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Archive for April, 2014

26th April 2014 Saturday Craven Cottage – After a pretty boring first half in which neither team showed any real spark, the second half erupted into an interesting contest. Fulham got two goals in 3 minutes early in the second half and with that the game changed beyond all recognition.

City started with a 5-3-2 formation with Alex Bruce brought back into the centre of three centre halves. Boyd was back on the bench with no defenders to sit alongside. This formation was to prove once again, a bit too cautious, and Bruce’s thinking must have been “a desperate Fulham have found some form, and at home, they will be difficult to handle”. We have enough good players to win this playing 4-4-2, and once again Huddlestone was unable to exploit his forward passing game.

That first half saw very few chances, City had slightly more of the possession and seemed comfortable without ever looking on top and you felt Fulham had won that half on points. Elmohamady disgraced himself with a woeful dive and City kept finding the woodwork. The home team managed no shots on target while the visitors managed just one.

Also in that first half City got robbed of a guilt edged penalty when Amorebieta brought down Shane Long from behind as the striker was through on goal, just 8 yards out. A really crass refereeing decision, Long had no reason to go down, it was an easy goal for him, and should have been a red card for an eventual Fulham goal scorer.

With Fulham needing to win this game to stay in the EPL it was not a surprise that Felix Magrath changed things at half time. He benched Riise and Holtby and put on Kieran Richardson and the dangerous Askhan Dejagah (who surely should have started). Within ten minutes the pot began to boil. It boiled faster when the Fulham manager took Sidwell off in the 53rd minute brought on ex England’s striker Darren Bent and played with two strikers up front.

In the 55th minute Dejagah scored a stunning goal with his left foot from outside the box after after a pass from Hugo Rodallega. For some reason he had loads of time to set himself up, look at the goal and pull the trigger. A real lapse in defence, when players expected others to close him down; 1-0.

Hull hadn’t quite recovered from that when in the 58th minute the tall Venezuelan defender Amorebieta beat all defenders in the air with a well directed glanced header after a corner – a cross from the other sub Richardson. You can’t win every header in a game (although it has been known!) but he should have been out-jumped; 2-0. The Fulham crowd loved it, they loved their Manager and they loved their team.

Nine minutes later (67′) Bruce brought on Sone Aluko for Alex Bruce – who was having a poor game anyway- to liven up the attack and that’s exactly what he did. He had seemed a bit off form since his long injury, but now he was back to his energetic, quick passing, quick thinking, awkward self. City started to get on top and we all knew one goal would get Fulham wobbling.

In the 75th minute Jelavic paid back a bit more of his fee. It was an odd goal in a way. A ball from Meyler was intercepted by a defender who slice the ball in the air towards his own goal. The ball bounced off Stockdale’s cross bar in to the path of Jelavic, that one touch master who dived at it with his head into the goal. 1-2!

More pressure was exerted after Bruce brought on Boyd for Rosenior and Sagbo for Meyler in the 82nd minute and a wonderful desperate open game ensued. What a difference from that turgid first half.

In the 87th minute we got the 2nd goal from a good Aluko cross from the left and a header from Long who ran around the defender to power it in unattended.

In another strange incident Curtis Davies seemed to leap for the ball in his own penalty area and touch the ball with his finger tip. Could have been a penna and a red!

With a point now looking likely if they kept their heads, City played out the remaining minutes for the draw against a tiring exasperated Fulham side who had given their all.

After the match Steve Bruce said

“If we hadn’t got it (a draw) today we may have still been in it (the relegation scrap),” Bruce suggested.

“Thirty seven points might be enough, it usually is. We have three games to go and they (the players) got themselves into this position. All credit to them.

“We have had a remarkable year. We have been in and around 10th, 11th, 12th (in the table) since September, got to a cup final and hopefully safe with three games to go.

“It’s a remarkable achievement and how fitting that was today and they showed what they are about again.”

He added: “We had a crazy 12 minutes and to be fair you have to say well done to Dejagah, who has cut in and bent one in the top corner and then they have a great header by Amorebieta.

“All of a sudden, from being complete control in the first half we are 2-0 down and thinking, ‘where has that come from?’

“To be fair to the manager of Fulham (Felix Magath), he has made a big change (replacing the injured Steve Sidwell with Darren Bent) and in the end they had four up the top end of the pitch and they caused a few problems.

“The turning point was Harper’s save at 2-1. At a certain point you think it’s not going to be your day.

“We have hit the post and the bar – twice – but typical of them (the Hull players), the reason we are 13th and in a cup final is you’ve just witnessed again.

