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Thread: United 1 Hull 0 - report

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    United 1 Hull 0 - report

    Sorry for late report- went out to Peddler at Kelham Island last night…..

    United’s excellent recent run continued with a third win in a week and with it they went to the top of the Championship table just before the international break. On contrast former boss Nigel Adkins’ Hull side have slumped to the bottom of the table. It was a tight game with few chances and Dean Henderson actually was the busier keeper but David McGoldrick scored his third in a week and another coolly taken penalty after a fairly routine award for a foul on Jack O’Connell in the box. After this United saw things, out without too much alarm and ended a superb week. Paul Coutts also got another half an hour under his belt as he continues his comeback.

    Chris Wilder kept the same team again and the only change saw Baldock on the bench for Lundstram. Rival manager Adkins was feeling the pressure after a poor start but still could afford to leave on the bench like Polish international Grosicki, talented youngster Bowen and 3.5 million striker Dicko.

    The game started with little in the way of penalty box action as United saw a lot of the ball. Hull set up very defensively and when the home side got possession; they got all eleven behind the ball. They were time wasting from almost the off and twice players went to the deck with ‘injuries.’ They did have one long range effort well over from Henriksen but this was a rare break as United piled on the pressure. Duffy was instrumental in most things the Blades did and his probing saw a chance come over from the left but Stevens did not connect when well placed. Soon after a neat move saw Duffy and Sharp combine and his cross was scooped over from McGoldrick. Duffy then came inside and had a low shot that he pulled wide at the near post. United were having all of the ball but Hull were packing bodies in front of them so it was hard to find space for an opening. Stevens and Freeman were playing like old fashioned wingers in an attempt to create chances.

    Campbell had to go off with a knock and was replaced by Dicko on the half hour but the pressure remained on the visitors. More nice football saw Duffy then play in Stevens, who had drifted to the right-hand side, after a lovely bit of one touch football in the build-up but the defender’s shot was comfortable for Marshall. Duffy then hit a shot over just before half time. It was a frustrating half as for all the good play, at times it had been a bit slow and Hull’s negative approach meant it was difficult to unpick the defence with so many players back.

    The second half saw Hull start better with Dicko turning and hitting a shot on the angle that Henderson turned away. This was the first real effort of note from the visitors. Fleck then fired over from a well worked corner routine before good build up and a deep cross saw Freeman intelligently nod down but Sharp fired over.

    Coutts came on for Duffy but his first action was to give it away and Hull almost scored. The cross came in and Henriksen met it on the full with a powerful header but Henderson made a really good save pushing the ball away. This proved a crucial moment as soon after United were in front with around 20 minutes to play.

    It came from the spot after a moment of madness by defender Elphick. The referee warned him before the kick to take his hands-off O’Connell but inexplicably he had him in a bear hug and then pulled him down as the ball came across. The lack of appeal from him told a different story to the one Adkins tried to cobble together post game.

    MCGOLDRICK took it after scoring last week rather than Sharp. He sent the keeper the wrong way and celebrated in front of the Kop. With news coming in than Forest were winning at Middlesbrough; United fans were sensing they could get to the top of the Championship table.

    After the goal United did a better job of keeping the ball but were defending quite deep. Henderson had to be alert to keep out a low shot as he was not sure if it would go wide at his near post. Hull won a few corners but were not creating too many clear chances. McGoldrick was booked for a clumsy tackle on the touchline in his attempts to press but United were now in a solid shape and Hull looked a bit lost for ideas. Clarke and Johnson came on for Sharp and McGoldrick. United were defending a touch too deep but Hull were rather reliant on the long throw and pumped ball into the box and Egan continued his dominant form by heading it away on a number of occasions. Four minutes of stoppage time were deemed to be played but Johnson helped run the ball down twice and then a nice bit of possession stuff with Coutts, Norwood and Fleck central to the ball retention saw more time used up. Hull did not really threaten at all in the additional time and the full-time whistle came and with it signalled United’s position at the apex of the league.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    United – It was our poorest performance of the week and the sloppiest we have been since Birmingham at home. Fortunately, Hull were not as good as the Blues as an opponent and other than a couple of chances second half; we were still the better side in my opinion. First half we had so much of the ball as they just sat back and defended in numbers. We were too slow to move it on and I felt did not create much considering how much we had of it. A few half chances but nothing clear cut really; maybe Stevens miskick the best chance. You could see the players did not quite have the zip of recent games and maybe the schedule took its toll. Still, I felt we had enough to get the win. Second half we started poorly again – been a concern in recent games despite the overall performance and results. They had a few chances and Henderson made 2 good saves. It became much more even and a bit more open as they had a go. Our passing became sloppy and we were not really creating too much but you sensed it was 1-0 or 0-1 an did not feel either side would come back from the other scoring just because of the sort of game it was. We fortunately got our noses in front and after this we saw it out professionally. It was a gritty more than accomplished performance but a huge three points as even though we were not our best; we did just enough to get the win.

