Hull City 1-1 Colchester United
We aren't good enough. In patches, our players show their ability, but over 42 games, we haven't had the guile, skill, intelligence, concentration or bottle to win enough games. Today, it wasn't a must win game and that was obvious by the fact that AT HOME with four minutes of injury time to play, we only had Jon Parkin and Steve McPhee in the opposition half. Everyone else, seemingly happy with a (rubbish) point was yards behind. It summed up our second half.
We won the first half. We did OK defensively, apart from one occasion when Delaney let Cureton have a clear run on goal, and we nicked a goal. From their, we should've pushed on, took the game to Colchester and defended in the best way possible, by attacking. Instead, we let them control the game and conceded a poor goal. The goal was defendable. Delaney should've got closer to Iwelumo, Dawson shouldn't have fallen over the ball and somebody should have sensed the danger in letting Cureton anywhere near the goal. Instead, we let our lead slip and spent the last half an hour looking very unlikely to win the game.
I've no criticism of the line-up, it was about the best we could muster. The bench was Ok too, with one exception. Dean Marney has made two very good sub appearances in the last few days, so to leave him off and include Peltier was a puzzler. Marney would have given us more thrust and ambition in the last 20 after Livermore ran himself out. Instead, we were left with Peltier charging around and showing very little quality on the ball. His promising debut was obviously promising because Southend are garbage. The other subs, Parkin and McPhee, came on far too late. They were also absolutely pointless because for the last 10 minutes, we didn't get anyone forward in support or play anything decent into them.
Our use of the ball was as bad as it's been all season. You could count the number of decent passes and crosses on one finger. We didn't get the full-back's into the game and our promising positions, generally throw-in's or Forster in wide positions, came from the persistence of the strikers when chasing lost causes. Colchester are an average side. They work hard, concentrate for 90 minutes, don't give away cheap goals and fight for everything that is loose. They aren't a great passing side, but they were better than us. Iwelumo bullied us. Turner had a good game, but he was still beaten a few times buy the big man, who found Cureton far too often. It looked like Cureton was supposed to be marked by Delaney but Damo couldn't pick him out of a line-up this evening because he never got anywhere near him. The midfield was terrible again. There's no-one in there with any ability to get the ball down and pass it and that includes Parlour. Speaking of Parlour, his booking in the first half and the 2 free-kick's he gave away in dangerous positions while achieving it, was the stuff of a young man with no experience, not an ex-international footballer. We're always in trouble when Ash is the most creative midfielder.
The strikers worked a bit without success. Deano was off the boil and lucky not to go off earlier. He was left on because of his reputation, not his performance. Forster scored a good goal and tormented the oppos, although getting the ball to him was a struggle. Elliott made one great flick on and several abysmal crosses in 90 minutes. Not a great attacking contribution.
The most worrying things are the lack of fight and the lack of communication. Delaney gave away a throw in our half because no-one told him he was fine to take the ball down. Ash gifted a corner by needlessly heading the ball out. Deano and Elliott jumped for the same ball and so did plenty of others. We looked like a team of strangers. Late on, we had no ambition to win the game and didn't fight for the loose balls. We let Colchester have the ball too often and let them pass it too easily. Our midfield was sat on top of the defence (an old complaint!) and they strode up to half way to use the ball. On the contrary, when we launched attacks, It was a big boot from Bo up to the 2 strikers. When the ball dropped, they mopped up easily because the midfield was still sat in front of the back four.
It's an odd game and it's wrong to make snap judgements, which I'm all too guilty of, but we looked like relegation fodder again. 4 weeks ago, we looked assured and full of life, we looked certain to stay up, the gaffer looked a cert for the job and Deano and Parlour's prospects of employment next season looked promising. Now, we're facing a struggle to survive and Brown will be looking for a new job whether we stay up or not. Deano is a maybe and Parlour is a no thanks for next season.
In spite of all that, we should have won today. We got our goal and defended well enough to keep Colchester at bay. They never looked like doing any damage. One moment of concentration and some strength from Delaney and Dawson and we would've taken one of those scruffy one-nil's. Instead, we must win at Stoke or Cardiff, unless Leeds, QPR or Barnsley goes to pieces. At the moment, it looks like Bye, Bye Scunthorpe, Hello, Hartlepool.
The support was superb today, in numbers and voice. Well done to the Colchester fans, who gave our Youth lads a great applause as they paraded their trophy. Oh and congratulations to the idiot fan who managed to get ejected from the tamest away support in history. Muppet!
Ratings: Bo 6, Ricketts 7, Dawson 5, Delaney 5, Turner 7, Ashbee 6, Livermore 6 (Peltier), Parlour 5, Forster 7, Windass 6 (Parkin), Elliott 6 (McPhee).
Down, but not out.