Hull City 1-2 Leeds United
Of course it was the latter who turned up. Leeds were poor. They created nothing and had no pace or invention. Only a completely inept side could lose to that Leeds team. You'd bet on Hull City to manage it. The more experienced of our fans would expect it!
It's often hard to put your finger on why we've lost, but not tonight. We lost because we had nothing. No bravery, no discipline, no idea's, no courage or composure and, crucially, no width. It wasn't just the players, the manager chucked on one sub after another, with no change to the shape and no plan B. Like Southampton and Leicester, we performed poorly in the first half and eeked out a goal before half time. We went in with our tails up and we should have come out and beaten them. Instead, we gave them a goal and let them sit men behind the ball and force us to play through them, which we couldn't do. The only joy we had was when the ball went long to Forster, who worked hard and created good positions, but we had no one in support. There's an argument about whether Deano can play with the Beast. He can in a 4-4-2, with good service, but not in a 4-3-1-2, with no wide players and nothing coming through the midfield.
As poor as we were offensively, we'd have taken at least a point if we'd defended better on two crucial occasions. The officials were diabolical. The referee decided in the changing room what sort of game it would be and he was going to make his mark. He gave an incredible number of free-kick's, it felt like fifty. We gave him plenty of opportunity though, because we made stupid lunges and daft pushes that he gave every time. Together with his one armed linesmen, who could only give decisions to Leeds, we would struggle against them. The first goal was a free-kick that headed for 4 of our players. Someone shouted and they all left it, leaving Heath to poke over Bo. The second came when Turner let Kandol out muscle him and then pulled him down. He was lucky to stay on in all honesty. The finish was a belter but they should never have had the opportunity.
The defence didn't really have a lot else to do, except distribute the ball, which they did with as much finesse as a conversation with Jade Goody. Whatever the problems up front, lack of movement being the obvious one, we never passed the ball well enough to overcome them. Longs balls were aimless and short balls were under hit or misdirected. Forster and Delaney emerge with some credit. The rest were appalling, one and all.
The big question is which is the real Hull City? If it's tonight's shower, then we're back in trouble. However, if it's the team that have shone under Phil Brown so far, then we'll be OK and we need to show our new found character on Saturday. We need a plan B though. We look like a side shorn of Barmby, Fagan, Livermore and McPhee. If we can't get McPhee and Dougie back for Saturday, we need to think about switching to 4-4-2, with France and Elliott wide or leaving out Deano or the Beast and making room for Elliott or Duffy. Don't get to disheartened, at least this type of 'effort' is the exception under Brown, not the norm. Oh, one more thing, if Michael Bridges is an "impact player" then I'm a Scandinavian beauty with great assets and a majority shareholding in Ikea.
Bringa på West Brom!