“They kept going and for me rightly got the rewards.”

So tonight City have moved up a place to 13th on 37 points with just 3 more EPL games to play – Aston Villa and Manchester United away plus Everton at home. Then it’s a date with Arsenal at Wembley on the 17th May….wow!

Fulham: Stockdale, Riether, Riise, Amorebieta, Hangeland, Heitinga, Parker, Diarra, Rodallega, Sidwell, Holtby. Substitutes; Stekelenburg, Kasami, Richardson, Dejagah, Woodrow, Roberts, Bent.

Hull City: Harper, Rosenior, Elmohamady, Davies, Bruce, Chester, Huddlestone, Livermore, Meyler, Jelavic, Long. Substitutes; Koren, Fryatt, Jakupovic, Boyd, Sagbo, Aluko, Quinn.

Ref: Lee Mason : Attendance 25700

FT stats Fulham v Hull

 

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25th April 2014 Friday ~ The Club Official site posted this today:
Shane Long is fit to feature for Hull City against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Long had been a doubt earlier in the week after picking up a knock in last weekend’s defeat against Arsenal, but is now back in full training and available for selection.
Manager Steve Bruce is also likely to have Sone Aluko available again after missing the game against the Gunners with a hamstring problem. Aluko was set to be assessed in training on Friday morning with Bruce pencilling him into the squad for the clash with the Cottagers.
“Sone did a bit on Thursday and he will train today,” said Bruce.
“We’ll wait until after training and he’ll come back in if he’s available.”
Looking further ahead, Bruce is refusing to rule Allan McGregor and Paul McShane out of making surprise comebacks for the FA Cup Final against Arsenal next month.
McShane has been out of action for more than two months with ankle ligament damage while McGregor damaged his kidney and broke three ribs against West Ham last month.
McGregor is already back in light training while McShane is due to train over the weekend with the duo keen to throw their hat into the ring for the May 17th showpiece.
“Allan’s back jogging at the training ground,” added Bruce.
“He’s making a desperate effort to be fit for a couple of weeks’ time. I’m not going to stop him, but he’s had three broken ribs and a damaged kidney. He’s doing his very best to try and be fit.
“There’s Paul McShane as well. He’s training on Saturday after nine weeks out with an ankle problem.
“I’m not going to rule anybody out just yet. If they’re making those strides, I’m not going to tell them they’re not playing.
“If they can make themselves available then great. It gives us more to pick from.”

Read more at http://www.hullcitytigers.com/news/article/hull-city-fulham-shane-long-sone-aluko-allan-mcgregor-paul-mcshane-steve-bruce-1509777.aspx#eIAvct53HQzYEvCz.99

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21st April 2014 Monday ~ During post match (Man City) interviews Steve Bruce spoke about the latest problems facing his squad.

On Shane Long who came off at half time on Sunday:- “Long’s got a calf injury,” said Bruce. “We’ll see how he is but he’s got a whack to the back of his calf. He’ll be touch and go for the weekend (away to Fulham), I would have thought.”

On the Aluko saga: “Sone Aluko unfortunately nicked a hamstring on Thursday,” said Bruce. “It’s unfortunate because we were just seeing Sone again. It’s getting a bit too often with Sone, we get him up to speed and unfortunately he breaks down again and that’s a disappointment.I think he’s only played three 90 minutes this season so it’s a real concern.”

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20th April 2014 Saturday KC Stadium ~ The club made the following announcement today………….

Hull City and Umbro have announced a technical kit and sportswear partnership that will begin on 1 June, 2014.

The Tigers will once again wear the famous double diamond of Umbro from the 2014/15 season as part of a new four year partnership.

The deal was announced to the Hull City supporters 24 minutes into the Tigers’ Premier League match against Arsenal at the KC Stadium on Sunday, a subtle reference to the year Umbro was established [1924].

Umbro will produce all on-pitch and training product for the men’s, women’s and academy teams, as well as training and sportswear for both players and fans.

Hull City wore Umbro kits from 2007 to 2010, a period which included their finest hour to date when club legend Dean Windass scored the winning goal to clinch promotion to the top English league for the first time in the Club’s history.

Ex-Hull City legend Geovanni, who scored the club’s first ever Premier League goal and a famous 30-yard stunner against Arsenal in 2008, flew in from Brazil to attend today’s match and celebrate the new partnership.

Paul Nugent, VP of Global Marketing for Umbro, commented: “The announcement during the game on 24 minutes was a great way to announce our new technical partnership to the Hull City supporters as well as celebrating our 90th birthday.

