To Hull and back…

Chambers: Missed the best chance in an impressive Reds second half

Hull City – 0
Nottingham Forest – 0

Wouldn’t have been unhappy with a draw before the game – nor at half time, after a fairly drab first half where Hull had all the possession but seemed to utilise it everywhere but the final third and a few potshots from range, but after a much improved second half I think we can feel justifiably a little bit unlucky not to have nicked a win.

I’m going to stand by my generic-stadium comment from the preview, it’s slightly more interesting than many flatpack bowls thanks to the bulge and extra tier but, well, it’s not that different.  A decent enough ground, though – and it appears to have sun-lamps built into the roof, presumably a throwback to Phil Brown’s time in charge!  The home fans to our left were reasonably noisy which was good for banter, much like any fans (ours included) the noise levels correlated with their team’s performance.

Billy mixed up the squad a bit for this, and it took me post-match reflecting to realise that it probably worked – letting Hull have not particularly dangerous possession in the first half whilst going for it in the second, but must confess that at the time it raised a few eyebrows.. of course, the late change for Wilson was enforced:

Camp
Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Bertrand
Cohen    McKenna    Moussi    McGugan    Anderson
Earnshaw

A tough ask of Earnie, to operate as a lone frontman against the giants Gerrard and Ayala! At first I thought Lewis was designed to be a support upfront but he seemed to spend a fair bit of time on Bullard, the talismanic midfielder operating fairly deep most of the time for the home side.

That said, we weren’t exactly denying him space – he had the first chance from 30 odd yards which Camp had to touch over just to make sure at the expense of a corner, it was probably the best hit he would make all game though!  A rare move forward for Forest saw Bertrand fire just wide when unmarked.

The Reds were sketchy in possession, Cohen spooned a clearance which fell to Bostock who set himself up for a spectacular effort from the edge of the area – but he put it wide.  The Reds got a bit closer after Earnie was tripped by Bullard, the resulting freekick was hit by Lewis but was just wide – and looked to be well covered by the diving Duke.

Hull were retaining a lot of possession – they must’ve had a move that had about 30 odd passes in it (mostly between defenders and deep-sitting midfielders admittedly), which culminated in a shot on target, which let the move down as it was a soft one from Bostock which was very straightforward save for Lee Camp to make.

After this the game descended into something approximating chess, but without the excitement.  It wasn’t that Forest were playing badly, but this was definitely a side set out to limit damage from the home side rather than be reckless, and it did cause some chuntering in the away end – but as we’ve learned with Forest, it is very much a game of two halves!  There were signs we’d started to work out we had more midfielders than them, and we were working out how to get through them.

Whether it was due to a criticism of their first half lack of endeavour or a deliberate change of tactic from Billy (I suspect the latter), the Reds were a very different beast in the second half – initially without creating any direct chances, before a cracking corner from McGugan gave Chambers a free header, from four yards out – it was a banker really – he put it wide.  Gutted.  That was the chance.  Ayala – otherwise fairly flawless in his performance – totally lost Chambers who made a great run, got the space… and fluffed his header.  D’oh!

Earnie too came close with a difficult header from a McKenna cross, the ball again ending up the wrong side of the post from our perspective.  Hull changed their shape either by design or to try to nullify the more rampant Reds with two chances, but it didn’t really seem to make too much different as Forest continued to press.

And we thought the moment had finally come – Earnie latched onto the ball, burst clear of the defender and looked to have let Duke get too close before somehow lifting the ball over him and into the goal.  It took a gut-wrenching amount of time for some of us to spot the offside flag – the Sky studio apparently decreeing it was close, but the right call.  There was certainly no daylight between Rob and the defender, but he was infront – heaven only knows what the actual rules are these days!

Similar to the Millwall game, Earnie then required to go off – apparently it’s not his hamstring this time – and it’s the other leg, and not thought to be serious.  Phew!  Dex replaced him, Anderson was later withdrawn for Tys, then McKenna for Raddy but Forest had kinda run out of steam and the home side were again starting to build possession, if not really converting it to chances.

Chambers put a decent block in on a Cullen effort – the Reds kept trying to get forward but struggled to fashion too many chances (I forget the precise timing  of this, but whilst it’s in mind we did have one cracking corner which was whipped in low straight to Lewis on the edge of the area who bet it on the volley, but it was blocked by a Hull player).

