high flying

Jamie Vardy closes in on Ruud van Nistelrooy's record as Leicester go joint top

Claudio Ranieri’s side have lost just once this season.

JAMIE VARDY MOVED one behind Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10 consecutive Premier League games as two calamitous errors from Heurelho Gomes gave Leicester City a 2-1 victory over Watford.

Shortly after allowing N’golo Kante’s tame strike to squirm through his grasp for Leicester’s opener, Gomes raced from his line and conceded a penalty which Vardy, after taking the ball from team-mate Riyad Mahrez — powered home.

Claudio Ranieri’s side made life difficult for themselves with 15 minutes remaining, as Kante brought down substitute Juan Carlos Paredes in the box, and Troy Deeney stepped up to roll in his second Premier League goal.

Though Leicester have lost just once this season, it was Watford who had the better of the opening period, with Kasper Schmeichel pulling off an excellent save to tip Odion Ighalo’s effort onto the post.

The Nigeria striker, Watford’s top-scorer this term with seven league goals so far, almost turned provider on the stroke of half-time, but Deeney could not turn home his delightful cross.

However, despite the Watford skipper’s penalty making matters more difficult for Leicester, the hosts stood firm to seal the win and move level on points with league leaders Manchester City and Arsenal.

While Quique Sanchez Flores stuck with the same Watford side that triumphed in their previous two Premier League encounters, Ranieri made one change as defender Christian Fuchs returned from a muscular injury.

Following a sluggish start to proceedings, Robert Huth almost gave Leicester the lead after latching onto Marc Albrighton’s free-kick, but the former Stoke City man could not direct his header on target.

The hosts had Schmeichel to thank at the other end — the keeper doing superbly to tip Ighalo’s strike onto the post before reacting sharply to parry away Almen Abdi’s effort on the rebound. Vardy forced Gomes into a save shortly before the interval, while Wes Morgan got a crucial touch on Ighalo’s cross to prevent Deeney from giving Watford the lead.

Leicester began the second half in strong fashion, and Albrighton should have done better after slaloming through Watford’s retreating defence, but his tame effort did not trouble Gomes.

But the keeper was entirely at fault when Leicester finally broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute — Gomes somehow fumbling Kante’s weak strike into the net.

Despite suffering an apparent groin injury following an awkward landing, Vardy refused to be substituted, and had his reward when he was clattered into clumsily by Gomes – coolly stepping up to smash in the resulting spot-kick and extend Leicester’s advantage.

Kante provided Watford with a perfect opportunity to pull one back when he fouled Paredes, and Deeney made no mistake from the spot, sending Schmeichel the wrong way.

Gomes went some way to making amends for his earlier howlers with an instinctive save to deny Mahrez late on, before Leicester held firm to claim their seventh win of the season.

Britain Soccer Premier League Everton's Romelu Lukaku, second left, celebrates after he scores. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

West Ham United failed to make ground on the leaders after a 1-1 draw at home to Everton, who levelled through Romelu Lukaku after Manuel Lanzini had put the hosts ahead with a fine, bending effort on the half-hour.

Lukaku equalised two minutes before half-time, rounding Adrian from Gerard Deulofeu’s pass and rolling home his seventh goal in seven games against West Ham.

In a further blow to the hosts, they lost chief creator Dimitri Payet to injury early in the second period.

Sunderland remain in the bottom three, four points from safety, after losing 1-0 at home to Southampton, who prevailed courtesy of Dusan Tadic’s 69th-minute penalty.

But Norwich City pulled away from danger, climbing above struggling champions Chelsea and Newcastle, after Jonny Howson’s 70th-minute tap-in earned Alex Neil’s men a 1-0 home win over over Swansea City.

Chelsea visit Stoke City later on Saturday, with visiting manager Jose Mourinho banned from entering the ground after a foul-mouthed outburst at referee Jon Moss during his side’s recent defeat at West Ham.

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