Bournemouth plunged managerless Leicester into deeper trouble near the foot of the Premier League with a vital 1-0 victory that lifted Gary O’Neil’s side out of the bottom three and up to 15th.
As the Foxes were declining to comment on reports former Leeds boss Jesse Marsch was in “advanced talks” to fill the King Power vacancy left by Brendan Rodgers last week, the size of the job that might face the American was on open display as Leicester’s winless run reached eight league games.
James Maddison, the England midfielder at the forefront of those players Leicester might look to drag them out of trouble, was this time the one to put them in it, getting a back pass all wrong to allow Philip Billing to fire Bournemouth in front five minutes before the break.
It was a gift of a goal but Bournemouth were worthy of their lead.
The Cherries travelled north having lost eight of their last nine away games but were quickly on the front foot against a Leicester side who, now without a clean sheet in 15, would prove very hospitable opponents in the first half.
Only two minutes in, Wout Faes left a back pass for Daniel Iversen, unaware of Dominic Solanke lurking on his shoulder, and the goalkeeper did well to win the challenge before clearing the danger.
Moments later, Billing’s free-kick clipped the outside of the post after Victor Kristiansen fouled Solanke on the edge of the area.
Leicester showed glimpses – Kristiansen’s cross narrowly missed Jamie Vardy before Tim Castagne flashed a shot wide – but the action was concentrated in the other half with Bournemouth, who began the day only one place above the Foxes in the relegation zone, looking the brighter, more purposeful side.
Iversen did well to turn Billing’s deflected shot narrowly wide before Solanke was unable to find the target on the turn after Dango Ouattara played a cross just behind him.
That would be one of Ouattara’s final contributions before he was forced off before the break but Bournemouth did not miss a beat as they soon took the lead courtesy of Maddison’s horrible back pass into the path of Billing, who hit a low shot beyond Iversen.
Seeking to make amends, Maddison saw a shot deflected wide by Chris Mepham in first-half stoppage time but Bournemouth were back on top after the break.
Iversen had to make a string of close-range saves, first from Solanke, then two on the goalline from a corner to deny Mepham and Jack Stephens.
The goalkeeper then saved Solanke’s shot from a tight angle before substitute Marcus Tavernier fired into the crowd.
In between times, Maddison had surged forward, flicking it wide for Vardy who could not find Harvey Barnes with a cross.
It was the best move Leicester had produced, but a rarity, and interim boss Adam Sadler soon made attacking changes as Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka replaced Vardy and Ricardo Pereira.
Leicester were lifted, with Maddison seeing a shot turned over before Neto held a Faes header.
More attacks came but there were fouls before Neto denied first Barnes, then Iheanacho, and neither would have counted anyway.
Barnes soon hobbled off and was replaced by Tete.
The Brazilian’s first contribution was to drag a shot wide from a corner as toothless Leicester proved unable to find a way through a Bournemouth defence that had started the day with only one clean sheet in 24 top-flight away games.
Many of those Leicester fans who stuck around through six minutes of time added on then made their feelings clear with chants of ‘You’re not fit to wear the shirt’ after the final whistle.