MATCH REPORT: City 1 Aston Villa 3

AdkinsN2Was it nice to be back at the KCOM Stadium for one of the warmest nights of football I’ve ever seen in this country? To welcome Aston Villa to our 2/3 empty mausoleum? Eh, no.

Villa have had a torrid few months since their play-off final loss but already have new owners, a squad full of very good footballers and an experienced manager and are making plans to spend big money on new arrivals. Meanwhile City are 4 years into the Allam nightmare and showing no signs of waking up.

This game was never going to define our season but unfortunately did expose many of the weaknesses that everyone already knew we had. It’s going to be a tough old campaign until those weaknesses are overcome by the players learning and learning quickly. I wouldn’t say that the bubble of optimism has burst because, honestly, I don’t think there was any in the first place.

The City players started the game well and lead early on when the Villa keeper, Steer, could only punch a free kick to Evandro and he somehow lobbed it into the corner with Villa defenders looking up into the bright sky accusingly [1-0]. It was lovely that the goal came during a minute’s applause for Stanley Metcalf, the young fan sadly killed recently at just seven years old.

Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long as Tommy Elphick headed in unchallenged by Jordy De Wijs at the far post – exposing the city back line and not for the only time in the game [1-1].

That back four contained three new signings and you could almost make that four with Stephen Kingsley, who played so little football last season. Burke and De Wijs did work hard together to try and build understanding and some of the basics were there in their positioning and work off the ball to manage Kodjia but De Wijs is a big clumsy oaf with the finesse of a bulldozer who is far less capable a footballer than he thinks he is. Lichaj had a very solid game right back but Kingsley made Elmo look like the sprightly flying wing he was about 5 years ago. Some City fans weren’t fussed by Max Clark’s departure. Idiots.

Despite Villa shading possession for the rest of the hald, City created the best chance when Campbell slid Bowen in behind but Steer was quick off his line and smothered. That was about as good as it got at either end. City went into the break having looked comfortable and having played some neat football particularly through the classy Evandro, Batty and Todd Kane. Kane was a very lively although neutered by playing on the left. Evandro is just head and shoulders above the rest of ours. He’ll take possession of the ball anywhere, under any pressure and look after it. The others need to follow his lead, particularly Henriksen who disappointed.

The second half followed a very similar pattern for the opening quarter of an hour with Villa dominating the ball but City offering occasional threat on the counter attack. Sadly mistakes began to creep into our performance with De Wijs failing to control the ball on a couple of occasions- presenting it to them – and then Henriksen racing towards his own goal in a flutter and being very lucky to avoid gifting them a goal.

Just after City made changes to try and take the game to Villa with the arrival of another debutant in David Milinkovic and Nouha Dicko for Todd Kane and Fraizer Campbell, Villa were gifted a lead. David Marshall chipped a goal kick straight to Elmo and he slotted the ball into the bottom corner [1-2].

It gets harder and harder to defend Marshall whose City career has been a disaster since day one and this was another calamitous episode. The guy is absolutely cursed, I’m  convinced. It’s hard to see how he can possibly turn around such a faltering career here. It’s sad because the guy has been a fantastic goalkeeper at times in his career but we’ve never seen it. It’s also extra frustrating because City matched Villa, for all their “names”, to that point with some comfort. Individual errors have crippled us for the best part of three years now. Something has to change.

However, conceding 2 abysmal goals was not enough for City so of course the defence stood and watched as Alan Hutton of all people ran through our defence like Maradona breaking apart Reid, Butcher and Co in Mexico and slipped the ball beyond Marshall (who was present in body but not mind after his gaffe) [1-3].

There was no coming back from that. You cannot concede such pathetic goals at this level and expect to get anything out of games. Milinkovic put in a spirited performance but the game had long gone.

Positives: Evandro is our brightest hope. Batty was assured. Kane is lively. Lichaj had a very solid game. Burke shows promise. Campbell was better than he’s been all pre-season. Milinkovic was bright. Not every team has individuals the quality of Villa.

