Spot kick king Schmeichel sees Foxes home
Kasper Schmeichel was Leicester's hero as Nigel Pearson's side went second in the table with a 1-0 victory over npower Championship promotion rivals Middlesbrough.
Leading through David Nugent's 70th-minute strike, Foxes substitute Jamie Vardy untidily brought Boro captain Rhys Williams down in the area, but Schmeichel plunged to his left to superbly thwart Marvin Emnes.
Leicester enjoyed the better of an open first half as Anthony Knockaert and Michael Keane tested the crossbar in front of a sparse King Power Stadium crowd, with many apparently persuaded to watch the televised clash from home on a snow-swept evening.
The adverse weather conditions delayed Middlesbrough's arrival and the kick-off by 15 minutes, but Tony Mowbray's men also had their moments as an attacking force, with Schmeichel forced to deny Scott McDonald and Andre Bikey in quick succession.
Emmanuel Ledesma, booked for diving in the 20th minute, should have put Boro ahead after the break before in-form Foxes striker Chris Wood hit the post.
Nugent was twice denied by the offside flag but, in between those efforts, he finished superbly on the half-volley to put City three points ahead of Boro in fifth. They sit seven points behind Cardiff ahead of the leaders' trip to Blackpool tomorrow evening.
Pearson named an unchanged XI from the one that dispatched struggling Bristol City last weekend, while Justin Hoyte and Bikey replaced Nicky Bailey and Lukas Jutkiewicz following Middlesbrough's defeat to Watford
Boro's top scorer McDonald fired a snap-shot over in the seventh minute after George Friend's cross was partially cleared by City centre-back Keane and Leicester went on to enjoy a period in the ascendancy.
Wood, looking to build on six goals in three Leicester appearances and a hat-trick last time out, collected a slack pass from Ledesma and tested Jason Steele in the Boro goal following Nugent's return pass.
Steele was a spectator in the 28th minute when Knockaert collected Wood's lay-off from Paul Konchesky's raking pass on the left hand side of the penalty area and unleashed a venomous left-footed shot which struck the underside of the crossbar, bounced down onto the far post and out to safety.
In the 37th minute McDonald was allowed room to drive goalward from 25 yards. Schmeichel pushed behind and thwarted Bikey's header from the resulting corner.
France Under-21 international playmaker Knockaert earned Wood's wrath five minutes from the interval, driving wide from a similar position to his earlier effort with the New Zealander unmarked in the middle.
Leicester ended the half the stronger, with Nugent twice drawing sharp stops from Steele and Keane rattling the bar when Wood stood up a chip into the six yard box.
They should have paid for their profligacy eight minutes into the second period as Ledesma's dinked finish dropped wide after a cute, flicked pass from Middlesbrough's Chelsea loanee Josh McEachran sent him clear.
The hosts responded by striking the woodwork for a third time, Wood planting a powerful header against the upright from Konchesky's centre.
Nugent did manage to beat Steele and his goalposts in the 63rd minute but was adjudged to be marginally offside when he stroked home Ritchie De Laet's pass.
There was no debate when the once-capped England striker clinically swept a half-volley into far corner after Wood dinked the ball into his path.
A stationary Foxes defence handed McDonald the chance to equalise, but he blazed over and limped out of the action immediately afterwards, while Nugent soon fell foul of the linesman for a second time.
Substitutes Lloyd Dyer and Vardy might have added a degree of comfort to Leicester's evening, before the latter was left to thank Schmeichel for sparing his blushes.