    We will play better than that and probably not win or draw some games. That is just the way it goes. Still despite the performance level not quite being up there; we still saw some real plusses. The defence was solid with Henderson and Egan stand outs and another clean sheet – second in a week. The midfield showed quality at times on the ball and helped us control things in there for large parts. Coutts got some more time too. Overall, we have to be delighted. We are top of the league – two key men from last season Clarke and even Fleck not quite found the form of last season.

    We have nice little break now and then a tough few games coming up. We have played some of the poorer team in the last spell of fixtures in terms of where they are in the league and will play a few teams higher up the table now so be a tougher test. I actually think that might help though that teams may come out more and mean we get more space at the other end of the field. We actually might be better away from home too; due to the way we play and home teams having to come onto us more also. Today was hard with so little space and the players looking a bit heavy legged but it was a crucial win and is so nice to look at that league table.

    It might not last and we might not finish top 6 but it is important to just enjoy the moment sometimes. I never thought we would be up there this year and we may not last the pace again but they have pleasantly surprised me how well they have begun this season. The new signings have been excellent too and really made a difference. Huge well done to Wilder, Knill, Mitchell etc. It is testament to their management, coaching and scouting; that there are probably a dozen sides at least who have spent more money and have higher wage bills but we sit above all of them this morning!

    Hull – Mixed really. First half they were never in it and even though we were not outstanding we still dominated really without creating too much. They had 11 men behind the ball for long periods and spent most of the half just defending and trying to get men back and deny space. Maybe that was the right tactic as we did not create much but it was dire to watch and kind of ruined the game. They time wasted a lot from the keeper right down to 6 (SIX) players going down with various ‘injuries. Only one was serious as he had to go off but the rest of them were laughable as they just collapsed and literally pretended to be hurt. It was a clear ploy to slow the game down and mean any flow or momentum we could build up would be stopped. It was a bit pathetic I felt. Yes, they are struggling but at least try and have a go. You need wins not draws. Even a point today is not going to do much for them.

    They then came out 2nd half and had a decent spell with Dicko having a few chances. At this stage they were right in the game and it was certainly more even 2nd half. We scored and then they started to panic and actually went away from what they had done better in terms of the ball up the front lad. They started knocking more balls into the box or trying long throws and we dealt with this better than the ball over the top to utilise his pace. I am not sure they had any chances of note at all after we scored and we kind of held on quite easily. Look low on confidence but the set up did not help. Chances wise they maybe had better ones than us although there hardly any in the game but they had so little of the football for long spells and were rarely trying to go forward. Overall, the verdict was about right as the first half we were the better side by a fair way but the second half it was more even. They will feel hard done by on the penalty as there was nothing in the game really and it was a pivotal moment but it was stupid by the centre back and ultimately cost them the game.

    As for the rest of the season; as poor as they were in their approach, I am not sure they were any worse than quite a few sides that have been down here and I think they will get some results to maybe do just about enough to stay up. They have some decent players and I think they have a bit more quality than say Bolton or Rotherham or even Ipswich – my tips to go down. However, they will have to get a new manager for me. All his garbage about effort and players trying is exactly that garbage. It is a results-based business and they are bottom of the league. A few more poor results and they will probably get rid of him. That will be him done at the top level (in terms of upper ends of the pyramid) and if he opts to stay in Management, he will have to wait to see if a team in League Two takes him on as his last three appointments and records at those clubs has been really poor. The days of Scunny and Southampton seem a long way away and he does seem yesterday’s man now.

    Opponent man of the match – The sub Dicko was their best and most dangerous player. He had 3 efforts on goal; all decent efforts rather than misses. He ran down the channels and showed pace and running and livened them up considerably and was much better than the ineffectual Campbell who he came on for. The lad Irvine showed bits and pieces but we kept his threat to a minimum. I thought they defended quite well and limited us to many chances. Surprised Elphick had not stayed at Villa as they seem poor at the back and are playing a midfielder at centre back in Jedinak. He was solid today for Hull but then undone all his good work with the penalty. The lad Burke alongside him was decent; who they got from West Ham. They were more workmanlike than any individuals standing out.

