City suffered late heartache as Leicester responded to going a goal down in the 91st minute by hitting back 72 seconds later.
In a dramatic finale, after we had rode our luck throughout, City’s David Clarkson looked to have given us a massive win with his stoppage time goal only for Lloyd Dyer to hit back immediately.
It was the EIGHTH time we have conceded a stoppage time goal in the Championship this season, which is now beyond a joke.
Unsurprisingly, Johnson made another four changes to personnel and tactics as he opted for a 4-3-3 system.
In came Marvin Elliott and Lee Johnson for Paul Hartley and Gavin Williams whilst Danny Haynes passed a late fitness test to partner home debutant Chris Iwelumo and David Clarkson up front.
Fresh off the back of a 5-1 drubbing of Scunthorpe last weekend, Leicester were nearly handed the perfect start at Ashton Gate in the first minute.
A long hopeful punt caused disarray between Lewin Nyatanga and Dean Gerken. Martin Waghorn nipped in only to see his shot denied brilliantly by the covering Liam Fontaine on the goal line.
Paul Gallagher, fresh from a hat-trick on Saturday, sent a free-kick over the wall which had Gerken scrambling.
Our best chance came in on 13, when a Lee Johnson free-kick was emphatically volleyed over the top by Louis Carey.
Dyer was then allowed the freedom of our right to gallop into the box, play a neat one-two with Gallagher before Carey produced another goal-saving challenge with the net gaping.
Richie Wellens then picked out an unmarked Gallagher who’s thunderous header was superbly clawed out by an instinctive Gerken save as the Foxes saught to cash in on their dominance.
City offered little in response as the first-half petered out, with the only chance of note falling to Cole Skuse who wildly blazed over the East End with Clarkson screaming for the ball in a better position.
We came out better after the break though. Clarkson missed his first open goal, tamely tapping straight back to Weale from six yards out, before Haynes skipped past two defender’s only to fire into the side netting at the near post with only Weale to beat.
At the other end, Waghorn met a teasing cross with a scissor kick that flashed past the post before City’s pourus defence was carved open again on 63.
Waghorn again was at the heart of it, slipping in Matt Oakley who could only see his shot rebound off the inside of the post and into the arms of Gerken.
Clarkson curled narrowly over from distance before missing another sitter from close range, following good work from substitute Nicky Maynard down the left on 77.
The Scot Clarkson drew a point-blannk save from Weale after another purposeful run by Ivan Sproule, whilst Andy King shot just over at the other end.
We were saying from our vantage point in the East End that this could be one of those days for the visitors that we could finally profit from, and so we thought in the 91st minute.
Iwelumo caused pandemonium in the box before the ball bobbled loose for Clarkson to fire home on the turn.
But, 72 seconds later, City’s static defence allowed Lloyd Dyer to nip in and shoot across Gerken for yet another late, late equaliser.
CITY (4-3-3): Gerken, Orr, Carey, Nyatanga, Fontaine, Skuse (Sproule ’59), Johnson, Elliott, Haynes (Maynard ’73), Iwelumo, Clarkson.
LEICESTER (4-4-2): Weale, Morrison, Hobbs, Brown, Berner, Oakley (Adams ’73), Wellens, King, Dyer, (N’Guessan ’88), Waghorn (Kermogant ’73).
REFEREE: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)
Dean Gerken 5
Made some good saves to keep us in it but looks very shaky at the moment and was lucky that another calamitous error in the first minute wasn’t punished.
Bradley Orr 4
Not sure if he was playing through the pain barrier or not but he was poor by his usual standards. Passing, distribution and crossing was embarrassing at times. Dealt ok with Dyer though.
Liam Fontaine 6
He isn’t a left-back but did ok. Got forward to decent effect, tried to provide width but lacks quality on the ball to become a specialist left-back.
Lewin Nyatanga 5
Another one who looks very shaky at the moment but produced one goal-saving tackle in the first-half to keep us in it.
Louis Carey 6
Bailed us out with a superb goal-saving challenge in the first minute, brought the ball out of defence well but showing signs that age could be getting the better of him.
Cole Skuse 8
Marvin Elliott 6
Put in a good shift for the cause. Plenty of running but lacking the quality we’ve become used to in the past.
Lee Johnson 6
Few nice touches mixed with the customary bottling out of challenges and shirking from his responsibilites in the midfield. Marginally better than usual.
David Clarkson 7
Mis-kicked twice in front of an open goal in the second-half but got what he deserved with the late goal. Getting better by the game, hopefully everything will click for him soon.
Chris Iwelumo 7
Starved of any sort of service and played most of the game with his back to goal but held the ball up well and unsettled the Leicester defence. Encouraging performance.
Danny Haynes 7
Clearly wasn’t match fit after illness but his pace was still a threat.
Ivan Sproule 7
Surprised he didn’t start with Haynes struggling but came on, provdided width down the right and ran at the defence.
Nicky Maynard 6
Asked to come on as a left-sided attacker, which of course he isn’t, and struggled to make an impact as a result.
GARY JOHNSON – 4/10
Was surprised to see Haynes, who had been battling an illness, start over Sproule and even more baffled with the dropping of Hartley. The tactics were too narrow again and didn’t understand why our top scorer Maynard was told to play down the left. In a nutshell, bizarre.
NIGEL PEARSON – 6/10
Clearly set them up to win and were unlucky not to have scored 3 or 4 tonight. Played with balance and intent going forward even if they were dodgy at the back.
Effort was there, but not much else
You can’t questions the lads in terms of effort tonight, epitomised by Skuse’s all-action performance in midfield. Sadly, effort will only get us so far.
We looked very frail in defence and didn’t even register a shot on target until the 85th minute. That combination makes it very hard to see where the next dozen or so points will come from to keep us up right now. Bad times.
Fans were magnificent
Well done to all of those who went and vocally backed the team tonight. Regardless of our different opinions on all things City right now, we all pulled together and gave as much support to the team as we could.
Johnson’s long lost my respect but I will always back the club, if not the manager.