A Flat Afternoon in Hull

The bell was pressed

When the fixtures came out and I saw that we had consecutive away games at Hull and Sunderland, I decided that I would use the opportunity to take a road trip to North Yorkshire and Northumberland.  The start of the trip was intended to be in Hull on Saturday until Ian Prowse announced his tour and we found that he was playing in Leeds on Friday night, so we booked tickets, and it was decided that I would spend Friday and Saturday night in Bradford.  Sadly, Jacque, who was supposed to be my travelling companion had a nasty cold so decided not to make the trip.  The gig was amazing, and I was still buzzing when I woke on Saturday morning to make the trip to Hull.  We made good time and were in the designated pre-match pub at midday.  It is a cracking venue that had been recommended by a Hull supporting colleague of Andy.  Said colleague joined us and the Happy Valleys for a pre-match drink so we were able to thank him in person for the recommendation.  There was a welcome appearance by John Clayton, who was on very good form indeed.  He had noticed a bell by the table labelled “Ring for Table Service” so did as he was told.  The waitress arrived with the opening gambit, “Do you want beer or are you just being annoying?”  When told that beer was indeed required, it was very quickly delivered.  On the page, that makes it appear that the bar staff were rude, they were actually absolutely delightful and a lot of fun.  The icing on the cake was that they had a discount for over 65s (which included beer), so the seniors in the group were very happy indeed.

We headed for the ground at the appointed hour and had a lovely walk in the sunshine.  It would all be downhill from that point on.

Team news was that Wilder had made three changes from the Cardiff game with Kabasele, Bacuna and Sema coming in for Hoedt, Choudhury and Davis.  So, the starting line-up was Bachmann; Kamara, Kabasele, Porteous, Andrews; Sema, Koné, Bacuna, Louza, Sarr; João Pedro.  Ozan Tufan was starting for the home side.  His name was booed by the travelling Hornets.

The Hornets had the first chance of the game when João Pedro broke into the box and passed to Andrews, his effort was blocked, and the ball fell to João Pedro whose shot cleared the bar.  When the Hornets won their first corner, there was a plea from someone behind me to Louza, “Beat the first man!”  He did, but João Pedro headed wide.  The first chance for the home side came after a terrible ball from Louza was picked up by Allahyar whose cross flashed across the goal, but no Hull player was there to apply the finishing touch.  The next chance for the home side came as a Hull free kick was played short to Seri, he crossed to the back post for Elder whose flying header was wide of the target. 

Louza takes a free kick

The Hornets had several chances to clear the ball in the next attack by the home side, Andrews tried to make up for an earlier mistake and ended up felling Slater in the box prompting the referee to point to the spot.  Needless to say, it was Tufan who stepped up to take the penalty.  He sent Bachmann the wrong way and the home side took the lead from their first shot of the game.  The Hornets tried to hit back as a free kick from Koné dropped to Sarr but his shot was blocked.  Then a poor header from McLaughlin, intended for Darlow, was intercepted by João Pedro whose chip flew over the bar.  The Hornets threatened again and Sema did very well to battle past a defender to get to the by-line, he played the ball back to João Pedro who played a back heel to Koné whose shot was high and wide.  Then Louza broke forward and was tackled on the edge of the Hull box, the ball fell to João Pedro whose shot was caught by the Hull keeper, Darlow.  The travelling Hornets had not had much to cheer, so this effort was greeted with a chorus of “We’ve had a shot.”  There was then a lovely exchange of passes between Sarr and Louza, the resultant shot was blocked, but the flag was up for offside anyway.  The half time whistle went on what had been a very poor first half that was summed up by a fan behind me who commented that he couldn’t be bothered to boo.

Bacuna breaks forward

Wilder made a change at the break bringing Davis on in place of Bacuna.  The first chance of the second half fell to the Hornets as Davis played a ball to the back post that Kamara could only poke wide.  On the hour mark, a Louza free kick was headed over by João Pedro.  There were shouts for a penalty by the travelling Hornets as a cross from João Pedro appeared to be stopped by a hand, but the referee was unmoved.  Then Andrews played the ball out to Sarr on the right, he crossed to the back post, but there was nobody there.  Sema went on another great run to reach the by-line, he crossed for Davis, but the defence cleared for a corner.  At the other end, Elder went on a great run which finished with a shot that went out for a throw-in, which summed up the quality of this encounter.  With 20 minutes remaining, the home side made a double substitution with Docherty and Ebiowei coming on in place of Traoré and Allahyar.  The Watford players were getting increasingly frustrated as the game went on and Louza was booked for kicking the ball away.  Each side made late changes with Asprilla coming on in place of Koné for the Hornets and Tufan and Seri making way for Pelkas and Simons for the home side.  Tufan left the field to cheers from the home crowd and boos from the away section. 

Challenging at a corner

The Hornets had a chance to level the game from a Louza free kick, Davis played the ball back to Asprilla who moved it on to Kabasele whose shot was blocked.  Tempers flared after João Pedro fouled Vaughn.  There was a bit of afters with Eboiwei who collapsed to the floor although, from the vantage point in the away end, it appeared that the Hull man was play-acting.  Both men found their way into the referee’s book.  The Hornets attacked through Andrews who went on a surging run and crossed into a void, but there was a spontaneous burst of applause from the away fans who were desperate to see their team do something positive.  The Hornets had a great chance to draw level when a lovely ball from Davis released Sarr who tried to chip the keeper, but Darlow just managed to get his fingertips to the ball to push it clear.  The resultant corner was headed wide by João Pedro.  There was a late substitution from the home side to waste some time as Vaughn made way for Woods.  The Hornets continued to seek the equaliser as João Pedro crossed for Davis who touched the ball back to Sarr whose shot was blocked, but the flag was up for offside anyway.  There was one final chance for the Hornets to salvage a point as Sarr played the ball back to Sema whose shot from distance was well over to the bar, much to the frustration of his colleagues in the box who were waiting for a cross.  So, the final whistle went on yet another poor defeat.

Porteous and Tufan

I was surprised at the number of people who applauded the team at the end, although there were also a good number venting their spleen.  Most of the players kept their distance from the fans, but Kamara came over, only to be greeted by people screaming abuse at him.  One particular young lad was really exercised, to the bafflement of David from Tadcaster who tried to reason with him, although it was to no avail.  I must say that the actions of that lad convinced me to applaud Hassane.  Nobody could tell me that he doesn’t care.

It had been another terrible game.  Hull were abysmal, they had two shots on goal all afternoon and the only one on target was the penalty.  But they still beat us.  Darlow did have to make a couple of saves, but I never felt that we would get anything out of the game.  To get the match out of our heads as soon as possible, we headed straight back to Bradford and had a lovely dinner, a couple of glasses of wine and watched a Victoria Wood show, followed by Carole King in concert, both of which brought smiles back to our faces.

We are finally out of contention for the play-offs, and it is a relief.  Only two games to go.  We can do this!

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