PREM: West Brom 0-1 Leicester

Jamie Vardy netted his 17th goal of the season at The Hawthorns

Jamie Vardy's late first half strike was enough for Leicester to reach the magic 40-point mark as they beat West Brom 1-0 in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

The Foxes are now nine points clear of the drop zone and have reached the tally that is traditionally seen as safe from relegation, with the England striker sliding home in the 43rd minute to seal the three points.

It was a fifth Premier League game in a row that the Baggies have failed to score in and their fourth consecutive defeat, although will feel aggrieved that they should have been awarded an 80th minute penalty. However, they had few real chances to speak of aside from a Chris Brunt header in the first half and remain in eighth on 44 points but winless in over a month, while Leicester move up into 11th.

Tony Pulis made three changes from their last Premier League outing, leaving Darren Fletcher out of his starting XI for the first time since he moved to the club in February 2015, while Shinji Okazaki replaced Leonardo Ulloa up front for Leicester.

The game was a physical battle throughout, with numerous fouls and free kicks littering the opening exchanges which kept referee Mark Clattenburg busy in his final ever Premier League game. Indeed, Danny Drinkwater was arguably lucky not to be sent off in the 16th minute as he produced a crunching tackle on Nacer Chadli, but only received a yellow card.

West Brom had the first chance of the half in the 18th minute as Chris Brunt tested Kasper Schmeichel, latching onto the end of a long Jonny Evans pass at the back post but his header was tipped over the crossbar by the Foxes captain.

Neither side could truly muster anything better as the half wore on but it was Leicester that took the advantage with two minutes of normal time to play. Salomon Rondon played a pass into a pocket of space that allowed Okazaki to latch onto the ball, sliding it into the path of Vardy who expertly dispatched past Ben Foster to see the Foxes ahead.

The second period saw plenty more chances and Leicester could have had the win sown up after a few minutes of the restart. Vardy flashed a ball across the face of goal from the left-hand side but Okazaki just missed the chance to poke it home as it ran wide.

West Brom were on the attack a minute later as Rondon had his first real sight of goal but his strike on the turn was well collected by Schmeichel. Gareth McAuley then headed on a Chadli corner but Evans could not meet it at the back post.

Just after the hour mark and Riyad Mahrez showed flashes of brilliance that had been lacking for much of the game as Drinkwater powered through the middle of the park, before fining the Algerian on the right. He rounded Allan Nyom with ease before going for goal, but just clipped the outside of the post.

But West Brom continued to press for the equaliser as the game drew to a conclusion. Schmeichel collected from a James Morrison header in the 78th minute before the hosts had a big shout for a penalty turned down two minutes later as Robert Huth nudged Rondon in the back, sending him to ground inside the area, but Clattenburg waved away the calls.

Mahrez could have wrapped up the victory for Leicester with eight minutes of normal times to play as he danced into the box from the right flank before curling towards goal but his effort just evaded the top corner, much to his frustration.

But Leicester managed to keep West Brom at bay for the remainder of the game to secure a vital three points and extended the Baggies barren run in front of goal.

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