November 17, 2012 by Made In Brum
Blues 2 Hull City 3
Not often do I find myself happy with a performance that sees us three-goals down. Its easy to criticise a manager that has lead us to just a solitary win from six home outings, but my personal opinion is, and I’ll take criticism for this, that the real problem at this club is the ownership. I’m not doubting that Lee Clark has got things wrong and made dubious decisions at times, but when things behind the scenes are circus-like, as they are at Blues, it is always difficult to steer the crashing vehicle.
You put the money in, the money out, in out, in out, shake it all about, you do the Peter Pannu and you turn it down, that’s what its all about… This board are treating our club like a toy, it has to stop. People who claim to be ‘in the know’ have told me that the take over deal will happen next week. But who do we believe? I’ve heard theories that Carson Yeung will hold out, sell our assets in January and then try and sell. Who would buy the club in that situation?
Last weekend, I witnessed this team put in an excellent performance at Blackburn. Turned the corner? Maybe, maybe not. This league is as unpredictable as the next Jimmy Savile victim. But facts remain, Blues are 19th, and even though I’ve stood up for Clark time after time, this position has to improve. I still think, and again, feel free to voice your opinion, after all, that’s the beauty of Football, that he will turn it round and come good. He needs a figurehead, a boss man. If the players have a concern, where do they go? To Clark. If he has a concern or a problem, where does he go? Nowhere, unless he fancies flying to Hong Kong.
The main frustration of this game was the fact that Blues didn’t play badly. Going forward they looked comfortable, if not relentless. It was sloppy defending that gave Hull the lead. The back-four attempted some-kind of ‘offside trap’ before ex-Blues boy Sone Aluko rounded Jack Butland and slotted in the opener. On the run of play, deserved, just about. Aluko was a thorn in Blues’ side all afternoon. He displayed maturity and awareness, something which Steven Caldwell should show more of. Pulling out wide, chasing dead balls, winning flick on’s, Aluko was everywhere.
Clark was his usual animated self on the touchline, apparently he lost his voice which prevented him speaking to the media post-match.
Hull’s game-plan was clear, and it was Steve Bruce-esque. Stay tight and compact, win the ball, knock it to the pacey attackers and get bodies in the box. Not so counter attack, more of a containing job. Truth is, other than their goals in the first half, Hull did little to threaten Blues. But truth would also suggest, they didn’t have to. Aluko netted a second twelve minutes after his first to give Blues a mountain to climb.
Playing 3-5-2, Blues struggled to break down a Hull side who packed the midfield and pushed their wingers deep, making it difficult for Chris Burke and Wade Elliott to get involved. When they did, they couldn’t run clear of a marker, sometimes two. Burke, on a few occasions managed to get some room to manoeuvre a cross, Nikola Zigic won numerous headers, but other than Marlon King, Blues had nobody attacking the box. James Chester headed in Hull’s third from a deep corner, the most flattering three-nil lead you’ll ever see. And what’s worse, would Blues concede these sloppy goals with a consistent defence?
Blues’ little spells of play meant nothing, the scoreline was not pleasant reading. Only when Ravel Morrison smashed home a volley did the home fans cling onto some sort of hope. Despite unrewarding pressure, Clark’s team talk had to done at 3-1 down.
Before the bum’s hit their seats for the second half, King fired Blues back into it. 3-2. Originally, he appeared to mis-control the bouncing ball before swinging a boot at it, sending it beyond the diving Ben Amos Could this be another Millwall?
The next ten-fifteen minutes was all Blues. But similar to the play-off home leg against Blackpool, they seemed to run out of steam. Amos made a couple of decent, although comfortable, saves, and Zigic, who was winning high and mighty balls, but to no avail. The legs in the middle of the park, notably Hayden Mullins and Morrison, couldn’t get back-and-forth as quickly as the Blues long balls were going in to the mixer. High ball, header across the area, cleared. Times that by half a dozen.
On the counter, our ‘make shift’ centre back Paul Robinson was showing Caldwell a thing or two. The argument ‘why did we play a full back at centre half’ is invalid as Robbo was better, by a mile, than his defensive partner, the supposed natural centre half. Two occasions in which he made last ditch tackles in the area, perfectly timed to squander the threat of Hull, come to mind. Caldwell, not meaning to single anyone out, looked robotic and immobile. David Murphy and Jonathan Spector, our full back’s, tried and failed to make an impact on the game in the forward area’s. Credit where its due to Hull’s tireless wide men, Ahmed Elmohamady and Liam Rosenior, they didn’t give anything away.
Nathan Redmond was introduced to inject pace, but again, not entirely his own fault, he was anonymous. Here, there and everywhere off the ball, but the youngster needs to show a lot more when in possession. Too many times he has the opportunity to stretch his legs but settles for a few step-overs and a simple pass back. I can’t remember the last time the lad actually picked up the ball and took on two players.
So, the Blue bus was slowing and more and more the visitors were dealing with the threat. Organised and intelligent, simple and effective, coupled with Bruce’s ‘throw the ball behind me’ antics when the ball went out for a throw in late on, Blues were slowly realising their fate. Its a shame that we gave ourselves so much to do, the attacking play was more than decent. But yet again, we’ve paid for a slow, sloppy start.
Blues ratings- Butland 6. Spector 6. *ROBINSON 7. Caldwell 5. Murphy 6. Burke 6. Mullins 6. Morrison 6. Elliott 6. King 7. Zigic 6…SUBS USED- Redmond 5. Hancox 6.
Match report by Rob Wildey.