On 13th April 2009, Leicester City took a huge step to sealing promotion back to the Championship as they secured a dramatic 1-0 victory over Leeds United.
A trademark header in injury-time from Steven Howard ensured the Foxes grabbed all three points in a tight Easter Monday encounter at the Walkers Stadium.
The win all but sealed Leicester’s return to the second-tier of English football after one-year away following relegation on the final day at Stoke City in 2008.
In a crucial clash at the top end of League One, Nigel Pearson’s side started the game the brighter of the two teams and went close early on through the tricky Lloyd Dyer. The City winger jinked inside onto his right foot before drilling an effort which was deflected inches past the post.
United goalkeeper Casper Ankergren had to be alert twice to deny Leicester in a matter of moments as he tipped Max-Alain Gradel’s long-range effort wide, before making a smart save from a Andy King header.
Leeds, managed by former City player Simon Grayson, hit the woodwork just before the break in freakish circumstances. A right-wing corner was tipped onto his own bar by David Stockdale and the Foxes cleared the rebound.
After a cagey first 45 minutes, City upped the tempo at the start of the second period and had a great chance when good build-up play allowed King to curl the ball towards the corner, but Ankergren palmed it away.
King was heavily involved in the Foxes’ next opportunity when he played a one-two with Dyer and squared the ball across to top scorer Matty Fryatt, whose shot was saved once again.
The visitors almost grabbed a winner themselves as Andy Robinson found half-a-yard of space on the edge of the Foxes box before firing a shot which was destined for the back of the net, but Stockdale made a super stop to deny him.
As the game was heading into its dying enviers, City, like they had been doing all season, found a way through their talismanic no.9. With 92 minutes on the clock, Gradel’s corner was met by Howard, who guided the ball into the top left corner, leaving Ankergren and Robinson on the line no chance to spark jubilant scenes amongst the City faithful. A special moment.
Moments later, the referee blew the final whistle on Filbert Way as the Foxes held on to claim a 25th league victory of the campaign and stretched their unbeaten run at home to 20 matches.
That was when the League One title was destined to be Leicester’s, and they made sure of that, five days later after beating Southend United 2-0 at Roots Hall.
Whereas, Leeds, who were chasing the top six places, missed the chance to be promoted that season when they lost to Millwall in the play-off semi finals.
Leicester: Stockdale, Morrison, Brown, Hobbs, Mattock (Berner 88’), Oakley (c), Gradel, King, Dyer, Fryatt (Dickov 76’), Howard
Subs not used: Warner, Ajdarevic, Kisnorbo
Leeds: Ankergren, Douglas, Sodje, Naylor (c), Parker, Howson, Snodgrass, Kilkenny (Hughes 78’), Delph, Becchio (Robinson 64’), Dickinson (Grella 83’)
Subs not used: Lucas, Michalik