Hull City 1-0 Coventry City
The first half was a complete non-event. Bryan Hughes jinked his way past 3 defenders and shot tamely early on, Myhill produced a decent save to deny Misfud and Osbourne somehow escaped a red card when he lost the ball to Campbell and then pulled him down when he would have been through on goal. Campbell was 40 yards out, that's about the only reason I can come up with for it being a yellow card instead of a red one. There certainly wasn't another defender who was going to catch him. It was a cynical foul, the sort that brought about the 'professional foul' rule. That was it for 45 minutes.
The second half wasn't much better. Myhill made two more good stops from long range efforts, Campbell had a goal ruled out for offside and Barmby and Windass both missed good chances because they missed the ball all together.
We started sluggishly and never got any better. Coventry were your clichéd "well organised" defensive outfit, who had 4 midfielders looking to close any space and we weren't good enough to break them down. Our passing was appalling in the first half. Marney was chief culprit, closely followed by Walton, who signed in such a hurry that he didn't check which team he was on. We never got into any rhythm at all in the first half, the ball flew through the air, no-one was brave enough to pull it down and play and the ball seemed to bounce off us. Every time we'd skip past someone, the next touch would be heavy, or the next pass would be under-hit. We were really poor. Turner, Brown and Hughes were probably the exceptions. Turner's passing was as bad as everyone else's, but he dealt well with the threat from Misfud and big Dele Adebola, who gave Leon Cort a few nightmares the season before last. Misfud out stripped Turner in their first altercation, I thought Turner should have been more pro-active and pushed Misfud out towards the touchline. After that, he barely got a sniff. We've struggled against pace in a few games this season, but Cov never had anyone in the middle who could play the right pass and Brown and Turner were excellent positionally. Hughes looked like the only player who could find a guy in the same coloured strip.
Browny changed things early in the second half, removing Marney who was invisible for two thirds of the time and rotten for the rest, putting Barmby wide and moving Hughes into the middle. Barmby didn't give us anything extra but Hughes did well in the middle and had a calming effect on Walton, who started to play it simpler. To be fair to him, he covered a lot of ground and made a couple of crucial interceptions. He was always going to struggle after the day he's had. Once we introduced Folan, we looked a better bet. Folan put pressure on the defenders and gave them a hard time. We weren't anywhere near the level we played at against West Brom, but we started to build up a head of steam. When Barmby swiped at thin air and Campbell was caught offside twice, we looked like we'd settled for a point. Then Folan gambled on a long ball, took advantage of a defensive slip and lobbed the advancing 'keeper, in off the post.
Myhill had a strong game. He came and dealt with crosses and made 3 good saves. He could've collected a ball Turner was shepherding back and he missed a pair of chances to throw quickly to Garcia, but he was otherwise excellent. The full backs were quiet, though Ricketts got forward more in the second half but was clobbered every time he beat his oppo.
Garcia had a quiet game too by his recent standards. He covered Ricketts well but had no effect going forward. No-one really got the ball down, so the midfield failed to create anything. Pederson came on for the last 20 minutes. He got stuck in and put one good cross in that no-one reacted to. As good as Hughes has been out wide, we did have a nice balance with Pederson wide and Hughesy in the middle. With Ashbee's combative streak, it'd make a strong midfield four.
Up front, Windass and Campbell failed to make anything of the poor service. They were beaten in the air. We didn't threaten until Folan was introduced. Coventry defended well, but we were uninventive. We didn't get in enough crosses and we struggled to find a quality through ball. I agree with Phil Brown's post-match comment on KCFM, I thought we looked fitter and sharper in the last 10 minutes.
Coventry were poor opposition. They have good players, but they make a rotten team. They were unambitious and unfit. The support, if you could call it that, was pathetic. Cambridge were the last team to bring so few fans to the KC. They sang "We're going to Wembley". I hope they take more than one bus load, or else it'll be awfully empty.
In a game that poor, the only comfort is to take three points. It's a long time since we played poorly and ground out a win. We're now entering February 10 points off the top of the Championship with a game in hand. Say that out loud, it's great!
Ratings: Myhill 7, Ricketts 6, Dawson 6, Turner 7, Brown 7, Garcia 6 (Pederson), Hughes 8, Walton 6, Marney 5 (Barmby), Windass 5 (Folan), Campbell 6.