Hull City 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
The 4-5-1/4-3-3 worked very well, in particular because Elliott, Fagan and Forster worked their socks off and we showed a bit more quality in several areas, most noticeably on the right wing/forward and from Marney in the midfield. I did suggest that maybe it'd be worth the other 10 carrying Elliott to try and get his goals into the side, but that's totally unfair to Stuey, because he doesn't need carrying. He worked back and forward, he put in crunching tackles and supported Ricketts well. At the other end, he threatened occasionally and knocked in a goal. The second goal was a thing of real beauty, Marney picked up in midfield, held the ball up, chipped a great ball down the wing for Fagan, he reached it, skinned the defender, dribbled along the bye line and then slid in Elliott to tap in. Brilliant!
Wolves weren't very good. Their only real threat came from a City error. Turner dallied on a loose ball and let in the nippy Johnson. Turner pulled and pushed at Johnson as he went towards goal allowing Boaz to come out and make a good save. It should probably have been a penalty, although credit due to Johnson who stayed on his feet to try and score a goal. Apart from that and a couple of decent corners, they didn't threaten. Also aside from that incident, our defence barely put a foot wrong. Mills showed all his experience and was rarely flustered, winning several key headers and interceptions. In the second half, as Wolves pushed on down the wings, he was quite disappointing, showing his hand and been beaten easily when he should have stood up. Coles is a bloody marvel, he's cool, calm and confident. He doesn't miss a header and he makes great blocks and tackles. He was the skipper and lead by example. Turner had a good game against the physical Carl Cort. He certainly knows where 'Row Z' is. The saying "if in doubt ...." could have been written for him. Ricketts completed a good day for the back 5. He was excellent, he's a tremendous athlete, strong tackler and a good physical presence. He's getting better every week. It's harsh on Dawson, but you can't argue with the manager because this back four looks very good together.
The 5 in midfield worked very well. We didn't dominate the midfield, because Wolves had lots of the ball and passed it well, but we broke up a lot of play and they rarely got past Jarrett with the ball. Delaney and Jarrett made plenty of tackles and used the ball very well on most occasions. They were ably assisted by Marney who chased and harried off the ball and passed it superbly. Easily the best I've seen of him. Out wide, Elliott and Fagan were very effective at both ends. They didn't waste the ball, they kept things simple and attacked the full-backs and the centre backs on occasion. Fagan was a million times better than Sunderland because he produced something. We all know he's got a trick and a turn of pace, but he used it to maximum effect and showed that if he uses all of his ability and channels it into a performance like that, you can't leave him out.
Up front, Parkin won a couple of headers and hit a great shot on the turn but he got hurt before he really got started, he looked in a menacing mood. Here's hoping it's not serious because we need his presence and his goals. Forster worked very hard and tried his best to occupy 4 defenders, particularly after half time when Fagan and Elliott were struggling to get forward as much as they had. 'Fozzy' did a great job and stopped Wolves having free reign to play from the back.
It was a very good performance. It wasn't stylish, silky football, but it was very effective. Everyone worked hard, concentrated, closed down and showed massive commitment to the cause. When we had the ball, we passed efficiently and got forward in good numbers, with the front 3 and Marney proving mobile, quick and hard to deal with. After Sunderland, we didn't look like a team that could stay up but the players have worked hard over the 3 games and are gelling into the new system with great results so far. Here's hoping we keep it up.
Last word for the referee, Mr Rennie. It's easier to criticise when you've won because it's not out of bitterness. The guy is an absolute joke. He has no authority over the game. He gives random decisions, shows no consistency and doesn't seem to realise that a pass to a full-back isn't an advantage but being clean through on goal is. If I never see his tubby frame at a City game again, I'll be very happy.
Bring on Stoke.