    Weak link – The two front lads Martin and Campbell were never in the game until the latter of course went off. I thought in midfield Henriksen, Batty and Kingsley were rarely in the game and careless in possession. They improved after the break. The weak link for me is the manager. He set them up incredibly negatively. Yes, they had a spell after half time and then came again after we scored but the first 45 minutes his tactics and shape were set up to basically not concede. They did not even attempt to go forward. Yes, they are struggling but that kind of approach is why they are bottom of the league- why don’t you have a go at teams – you are bottom – try and win a game Adkins!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Henderson 8/10 – Did not have anything to do first half at all as they barely had an attack of note with just a few long-range shots going well off target. 2nd half he was busy for a home keeper. He made a save at his near post from Dicko and then saved well from a header as he sprung to his left. I would have been disappointed if he had been beaten as a nice height but still good reactions. He made another save low down when some keepers may have got caught out at his near post. He is making those important saves when we need them and you can see he is real quality. Will be delighted with two clean sheets in a week.

    Freeman 7/10 – Decent game. Going forward he got there a lot but his final pass lacked accuracy although he kept going and linked well with Bash down that side on a few occasions. Went to ground looking for fouls a bit too much and also, I felt the lad Bowen caused him some problems a few times and he tripped him once as he got done for skill. They overloaded down this side second half and he got caught out a few times but that was as much down to the other players as him. Made some decent tackles and good pulls away from tight positions. We have improved a lot since he got back in. Tough on Baldock but Freeman is better.

    Stevens 7/10 – As with Freeman he was steady enough. He got forward quite a bit first half and miskicked badly when right in front of goal in maybe our best chance of the half. He then had our only other effort on goal first half when he somehow ended up on the right-hand side of the box after a neat move but his shot lacked power. Defensively he was fine although they did get down both sides more in the 2nd half and I felt both wing backs got a bit exposed – normally it us who do that to other sides.

    Egan 8/10 – Our best player, along with Henderson and maybe just wins my Man of the Match even though the keeper made 2 decent saves – only one was a really good save. Egan was excellent all game. He won headers, his touch was superb (remember one ball that he took out of the sky and killed in an instant) and he looked so calm and composed. Won almost everything against Martin who can be a tricky customer at his level. Looks a first class signing now after that dodgy start.

    O’Connell 7.5/10 – Solid game again. Other than Dicko getting away from him once, he defended well and also came out with the ball when he could go the other way. He has been very consistent the last few weeks and with the others playing well alongside him he has improved his game and got back to standards he has set the last few years. Helps him having Egan, who is a great header of the ball, as he does not have to attack every ball.

    Basham 7.5/10 – Another good performance and I think in the last week other than those mad few minutes at Millwall, the defence have been excellent and limited team to few chances of note. He got up and down and found space down the right channel, put in one great cross for McGoldrick and just covered so much ground again. Made some timely interceptions and reads the game so well. A few sloppy moments 2nd half with all the defence but they recovered and finished the game strong as a unit.

    Fleck 6/10 – Bit up and down at the moment. Excellent in the week and maybe our best player at Blackburn but today I felt he had another off game. He ran into trouble a few times and gave it away quite often. However, he kept going and got better as the game went on. I thought 2nd half he was better than the 1st half and started to move the ball on more effectively. Shows that we can be so optimistic he has not quite been at his best recently and we are top of the league

    Norwood 7/10 – Decent game if not quite the standards he has been. His passing was a bit mixed today. Some lovely cross field balls and some decent set plays again and always looking for the ball. He also dug in and won a few interceptions/tackles – a couple of silly fouls again. At times his passing was not quiet as assured and a few passes were telegraphed or short but he kept plugging away in a game where not everyone was quite at their best. 2nd half we did not control midfield as much as the 1st half and we got a bit sloppy. Towards the end he helped us keep it better than we have done.

    Duffy 7.5/10 – First half he was our best player and the one who looked most likely to create something. He got on the ball, probed and drifted across the pitch. Always looking to put those balls in where he just threads it through and I thought he was really busy today and they struggled to pick him up. Had some nice dribbles and runs at the defence but final pass or moment did not quite come off. Second half I felt he was not in the game and saw little of the ball. They had a decent spell so Wilder opted to give us another man more centrally and its kind of worked as we got more control after this.