All in all, I stand by feeling a bit unlucky not to have nicked it – that said, the Tigers had the best of the first half even if we did largely restrict them to efforts from long range.  Bullard (man of the match? my arse! given it was a text vote by home fans I’d have picked Ayala at the back) had a few opportunities from range and we know he can cause problems from there, we were lucky in as much as he wasn’t finding his range I suppose.

But a draw’s a good result – and a good performance, a workmanlike first half and a positive second half.  Can’t really grumble at that – Hull are a decent side who’ll certainly be targeting the playoffs or better.  Whilst it’s not always entertaining to watch, it was good to see Forest restrict them reasonably well in the first half.

On another note whilst I’ve been away I was checking on Twitter and spotted that Reds fan Max Newton completed the Great North Run earlier today – thanks to both Derby County and Forest supporting friends – dressed as Derby captain Robbie Savage. (Max foolishly offered to dress up as whatever his sponsors voted for, y’see).

Well done Max!  Anyone wanting to take pity on him for not only running miles but in the worst possible costume can do so by clicking here.

Back to Hull, after a 34 year gap it was good to get my first opportunity to tick them off my list of grounds visited, and my geographical ignorance was exposed when their fans started chanting ‘Yorkshire’ at us as I’d always assumed Hull was in Humberside!  I got an A in Geography as well… into the dunce corner for me this week!

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8 Responses

  1. Well the KC Stadium seemed to me like a thinned down version of Prideless Park – no wonder Adam Pearson feels at home!

    When I left home at 12:30, I was seriously questioning my sanity and I can confirm that on returning home at 11pm, I was convinced that I am completely insane. It was a long way to go for a 0-0 draw and sit with the Hull fans (long story), but a 6th game unbeaten is a positive.

    I would describe it as a competent performance – how Bullard won ‘man of the match’, I don’t know although he did have the one shot of note in the first half! I agree with you nffc – Ayala should have won it (Sky thought so too), so I guess we must have had the better of the game!

    So, another point and another ground. A competent team performance with Earnie working tirelessly up front on his own (Torres could learn a lot from him) and McGugan not quite hitting the dizzy heights of Tuesday evening.

    We now have a week to wait until seeing whether it really was worth MA making a fool of himself over Pratley??!!

  2. Perfectly summed up nffc. I stayed with family in the Hull area for the weekend and whilst driving back to their home on the coast, I heard the Radio Humberside phone in. It made interesting listening. Firstly, Nigel Pearson thought we “just” shaded the second half, then one fan said we put two men on Bullard to nullify his threat in the second half when we clearly nullified Hull as a whole by retaining possession and not giving them a sniff after the break (except for the last few minutes) and, finally, one fan suggested we were long ball merchants! The mind boggles!

    • Ah, we’re all biased in our own way I’m sure. At half time I was pretty dissatisfied, it wasn’t ’til I thought about how little Campy had to do aside from some corners to claim and Bullard’s early effort that I realised how little direct threat they posed us over 90 minutes.

  3. Just a quicky here as a native of Beverley near Hull, but through family ties a Forest fan.

    Hull used to be in Humberside until they abolished it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humberside) and is now known as the East Riding of Yorkshire.

    It was quite an issue at the time it was abolished. You have to remember too that the east riding is also within the wider county of Yorkshire which invokes fierce patriotism from almost all who are born there!

    • I don’t feel quite so bad now then! It seems odd that people born within something they knew as Humberside have adopted the Yorkshire mantle so readily though!

      Each to their own I suppose 🙂 Do you think we could talk Yorkshire into taking Worksop off our hands? 😀

  4. Good point at a tough place to go.

    McGugan was a bit lost in the first half and I thought “oh no, here we go again…!” but Billy seemed to drop him a tad deeper in the second half and give him a freer role and he looked tons better and certainly had more influence on the game.

    We looked workmanlike and strong and I never thought we looked like conceding. It bodes well if we can maintain that.

    I do think, VERY VERY soon, we are going to tonk someone. The Blades a week on Tuesday?? Heres hoping!!!!

  5. We were solid in the second half closed them down and worked the ball the forest way I was very pleased with how we played.

    Chambers miss was a sitter we should have done them.

    U reds

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