“The amber and black of Hull City is one of the most iconic combinations in football. We have worked closely with the Club to design a set of unique kits which have the highest technical requirements for players whilst retaining the stylish aesthetic synonymous with Umbro.

“Hull City and Umbro have enjoyed some special moments together and we are looking forward to many more.”

Ehab Allam, Vice Chairman of Hull City, said: “We are thrilled to be able to announce that Umbro will be our kit supplier for at least the next four years.

“Umbro is a respected brand that is synonymous with football and our club. We are already well under way with the production of the 2014/2015 season’s kit, which we are sure our supporters are going to love”

Hull City’s new kits for the 2014/15 Premier League campaign will be available for men, women, juniors, infants and babies.

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20th April 2014 Sunday KC Stadium – City couldn’t find a goal today and Arsenal eventually settled into that easy style passing game of theirs which the Tigers could not match or disrupt. The home side started off in good energetic (albeit physical) form and had a few chances which on another day might have given them something to hold on too. For those first 35 minutes or so they played as well as they have all season. But by half time Wenger’s men seemed to have ridden the storm, where not intimidated and seemed to have the measure of things. The second 45 was really about showing off how to keep possession while wearing a red and white shirt, especially after their 3rd goal.

City faced an Arsenal teamed buoyed by the return of the talented  Mesut Özil and the outstanding Aaron Ramsey

In the 31st minute Aaron Ramsey grabbed his first goal since his most recent period of injury, when he took a pass from Cazorla and slotted the ball past Harper in the penalty area. A truly exquisite goal. Ramsey has now netted 6 away goals in the EPL this season, twice as many as he did in all his 5 previous seasons combined.

Jake Livermore was unlucky in the 35th minute when his shot from outside the box struck the post after a pass from Meyler.

Just before half time in the 45th minute it looked like Nikita Jelavic had been fouled from behind by Arteta, the Croat went down and the City players expected a whistle (it didn’t come) and in a quick classy counter attack the gunners got their second goal. Ramsey chested the ball down for Lukas Podolski to run onto and score past the unbelieving Harper. The crowd and City players gave some verbal to Mr Moss but he was having none of it. Basically it seemed Arteta had been giving Jelavic a hand on shoulder push seconds before Arteta then collided with him and Jelavic stumbled and went down. You see ’em given every week, but rarely against the big teams. In fact Mr. Moss made both sides unhappy a few times this afternoon and the visitors had a least one decent shout for a penalty waved away.

Two bits of class and two goals.

HT Hull 0-2 Arsenal.

The second half was nothing to write home about unless you’re from North London. Matty Fryatt replaced Shane Long (suffering a sore calf after being kicked) at the restart, and in the 54th minute the gunners got their 3rd and final goal. Ramsey had a shot which Harper deflected into the path of Lukas Podolski who slotted home his second goal of the afternoon.

Arsenal played their ‘threading the eye of the needle’ game down the middle as expected (they never got one corner in the game!) and the two goals which gave them such a boost where excellent by anyone’s reckoning.

After the match Steve Bruce praised the skill involved in Arsenal’s first goal, but also said…

“The first goal, you have to say, it’s a typical Arsenal goal,” he said. “Sometimes you hold your hand up and say it’s a real quality goal.

“But the big turning point in the game, we’re talking about a refereeing decision again” (foul on Jelavic)

“I think everybody in the ground expected a free-kick to be given, we didn’t get it and again, a bit of quality from Arsenal – it’s a terrific finish from Podolski – and after playing really well we’re 2-0 down at half-time.”

“That’s wrong, that I’m talking about a referee’s decision.”

And “I’m not really interested in Wembley just yet. We’ve got to stay in this league and let Wembley look after itself. We’ve got to concentrate on the next few games and make sure we get over the line. We haven’t done it yet, we’re not safe. We’ve still got a bit of work to do.

Elmohamady was lucky not to have been sent off when his arm clashed with the tooth of Arteta.

Hull City: Steve Harper, Liam Rosenior, James Chester, Curtis Davies, David Meyler, Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, George Boyd (Robert Koren 84), Nikica Jelavic (Stephen Quinn 69), Shane Long (Matty Fryatt 46), Ahmed Elmohamady. Subs Not Used: Eldin Jakupovic, Maynor Figueroa, Alex Bruce, Yannick Sagbo.

Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny, Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil (Mathieu Flamini 61), Lukas Podolski (Yaya Sanogo 84), Olivier Giroud (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 74).Subs Not Used: Lukasz Fabianski, Carl Jenkinson, