Kelechi Iheanacho’s direct goal propelled Leicester City into the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Leicester bided their time, built from behind and waited for Gillingham’s defensive hordes to relent.
Caglar Soyuncu prompted from behind, Nampalys Mendy added value; McAteer and captain Marc Albrighton offered ample options, but Youri Tielemans battled for the upper hand, while Jamie Vardy and Iheanacho were isolated until the latter curled just before half-time.
Gillingham defended deeply, but calmly. Max Ehmer and Will Wright were an imperious central defensive pairing, while goalkeeper Jake Turner was spared the hectic lunch break he might have anticipated.
To the surprise and delight of his supporters, Gillingham came on at break level and, deservedly, Turner was called into some significant action just after the restart when he knocked over an Albrighton bucket, but Gillingham began to make advances and just an excellent Jannik. Vestergaard’s block frustrated Jefferies before he was sliced wide by Hakeeb Adelakun.
Just when they looked as if they were about to falter, Leicester stepped forward.
Tielemans’ wind-assisted cross fell to McAteer, whose kick deflected into the path of Iheanacho and the Nigerian with only one goal to his name all season showed no mercy from 10 yards out.
Now Leicester looked more comfortable with themselves and soon Turner was cleverly saving from Iheanacho with his legs and Vardy with his palm.
Level, Leicester had worked, ahead they were made up. The prospect of danger had passed.
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