Hull City 0-0 Royal Antwerp

Last updated : 05 August 2007 By Rick Skelton
Not a lot to say on the game of football. It was pleasant at best. Very similar to the Nancy game last year. Apart from one little dust up in the second half, there wasn't a lot of spice to it. We weren't really tested and we didn't quite find the spark to break through them. Depending on your point of view, it's either the ideal way to finish pre-season, because there was little risk of injury and a chance to pop the ball about under little pressure, or it's a silly way to end pre-season because it offers very little preparation for what will be a high pressure, high tempo opener against Plymouth next week.

We had a really good spell of pressure in the second half, camped in their half for about 10 minutes. Marney dragged the best chance wide after a great move, Barmby just failed to chip the 'keeper after a another neat move and Deano missed a pair of half chances.

Otherwise we passed the ball quite well. The long ball stuff only appeared when necessary. On all other occasions we tried to move the ball quickly from back to front along the ground and it was pleasant to watch, as it was on Wednesday. I hope we are brave enough to play this way when it matters. I'm not really sure what the formation was. The back 5 were Bo, Ricketts, Daws, Turner and DD, all in familiar roles. The rest lined up in 4-4-2 with Garcia right, Livermore left, Ash and Marney in the middle and Barmby playing off McPhee up front. However, through the course of the first half, Garcia played right and left wing, in the middle of midfield and up front. Marney appeared in the middle as part of a 2 and a 3 and wide on the left. Livermore like wise, plus he turned up on the right too. In addition, McPhee moved to both right and left wing on occasion, leaving Nick on his own up front. No idea what the thinking was. It worked a bit, Garcia being heavily involved and probably the pick of our players, but the rest looked a bit confused and none of them really stamped their mark on the game.

Nice to see Warren Joyce back. Fantastic response to him, considering the small crowd. The fans Antwerp brought were interesting. They rarely shut up, sang lots of traditional English songs ("Glory, Glory, Royal Antwerp", "Antwerp 'til I die", "There's only one Royal Antwerp", "Warren Joyce's Red Army") including "God save the Queen" at one point.

On pre-season as a whole, I think we've been OK. The 4-3-3 has looked decent. Garcia and Hughes are fitting in nicely and look super players. Ricketts is better than a year ago, much better. Marney's showing signs of being able to turn a game. McPhee has stayed fit and looks quick and hungry. As a team, we've tried to pass the ball, tried to build from the back and put in much better crosses from open play and set pieces. I'm quietly optimistic that we'll have a good season. Especially if we can bring in a left sided attacker.