No bother for Foxes as they swat Brewers away without breaking sweat
BURTON Albion slipped quietly out of the FA Cup at the King Power Stadium, thoroughly outclassed by an in-form Leicester City side.
Once they had gone two goals ahead by the 21st minute, the Foxes, neat and confident on the ball, did no more than they had to and there was precious little the Brewers could do about it.
It would be easy to suggest, by way of criticism, that Burton, missing key defenders Zander Diamond and Anthony O'Connor, never gave it a real go.
A blood-and-thunder cup tie this was not. There was scarcely a tackle in a game which resembled a friendly at times, especially in a dismally dull second half.
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Referee Andy D'Urso may never have an easier day, not even having to lecture a player, let alone consider booking one and he only felt the need to add two minutes at the end of the 90, since so little had happened.
But the counter-argument is that Leicester were so good that Burton could not get close enough to make tackles.
The Foxes look to be on the up and, in striker Chris Wood, they may just have laid out some of their £53m of Thai money (to date) on the man who will make the difference in their promotion push.
All in all, then, it was a stark reminder that, however far Burton have come, there remains a vast gulf from there to the upper echelons, even in the Football League.
Well as the Brewers played in winning 4-2 on the same ground in the Capital One Cup earlier in the season, it was soon clear they were up against a stronger, more confident and somewhat more interested City side.
They were caught out after three minutes, when left-back Paul Konchesky launched a searching diagonal ball over the top and Wood, nowhere near the favourite to reach it ahead of goalkeeper Dean Lyness or Damian McCrory, did so anyway and poked it between them into the net.
John McGrath, making his first start since picking up his foot injury 11 months ago, shot over from Robbie Weir's pass within two minutes but it did not herald any equality in the play.
Andy King had a shot deflected for a corner after an intricate passing move, while Marco Futacs' volley from a Lloyd Dyer cross was easy for Lyness to deal with.
The second goal came after 21 minutes and owed much to Futacs, who battled through several challenges before feeding Dyer.
His shot was blocked but the ball fell only to right-back Ritchie De Laet, who finished clinically from 12 yards on the right of the box.
For a while, Leicester looked as if they might run riot, although Weir had Burton's best chance of the game after half an hour.
New loan signing Adam Drury, who showed a few nice touches on the right, nipped into the danger area as Leicester, for once, dallied in defence and the ball broke for Weir, whose 20-yard shot was pushed away at full stretch to his right by Kasper Schmeichel.
Futacs was almost on the scoresheet after 36 minutes, flicking a whipped right-wing cross from Ben Marshall against the bar.
McGrath's cross was only just over Calvin Zola after determined work by McCrory before half-time but the second half was going to require a more adventurous approach from Burton to change the course of the game.
It simply never threatened to happen.
Perhaps, for a while, the Brewers enjoyed a little more possession but it inevitably ended with a hurried or over-ambitious pass when Leicester closed them down.
There was, again, a glimmer of a chance when Zola brought down an Aaron Webster cross neatly but his acrobatic shot went straight at Schmeichel after 55 minutes.
Within a minute, McGrath's header off the line stopped Leicester getting a third when Michael Keane connected strongly with Marshall's corner.
Comfortably in control, the Foxes pinged the ball around and the game completely died as a spectacle, a spate of substitutions making no real difference to the pattern.
That Leicester could bring on the experience of David Nugent and Martyn Waghorn, along with the spectacularly emerging talent of Anthony Knockaert, told its own story.
King shaved the outside of Lyness's left-hand post with a sharp shot after neat work by Knoackaert but it was the last real chance of the game as the crowd began to drift away.
The difference between the sides was summed up when Burton substitute Billy Kee threatened to run on goal and Foxes captain Wes Morgan first dispossessed him then shook him off with consummate ease.
The Brewers had been little more than an irritation this time for Leicester.