Things We Think We Think #233

TWTWT

1. Sometimes in a game led by one side, a comeback can feel possible – particularly if the lead is a solitary goal and plenty of time remains. And other times, it’s City trailing 0-1 at home to Southampton, where it felt as likely as Donald Trump becoming Pres…oh. Well, it felt decidedly improbable, anyway. In fact, it may be the single unlikeliest comeback we can recall when the deficit was just one. The gulf in class was embarrassing, the one-third-empty stadium was sullen and quiet and the only question was when Southampton were finally going to do the decent thing and put us out of our abject misery.

2. And within two crazy minutes, we levelled and then led, a lead we held until the end. We’ll come to the good bit shortly, but we cannot let that comeback mask a rotten first half. Southampton, a very capable side but not one of the division’s élite, commanded the game with a frankly humiliating ease. Brickbats to anyone who says you can ever score too early, but the comical simplicity with which the lead was presented to them probably made them think it was all over in after five minutes. Not a verdict we hurried to challenge at the time, but we’ll never understand why they chose not to exert themselves to get a truly decisive second goal; as it was, we were barely managing to be second best. It was a ugly, rotten first half.

3. And it didn’t rapidly improve either. Whatever Mike Phelan said at half-time did nothing to alter the pattern of play, which mostly involved City feebly scuffing about and Southampton knocking the ball about with relaxed comfort. With an hour gone, we were pining for the warmth of the pub.

4. Football, eh? Bloody hell. We do want to praise City for beating a side that’ll finish in the top half this season, so we’ll jubilantly note that when we did move into that unfathomably implausible lead, it was defended with the guts and tenacity we all so adored in the opening weeks of the season. From operating an open-door policy, our defence thrillingly resolved to repel all boarders, and in the end Southampton looked a little unsure about how to break us down.

5. Best of all, this enthralling finale re-engaged the crowd, who’d suffered in morose silence until that point. We needed this as much as the players and our league table predicament needed it. Too many weeks have passed since we’ve enjoyed mutual acclaim with the players at full-time.

6. David Marshall has had an unbearably tough start to his City career, and the jury remains out on his overall worth – however, he was excellent yesterday. Obviously blameless for the Saints’ penalty, he made several impressive saves to keep us in the game and then ensure we retained the lead. Confidence is key for any player, but doubly so for a keeper – he needed that.

7. What Sam Clucas didn’t need was another afternoon getting the run around at left back, and when the team sheet was announced it felt cruel of Mike Phelan to persist with him in that position. However Southampton didn’t follow Watford’s example of persistently attacking on the right wing, instead their attacks were largely through the middle. As a result Clucas faired okay, and even got to make some forays upfield. It was only in the last 20 minutes when Southampton targeted the right wing, and with Mason providing assistance to Clucas, we were able to weather that storm and hold on to the win.

8. The official crowd was announced as a little under 18,000, though in truth there cannot have been more than 16,000 souls in attendance. Every week, the swathes of empty seats stand as a rebuke to the disgusting Allam family and their policy of punishing Hull City supporters. How we long for their departure from this club.

9. Ehab, knowing less than nothing about football, recently crowed about the reduction in injured players, implicitly blaming Steve Bruce for them. With two more now on the sidelines, we wonder what this achingly dense individual has to say about them now?

10. One of them, Will Keane, has struggled to make a positive impact as a Hull City player, and it may be some time before he gets the chance again. It easy to forget, given his less than stellar start, that he was once considered one of the brightest prospects in the nation. The insta-judgement nature of a Twitter enabled world means he has been written off by some as ‘not Premier League quality’ after just 372 minutes of football in a City shirt. The club are unlikely to make such a rash decision after making a significant investment in the lad, and we wish him well during his recovery.

10a. Abel H. too, Get well soon.

6 replies
  1. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    #6 Weirdly I thought Marshall made more errors yesterday, along with his good saves, than I’ve seen yet. He spilled a shot first half that was in his grasp. Second half, when they got the corner that wasn’t and hit the bar from it, Marshall got himself completely lost coming out to punch and getting nowhere near it.
    #7 Clucas fared more than OK. He made the equaliser for Snodgrass, and stopped an equaliser for the Saints with a goal-line clearance. As big a contribution to the 3 points as anyone.

  2. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    Shit first half!
    Shit owners!
    Shit ref!
    At least the team improved second half!
    Onwards & upwards!

  3. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    40 years of watching City and I’m still confused about what happened yesterday and how we won it.
    Terrible first half and I pictured a City 0v5 Southampton scoreline.
    This wins gives us a chance to regroup and hopefully continue our dominance over Sunderland.
    The waves of empty seats simply illustrate the disconnect between club owners and supporters.
    Really sad as those dividing issues could so easily be remedied.
    The sooner the club is sold the better and it needs to happen soon.
    #UTT

  4. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Jimmy Weekly – Marshall did make a few mistakes but more than made up for them late on.
    Completely agree, re: Clucas, who for me is so fat (very early days ) player of the season.
    Did Henrikkson even have a touch?
    Thought Elmo was okay.
    Snodgrass fantastic attitude.

  5. HempholmeTigers
    HempholmeTigers says:

    talking of fat (Bill’s typo (I assume!)) – Harry looks to be carrying a few pounds extra…
    What a glorious relief yesterday – and the crowd’s reaction was almost as if we’d won the league title. You’re right, we SO needed that.
    More of same (2nd half only) please.

  6. JohnK
    JohnK says:

    So my best friend was on a plane from New York to Phoenix that took off just about kick off time. I promised to send him a text commentary so that when the plane landed he would have a blow by blow account of the game as I watched it live on TV. When he did finally land in Phoenix he text me back thanking me for the commentary and putting him through just about every emotion known to the Hull City supporting fan.
    I don’t know much if anything about football team management but the question I have been asking myself, both during the first half yesterday and the previous 6 games, what happened to the competitive never say die spirit that was so evident in the first few games of the season but completely lacking after that and up until to about 60 minutes or so during yesterday’s game?
    Snodgrass received all the plaudits yesterday, although for me Dawson was by far the MOTM, but please could somebody tell me what happened to Snodgrass in the previous 4 or 5 games he played in? At best he was a passenger. Where did yesterday’s motivation come from?
    While I would not wish an injury on any player, MP needed to be given a reason not to start with Keene. In our system at least he looked out of his depth. So pleased that Mbokani got a run out although I am very disappointed about Hernandez. I have wanted to see Hernandez and Mbokani given a few games up front together.
    You are so right about the importance of the win yesterday, can you believe we are just 3 points from mid table!!

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