Millwall 0-1 Hull City ~ Match Musings

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After the nonsensical faux excitement that is the January transfer window, once again our fickle fans are left apoplectic with rage that we haven’t signed anyone of note (actually, strike that thought, we didn’t sign anyone of note or anything else) but to this seasoned hack, it is all just smoke and mirrors for greedy agents and cagey players looking for a move and has no real interest for me at all. Rob Hulse finally arriving (albeit on loan) some three years after Mr Jackett showed an interest in his signature.

Kenny Jackett plays the game as much as the next manager and don’t be surprised if a couple of more loan signings turn up next week when the loan embargo is lifted and the players that he has really been tracking turn up.

And judging by the performance against Hull, the sooner the better?

We went into this game with mixed feelings, the euphoria of the Villa victory in the cup slightly negated by the mid-week defeat at relegation threatened Barnsley, giving us the reality check that seemed to have gone AWOL of late.

We settled down in time to hear bye fer now Les read out the team list and there was a lot of staring into mioddle distance from a lot of the paltry 9,000 odd brave souls who had turned up to witness this game. It seemed that Mr Jackett had once again performed one of his “tactical formation” type of selections. Now clearly this was because of his complete balls up the last time we played Hull when he went for a sort of 3-1-2-1-3 at their place and we were lucky to get out with just four goals shipped in but it did seem a bit incredulous that he would send out a team to play against a promotion chasing side with a 4-5-1 that had inexperienced John Marquis as the poor sap left in isolation up front?

The full line up was Forde in goal, Lowry, Beevers, Shittu and Smith A at the back, Henry, Abdou, Wright, Trotter and Woolford in the packed midfield leaving the aforementioned sap up front.

So, referee Tierney got the game going and for a full 30 seconds we were in complete control and then Beevers made a blind back pass that Meyers gleefully collected and slotted past the stricken David Forde. 0-1.

Fucking blinding start…the only plus was that we had the full 90 minutes plus stoppage time left to get back into the game…it wasn’t enough time though

Mr Jackett’s game plan of packing the midfield and hitting the ball to the lonely Marquis was causing Hull no problems whatsoever. Strawberry head Steve Bruce must’ve been laughing like a drain at our tactics as Hull simply went through the motions of training ground defensive strategies and we went through hell.
A forlorn shout for a penalty was nullified when the ref pointed to the outside of the box as Henry was clattered and the resulting free kick, as you might expect, came to nothing.

Hull nearly doubled their lead when again we were caught napping but his ambitious volley flew just wide off the mark, much to our relief. Marquis, bless him, was giving a robust performance but he was never going to be a match for the experienced Hull defence.

Hull seemed happy with the way the game was being played and this did give rise to a couple of half chances for us, both actually coming from Woolford, the first was a deft back heel that almost caught their ‘keeper napping and then a rather ambitious scissor type kick that went wide.

The end of the half couldn’t come quick enough as the wind chill factor was taking its toll on the hardy few who had bothered to show up for this inept performance. As the whistle went the boo’s and insults were echoing all around the place as the crowd showed their disappointment in the time honoured fashion.

So, the second half saw us finally revert to a more acceptable formation of 4-4-2 but instead of leaving the unfortunate Marquis on and give him a partner, Mr Jackett took the lad off and sent on Hulse and Keogh, Wright being the midfielder who was replaced.

Did it make a difference? Nah, not really, we went straight into desperation mode, far too often just pumping long balls towards Hulse (who, to be fair, won most of the headers) in the vain hope that a knock down to Keogh might reap some sort of reward but it never materialised.

Adam Smith was, for me, a beacon of brilliance in an otherwise very dull game, his prowess as a right back will surely be picked up by the bigger boys at the season’s end and Spurs will either bring him into their fold or flog him for silly money to a newly promoted club.

James Henry was our other plus point in the second half, he hampered ahead of Smith and was causing them a bit of a problem and the pacey winger really doesn’t need me to scribble down that he had the golden chance of the game to level the scores when in a reasonable facsimile of the Hull goal he raced unimpeded towards their goal after dispossessing a Hull defender but as he took aim for a certain equaliser the ball took a bobble and he shinned it over the bar.

Henry again came close with a decent low shot that Stockdale in the Hull goal did very well to get down and save but it was a very small piece of excitement in an otherwise drab affair.

It was becoming laboured and samey and there was no discernible rhyme or reason to our play, it just looked like we were continually improvising and although Hull never really threatened our goal again (except late on when Forde made a splendid save to enhance his prospects for the Irish squad), we never really looked like getting the equaliser.

Probably the strangest decision all afternoon was Mr Jackett bringing on N’Guessan for Woolford on the 90 minute mark for reasons best known to Mr Jackett and I don’t think the poor sod even touched the ball.

All in all it was a very drab affair, we were left wanting and we looked like a team in free fall. I am not suggesting for one minute we will get sucked into an end of season relegation scrap but I think our season is virtually over now as far as our playoff aspirations might go.

FA Cup is our only saving grace now for a bit of fun and entertainment but having said that I have just remembered we are off to Blackpool next week end so it is not all doom and gloom just yet…

"An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told". - (King Richard III, Act IV, Scene IV).
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    Depressed after reading what you thought even more depressed it really was that bad wasn't it