It’s always a struggle when penning these match notes to come up with original new introductions which easily convey the rank awfulness of a Hull City performance, and I’ll admit I’m in trouble here so I won’t bother. Simply to say that last night’s performance was one of the worst seen in an Allam-induced wretched season – or indeed, many seasons – and it’s impossible to think of a babber first half than our shower of shit put in at the KCOM versus a limited yet confident and combative Millwall.
The evening started with bright news that Hernández returned on the bench after six long months out – oh how we’ve missed him – with two changes to the starting XI being Henriksen (trains well) and Grosicki (suddenly realising his World Cup place at stake), replacing Toral and Diomande.
In a less than half full KCOM the best run football club in the country carded:
Aina Dawson MacDonald Clark
Bowen Larsson Henriksen Grosicki
Millwall kicked-off and City immediately put the ball out for a throw-in. This was pegged down the line – Dawson missed a tackle on the left which seemed to draw the defence across – giving Lee Gregory plenty of time to backheel across the face of the City goal finding two ‘Wall free in space – Saville easily slotting home. 51 seconds, and the match was effectively over. It wasn’t so much that the team had momentarily switched off, it could be argued they hadn’t actually yet switched on. An unbelievable lack of concentration from a so-called professional football team. Dawson’s lunge completely threw the rest of the defence, whose positional sense was schoolboy standard.
On six minutes City played a stupid ball across their own penalty area, intercepted by Elliot whose shot was palmed wide by McGregor. Four minutes later another shot from the right – this time from Gregory – saw McGregor save well.
The only bright spot of an otherwise desolate half saw a good City interchange in midfield allowed Bowen the space to crash a volley against the bar. A chance! Irvine heads wide when he should have done better – but it’s generally extremely poor fare from City.
Just after the half hour Dawson slips on the halfway line allowing Elliot to break against MacDonald, but his shot is deflected wide for another visitor corner. The corner is chucked across and Jake Cooper loops a header into the top corner amongst virtually non-existent marking. This is abysmal.
For the rest of the first half City were not even as good as second best; Gregory and Elliot were tearing Dawson and MacDonald a new rectum each time they ventured in their direction, and the passive nature of the crowd suggested there was absolutely no confidence that this team of bottlers would turn it around.
You can’t imagine Adkins bawling anyone out, so I imagine the half-time team talk was sprinkled with positivity, meaningless statistics and instructions to “go out there and earn the right to play”, or some other bollocks.
Mazuch on for MacDonald on the restart, and the defence immediately looks more solid – although he always appears one tackle from a booking or a fight (or both).
Before the hour mark Wilson and Hernández come on for Grosicki and Irvine (not a player I would have subbed to be honest – Markus Henriksen I’m looking at you), and the City performance actually improves; Wilson’s dribblery seems to unnerve Millwall’s midfield lungers, and Hernández looks to be making intelligent runs into space.
With twelve to go, Wilson’s quick footwork sees him clattered, and the resultant free-kick is hit low behind the visiting defence to allow prowling Hernández to easily slam home at the far post from 6 yards. 1-2. Game on?
But the game fizzled out with plenty of City possession and no chances and Millwall recorded their fifth consecutive away win. Boos rang round the KCOM amongst the 8,000 desolate souls who remained to angrily gesticulate at the final whistle.
In the post-match press conference Adkins uncharacteristically hung MacDonald out to dry saying he could have subbed him in the first minute. What’s that going to do to the player, and the players in general? A sure sign he’s losing the team when public admonishments are all he’s got. Saturday’s team selection and response by those playing will be very interesting. As will the use of Hernández and, to a lesser extent, Wilson; after that performance they would both be shoe-ins to play but Adkins will have to be careful that he doesn’t bring Abel back too quickly. Gamble or stick?
In the first half Millwall won every ball in midfield. I’ll pick out Grosicki as one of the main culprits – as usual he looks interested going forward, but one we’re on the back foot his sprints turn to a disinterested gentle jog. Larsson was announced MoM and he did ok, as did Irvine but whose substitution baffled me.
So City’s long unbeaten home run stretching back to November is gone, destroying one of Adkins stock media replies when asked what makes his team good enough to stay up.
As we’ve seen all season this Hull City team are mentally weak, and any teams that come at us from the KO and score the first goal would probably see them home.
Favourable results from the other evening games meant the defeat wasn’t ultimately damaging in the league table, but it’s a dangerous game expecting the failings of others to preserve out Division Two status.
So to Saturday’s home match with Norwich where incredibly there are tickets still available in all stands. On last night’s performance you better get there early.