Jamie Vardy at the double as Leicester wrap up Championship with win at Preston



Posted Tuesday, April 30, 2024 by PA

Jamie Vardy at the double as Leicester wrap up Championship with win at Preston

Jamie Vardy struck twice as promoted Leicester crushed Preston to clinch the Sky Bet Championship title in style with a 3-0 win at Deepdale.

The former England striker, veteran of the Foxes’ memorable Premier League success eight years ago, rolled back the years with goals either side of the break to get another party started.

Kasey McAteer also got on the scoresheet as Enzo Maresca’s side, whose return to the top-flight after a year’s absence was confirmed on Friday, overran their hosts.

The visitors’ 5,000-strong support were vociferous throughout having travelled in mood to celebrate, and 37-year-old Vardy made the night even more special as he took his tally for the league campaign to 18.

Vardy looked every bit as sharp as in his prime and he left the field to a good ovation when substituted 15 minutes from time.

With promotion already assured – and some celebrations presumably having already taken place – Leicester initially lacked intensity but Preston, with only pride to play for, proved no match.

Leicester carved out their first opening on 15 minutes as Yunus Akgun slipped in Vardy but goalkeeper Freddie Woodman blocked with his feet.

McAteer, making his first start after a two-month injury lay-off, tried his luck from the edge of the area but Woodman comfortably saved.

McAteer spurned a better chance when Abdul Fatawu picked him out from the byline but he planted his header over.

Akgun then had a shot charged down by Liam Lindsay but the on-loan Galatasaray winger turned provider as Leicester took the lead in the 36th minute.

The Turk pulled the ball back after good work by Harry Winks and Fatawu, giving Vardy space to turn and fire – albeit with a scuffed shot – inside the far post.

Vardy doubled the lead seven minutes into the second half after a brilliant weaving run by Wout Faes, who beat three defenders before lashing a shot against the base of the post.

The ball then struck Woodman and rolled invitingly across the line for Vardy to smash emphatically into the roof of the net from close range.

Vardy could have capped a fine display with a hat-trick after Leicester pounced on a loose ball but Woodman denied him with a fine save.

It was McAteer who grabbed the third in the 67th minute, this time making no mistake with a header from another Fatawu cross.

Leicester poured forward to add gloss to the scoreline late on and Fatawu was unlucky when he struck the upright with a thunderous strike.

Harry Winks also brought a good save out of Woodman but the job was done and Leicester, crowned champions with a game to spare, will now have a chance to end the season with 100 points.

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