A Foxes League One gap year in the 2008/09 season aside, regular games between Cardiff City and Leicester City have been on the fixture list since 2004 – a time in which we've seen the spoils largely shared.
Cardiff just about sneak the head to heads, even discounting penalty shoot-outs. Home and away, we’ve enjoyed victories thanks to goal from the likes of former stars Jason Koumas, Cameron Jerome, Michael Chopra and Michael Ricketts to name a few. Neal Ardley also salvaged a valuable point as we managed to stay in the division late on in the 2004/05 campaign. In fact, there have been many interesting encounters between both sides, as we look into below.
THE CORNER-KICK GOAL: We have been playing Leicester City since our very first Football League season of 1920/21, and since then two particular matches stand out against them. In the summer of 1924 FIFA brought in a rule change allowing goals to be scored direct from a corner. The first such goal came in Huddersfield’s 4-0 home First Division win against Arsenal in October 1924, but did not affect the result.
The second one came in dramatic fashion on March 7th 1925. It was an F.A. Cup quarter-final tie at Ninian Park between mid-table First Division Cardiff City and Second Division promotion-challengers Leicester City. The score was 1-1 in the last minute when we had a corner at The Grange End on the Popular Bank side. Welsh International winger Billy Davies, signed from Swansea the previous summer, took an in-swinger with his right foot and it swerved over the goal-line as the referee blew his whistle for full-time. There was confusion as thousands of fans poured onto the pitch, many of them unsure as to whether we had won or if it was a draw. The referee confirmed to Billy Davies that it was a goal, and both he and skipper Jimmy Blair had to come into the Directors’ Box to indicate to the waiting thousands that we had indeed won! It was an important victory because we went on to reach the Final at Wembley in which we lost to Sheffield United.
THE ARRANGED DRAW: The second memorable match took place in the old Division Two on May 7th 1949 in what was the final game of the season. We needed a point to finish fourth which would entitle the players to a bigger share of a League-permitted bonus called “talent money” awarded to teams finishing third, fourth and fifth outside the only two promotion places.
Leicester, defeated F.A. Cup Finalists a week earlier, were in severe danger of relegation and needed a point to ensure safety. Unbeknownst to club officials, the two teams apparently came to a pre-match agreement to share the points in a 0-0 draw. But in the second half, a looping header by our half-back Billy Baker was caught by a gust of wind and floated into the Leicester net. They eventually equalised through a Jack Lee header from a corner that trickled over the line. So our players gained their larger bonus money and Leicester stayed up.
OUR OPENING-DAY WIN: Our promotion to top level (the old Division One) in 1951/52 opened with a 4-0 home win over Leicester City, and it was our home form that season that took us – of the 21 League games at Ninian Park, we won eighteen, drew two and lost just one.
FERGUSON’S DEBUT: The First Division match against Leicester at Ninian Park on November 7th 1925 saw the Cardiff City debut of prolific scorer Hughie Ferguson who had been signed from Motherwell four days earlier for a Cardiff record fee of £5,000, a huge fee in those days. We beat Leicester 5-2 to ease our relegation worries, and Ferguson duly scored.
Our very first meetings with Leicester City came in 1920/21 in what was a Second Division promotion season for us. In those days, League clubs met each other home and away on consecutive Saturdays so on November 6th 1920 we lost 2-0 at their former Filbert Street home, and a week later beat them 2-0 at Ninian Park. We went up as runners-up to Birmingham in what was our very first League season.
HOGG, DONNELLY AND BANKS: Former Leicester City winger Derek Hogg joined us from West Bromwich Albion on Thursday, 27th October 1960. He made his debut the next evening at Ninian Park in a First Division game against Leicester and scored our winner in a 2-1 victory. But the game was memorable for our first goal when Peter Donnelly, signed from Scunthorpe United the previous June, charged Leicester ‘keeper Gordon Banks into the net at the Canton End after the future World Cup-winning ‘keeper had caught the ball from a centre.
THAT DRAMATIC PENALTY SHOOT-OUT: In the 2009/10 season we reached the Championship play-offs for the first time and faced Leicester City over two legs. On May 9th 2010 we were 1-0 away winners through a Peter Whittingham free-kick, but in the second leg three days later at Cardiff City Stadium found ourselves 3-1 down on the night and 3-2 down on aggregate. A Whittingham penalty levelled the aggregate score to 3-3 and it went to extra-time and penalties. On one of the most dramatic nights since we moved to our new home, we won the shoot-out 4-3 with Leicester’s Yann Kermorgant missing with a weak effort to send us through to the Final at Wembley.
NEXT UP: On Saturday we face the Foxes as both teams look to end the first half of the season on a positive. It’s expected, along with a number of prospects that both will be pushing for honours in 2013, so the points could be a decisive. No doubt rivals of Bluebirds and Foxes alike will be taking positives whatever the outcome. Hopefully it’ll be Cardiff smiling after the final fixture before Christmas.