutes later, it was definitely game over, although in slightly controversial circumstances. When a Leicester player went down under a challenge in the box it looked, from my angle, very innocuous. However the referee immediately blew for a penalty, much to the annoyance of home players and management. Not the fist time this week that a Leicester player had been involved in a contentious penalty decision, but with a very different outcome.
Chitizia stepped up and stroked the ball past the keeper for his second and Leicester's third of the night.
With the game in the bag Leicester withdrew Mwanyongo. Understandable with some key matches still to come but a shame for those of us watching. In a Leicester team that, to be fair, is full of good players who all like to get the ball down and pass it around, he stands out at times. The combination of terrifying pace combined with ball control and, as shown a few times on Tuesday night, the confidence to try a trick or two, he really is very entertaining to watch. Since I last saw Leicester play in October (http://www.botp.co.uk/blog/hidden-treasure), Mwanyongo seems to have improved his game. The final ball seems to be there and the decision making appears to be better. Yes, he sometimes takes on one too many but that has to be expected with these type of flair players. There were times on Tuesday when he put me in mind of Laurie Cunningham with some of his movement. Certainly not the finished article by any means but it is great to see a winger who can take people on and run at defences.
With less than an hour on the clock the game was, in effect, over. Kirby, to their credit, did not give up on the game and certainly performed better in the second half than they had in the first. They couldn't, however, find a goal and the game petered out somewhat.
So, a three goal victory gives Leicester a three goal difference with three games to go. In a week where threesomes are in the news, it seems that three is the magic number.
Kirby Muxloe - @kirbymuxloefc
Leicester Nirvana - @leicnirvanafc