PROMOTION SPECIAL – The Hounds of Hull (City)

Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend, they’re also amongst the best and most fervent football fans. Hounds around the world have been showing their love for The Tigers since City clinched promotion, and we’re proud to showcase some of them…

AN Mike Carter

Mike Carter’s mutt is keen to show thanks to the Allam family as well as the Egyptian trio of Gedo, Fathi and Elmo.  Read more

AGAINST ALL ODDS: The promotion odds

againstallodds

“In the 2012/13 Championship season, which club went six points clear in second place with three games to go, yet failed to win promotion?”

That’s how quizmasters of the future will tantalise their audiences with a question whose answer everyone will instantly half-remember. It’ll only take a moment to come…the stunned expression of the fans on that night’s highlights. The distraught players. The inconsolable manager. It’s it’s…I’ll get it in a second…Hull City! And so those entrants into brainteasers yet to come will chuckle at the Devon Lochian collapse of a second tier football team in the past, and no-one will remember how a season of glittering promise unravelled at the end.

That sort of nightmarish scenario must have been tormenting more than a few minds in recent days, ever since City’s damaging draw against Bristol was compounded by Watford’s thumping, confidence-restoring victory at the weekend. Surely not? Surely we cannot throw this away? Yet no amount of logic can overcome the TypicalCity factor in our fractious minds.

What follows isn’t intended to make anyone feel better. But it’s worth taking a look at how the outside world, and in particular its bookmaking fraternity, view a race that sudden has two possible winners, yet one a several lengths clear with only two to jump.

For City are massive favourites to take second place. Massive. You won’t find anything better than 1/12 (BetVictor) on the Tigers finishing second, though the same odds are available (Bet365) on City being promoted by any means including the play-offs, if you want that insurance. Which we don’t.

We’re a whopping 8/1 to make the play-offs (Bet365) – contrast that to Watford, who are 1/14 (Bet365) They, incidentally, are tied with Brighton to win them (11/4 apiece, Bet365). The sheer improbability of City requiring them makes us the 25/1 (SkyBet) outsiders.

Much of this is because the bookies don’t seem to expect the race to last beyond this weekend. Anything short of victory for Watford at Leicester will probably do for them, yet they’re sturdy outsiders to win at the King Power Stadium. A Leicester win that’ll promote City is actually odds-on with most firms (Boylesports go evens), while Watford are 29/10 (BetVictor) to close to the gap to a point. They’re not fancied at all.

By contrast, City’s (theoretically) gentler assignment at Barnsley has them as favourites – 6/4 (Coral) is the best out there on a win that’ll guarantee promotion whatever the previous night brings, while a home win is as long as 11/5 (BetVictor).

Feeling better now?

No, thought not.

RESULT: Millwall 0-1 City

City grabbed a priceless win at Millwall this afternoon, emerging 1-0 victors over the Lions.

David Meyler gave City the lead after just 37 seconds with a sharp finish, and that proved to be the only goal of the game as an assured defensive performance – a unpunished Robbie Brady slip notwithstanding – ensured the win.

It keeps City third, level on goal difference with Leicester and a point ahead of Watford, over whom City have a game in hand. A whopping ten points now separates the Tigers from the team in seventh. Most importantly of all though, this result is a timely reminder of what a serious promotion prospect City remain, despite the recent blip. Full report to follow.

RESULT: City 1 Leyton Orient 1

An injury time header from Nick Proschwitz saved City from the annual ignominy of exiting the FA Cup at the hands of lower-ranked opposition and forced a replay at Brisbane Road.

The German centre forward nodded in Tom Cairney’s cross in the third minute of added time to level the scores after David Mooney had deservedly headed the League One side ahead from close range on 78 minutes.

The tie will now be replayed in ten days or so, an unnecessary addition to the fixture schedule but perhaps given the wholesale changes made by Steve Bruce, as well as City’s habit of being garbage in the cups against teams from lower divisions, a tricky second game in east London is as much as they deserve. Match report later.

RESULT: Blackpool 0-0 City

City drew 0-0 at Blackpool this afternoon. It was a game punctuated by a blustery wins and hampered by a dismal pitch, and in the end neither side did enough to win despite each forcing occasional chances.

City remain second in the Championship table. Match report later.

 

 

RESULT: City 2 Leeds 0

Second half goals from Corry Evans and David Meyler gave rampant City a joyous and comfortable win over an utterly inept Leeds side at the Circle.

The Tigers dominated the first half but couldn’t score, but quickly righted that wrong when Evans put away a lovely angled finish on 55 minutes.

Meyler, back after suspension and the continuation of his loan, headed the second three minutes later from a Robbie Brady corner.

Leeds were remarkably clueless, playing brutishly in the first half and vapidly in the second. Their large following was not pleased with either team or manager at the final whistle, judging by the gestures coming from the North Stand.

Still, they don’t matter. City have consolidated second place in the Championship and have ended an eventful 2012 on a great, great high. A jaunt to Blackpool on New Years Day completes the busy holiday season. Match report later.