Negatives: We already look like we need to make changes when chopping and changing killed us last season. Marshall already. Kingsley has never shown anything. De Wijs is nowhere near. There is no sign of the 2/3 more signings we clearly need.

We should have stayed in the Gemmell.

Rick Skelton (via Tiger Chat)

14 replies
  1. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    When you let Alan Hutton score ( second goal in seven years I hear ) your defence isn’t, just stick a leg out. Enjoyed the first half, but the game lasts 90 minutes unfortunately City couldn’t, hope springs eternal,COMEONUUUULLLL !!

  2. Richard pearson
    Richard pearson says:

    A fair summary if perhaps a little harsh at this stage.For a team who have never played a serious game together I thought the result was likely but not to 1-3 which was entirely our own fault(s). I’d give them a couple of games against lesser quality opponents before pushing the panic button. I actually left the stadium with a glimmer of hope….more than I did in May. Am I totally alone?

  3. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    How Henriksen keeps his place is beyond me, and as captain??? He must be a close Nordic relative of Adkins, there’s no other explanation. He can’t tackle to save his life, just sticks his leg out hopefully and usually fouls his man because his timing is that of a one legged ostrich. De Wijs managed to place every clearance unerringly at a Villa player and if he’d been wearing a blue and claret shirt he would have been their best player. Burke, Kane, Bowen, Lichaj, Batty and Evandro all played well and we actually created more chances than Villa, hell we even created their chances! They never looked like scoring until De Wijs stood and admired Elphick’s header, Marshall took the worst goal kick I’ve ever seen and the entire defence combined to stand around watching as Hutton strolled past them and rolled the ball into the net. I’ve never heard an explanation as to why City paid 4 million pounds plus add ons for Stewart who can’t get a game because he’s fucking useless but I don’t hold out much hope of any new and better signings before Thursday. No doubt the squad will be padded out with a couple of loaners, Adkins will keep that inane grin plastered on his face as we become rooted in the bottom three and Ehab will pocket thirty odd million pounds parachute money as he swans around in his Lamborghini. I haven’t cancelled my membership yet but I fully understand why so many have.

  4. Waggy10
    Waggy10 says:

    Up until 60 minutes we pretty much matched Villa and had passages of play that were pleasing but FFS we have to stop gifting other teams goals. We must be the only team in the division that week in and week out present two or three howlers. Marshall for me looks a shadow of himself and desperately needs a good run of games but I just don’t see it, he gives me and the team no confidence at all, never comes for a cross and appears to have been born without any vocal chords.
    Ehabs feet were seen sticking out the top of a Lidl dumpster in Willerby yesterday, he hasn’t worked out after all the years that sell by date loans and bargains are cheap for a reason. Is he going to surprise us? Well he hasn’t so far. The attendance was testimony to all thats wrong with the club. It could’ve of been all so different.

  5. haltemprice tiger
    haltemprice tiger says:

    I notice that there has not been an announcement anywhere I have seen of last night’s attendance. No announcement in the ground, no announcement on the OWS and nothing in the press.
    Are the Allam’s now that embarrassed by the number of fans that have deserted the club, thanks to their mismanagement and lies, they cannot publish the attendances for home games?
    For what it is worth, I reckon there were no more than 12,000 at last night’s game, and that includes the full contingent of Villa fans.

  6. Kirk
    Kirk says:

    De Wijs looked the worst centre back since Sonko. Hopefully it was just a bad night for him.

    Looked good going forward, there was a lot of good play from the likes of Evandro, Batty, Bowen, Campbell and should create chances. Henriksen is the weak link in midfield, he seems to be captain by default because we don’t have anyone else but he was wasteful every time he had the ball.

  7. Dave
    Dave says:

    I don’t want to sound like I’m Marshall bashing here, but the mistakes he made were shocking. I also worry about his distribution full stop, a wicked curl to the left every time he kicked the ball. Let’s hope it’s a one off in a glorious campaign for the lad – but right now, I just don’t see it.