    Sharp 6/10 – Not his day today and I felt struggled to get involved. He held it up a few times and won a few fouls but got outmuscled on a few occasions and I felt his touch was off today and it squirted off him more than once. Sort of game where you felt he was so quiet he may pop up with a goal but other than one shot off target second half; not sure he had any chances at all. They had some big lads against him and we did not get the quality of balls in that we have been doing so it was tough for him.

    McGoldrick 7/10 – Decent when he had the ball but not quite as involved as he has been. Hull had so many players behind the ball it was hard though and we struggled to provide the service we have done. He came short though at times and helped link play. Had a decent chance first half and then one-half chance from a Basham cross. Just not quite as influential as in recent games I felt but then took the penalty and scored. Like the way he waits for the keeper before committing which way he goes – he kind of half stops just before he kicks it (not in an illegal way).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Subs –

    Clarke – Flicked on a few headers and chased a few balls down. He helped us keep possession to see out the final stages of the game. Remarkable that we are top and our leading scorer from last season has not scored. Think he will get some games as the two other lads are not exactly young and expect Wilder to rotate a bit after the break especially as we have 3 games in a week a few more times too in the lead up to Xmas.

    Coutts – Neat and tidy for the most part although gave a sloppy pass which led to a good chance and Henderson got him out of the cart. He tried nothing flash after this and overall just kept it nice and simple. Feeling his way back in. Expect he will be sub for a few more games before being considered for a start. Looks like he is a bit heavier (not fat in anyway) than before his injury or maybe his hair is just longer but not quite as svelte. Great to have him back.

    Johnson – Brought on for the closing stages. Ran the ball down a few times down the left but oddly decided to cross twice when we needed to just keep it in the corner. Third time he got it – he did a better job of keeping it. Is a nice outlet with his pace when we have a lead.

    Wilder 8/10 – We are top of the league and won 3 times in a week and is it now 8 wins from 10 games (just Bristol defeat and Birmingham draw) since the first two defeats. It is all going incredibly well. He was right that today would be tough due to the number of games and travelling but we stuck in there and got the win. Glad he resisted the temptation to change things. The Coutts introduction helped us get a bit more control of midfield after a dodgy spell and I felt the two lads at the end also were crucial in giving us legs to chase a few balls and retain possession. The man has worked wonders and the performances, results and recruitment has been top drawer this season. We have to ensure we keep him. If we do and we can give him that extra funding, you feel we could get promoted in the next few seasons. We have to take the chance though as he will surely want to have a go at managing in the top flight before he packs in – ideally with us – but if we don’t give him that extra backing then other teams will come for him. Still for now let’s not look at the future too much and just enjoy what he has given us – in his words; a proper football team and one that is winning and playing really good stuff.

    Referee – Peter Bankes. He will be talked about a lot due to the big decision. I did not see it at the time but you watch it back and it is clear cut. The lad is all over him and stops him as he is just about to head the ball and his lack of appeal on the award says it all – Adkins needs to watch it back when he says they do not believe it was a penalty. His own player clearly realised what he had done as make no appeal and just looks down at the floor. A sure sign it is a penalty. The ref warns him right before and had warned them on a few other corners. A few Hull players query it but they probably did not see it like me. It was a good spot but actually quite clear when you look at the replay.

    Over the game he was good actually I felt in terms of general refereeing and he got all the bookings right. Egan and Elphick were quite similar and McGoldrick was a bit wild and late – the worst of the three. They had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty but this was more desperation after the one we got given. He let play go on quite a bit. Interesting that they time wasted a lot more in the first half than the second (had to come out more after we scored too) but he allowed double the stoppage time. Always seems to be the case – know there are more subs generally in the second half – that they play more time at the end of the 2nd half than 1st half?!

    Crowd – Thought for a side going for the top of the league, it was a bit flat. It seemed like the game mirrored the crowd with nothing to get excited about really. It got a bit nosier 2nd half as we scored and then the fans did their part in raising it to help the team see it out. Hull’s following was pitiful. Maybe 400-500 fans at best. Never seen such a low following from them. They always travel well and over the years have brought as many as 4-5,000 fans in games especially when they have had both tiers. I get all the turmoil behind the scenes and the unrest. They are struggling too on the pitch but I was shocked how few came across. They actually tried to make a bit of noise and I felt were quite loyal considering the negative approach. At least they had something to shout about after the break with a few chances. Hoping if we keep at the top we can start pushing things towards the 30,000 mark and we have some teams who may bring some bigger followings to come to the Lane of course.

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