    The trouble with a keeper and a back 4 that make mistakes, is the odd mistake doesn’t matter, when you have a strike force smashing in goals for fun, but we don’t. So every mistake made, costs, be it a point from a draw or 2 points from a slender lead. We desperately need a proven goal scorer and we know those aren’t cheap – so it ain’t going to happen.

    Sure, we’re only one game in, and sure its a fresh team… but lets be honest here, should any team really be convincing themselves that it’s OK to concede 3 goal in a home game??, No. Doesn’t matter the league or the competition conceding that many goals, just isn’t good enough.

    Last year I was predicting worse to come this year, and sadly I don’t feel like I can change that opinion just yet – really hope I’m wrong. So whilst I’ll always support the lads, at the ground or on the radio, I just feel at this moment in time League One beckons.

  8. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Before this game I was reckoning we needed 3/4 signings…a LB, 1/2 strikers and a defensive midfielder, which I’d hoped Stewart might become. Seemingly no sign there. Perhaps Fleming or Kane could cover the LB slot too..? I was encouraged by some rumours of Transfer interest but that all seems to have died out now, and this result shows that it really shouldn’t!
    Adkins made errors in this team selection IMO. Two young centre backs…no. Macdonald should have been in for the dutchman. H as captain!!? Irvine needed ASAP. The subs were just plain wrong.
    I’m surprised there was no comment about Marshall failing with the goal at Barnsley. That young defence so needed a dominant GK.
    One reason for poor results for several years has been due to our midfield. Too easy to get through… Couple with missed chances, you get results like this. However, until the scales drop from Adkins eyes, I’m not hopeful. He seems to see a different GK, CB and Mfielder to me. You can’t have 3 passengers. Incidentally…never seen such a big gap between the back line and midfield as there was in the second half v Newcastle! Lot of work needed on the training field.

  9. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    @Richard Pearson, it’s true that City started the game brightly and provided almost all of the goalmouth action in the first half, we looked a better team than Villa for most of the game but apart from Evandro’s fluky effort only Bowen really looked like scoring. However, the way that the defence fell apart was not pretty to watch, Burke looked impressive and distributed the ball well out of defence but De Wijs was simply hopeless and a liability. I’m not a huge fan of McDonald but he should play if he’s fit and Irvine has to come in at the expense of Henriksen, of course that won’t happen because Adkins thinks he’s wonderful for some unknown reason. Unless the defence is tightened up we will struggle to stay out of the bottom three and without a decent striker to take some of the load off Bowen we won’t score many either. We paid 3 million pounds for Dicko If I remember correctly which looks to have been a waste of money and now Ehaw balks at 1.5 million for Oliver Norwood who would do a very good job for us as a midfielder who scores a few goals. Leeds will probably pay the peanuts that Brighton are asking unfortunately.

  10. haltemprice tiger
    haltemprice tiger says:

    City are a broken club that cannot be fixed until the Allams have fucked off and that will not happen until they have trousered all the parachute payments and other possible significant income streams (eg. sell on clause for Maguire). They certainly have no intention of investing in the future of the club.

  11. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    I’ve said this before but I seriously doubt that the Allams will find a buyer for Hull City unless they pay down the debt which is currently around 80 million pounds. Ellis Short tried to sell Sunderland with 137 million debt and then offered to give the club to anyone who would pay it off. He finally paid off the entire debt and gave the club to a consortium of investors. We all want the Allams out but it’s not that simple unless someone is willing to put a lot of money down for a club with no ground and very few saleable players left.

  12. Cheshire Tiger
    Cheshire Tiger says:

    I feel your frustration, and agree with your analysis.

    Sad to see so few fans in the ground. Sign of the times I suppose.

    The one redeeming feature for city is that we are producing good youngsters, and I hope it continues because it’s more exciting to see the likes of Tom Cairney and other ex tigers playing well, than it is to go down the circle and watch that disconnected s**t.

    Good article.

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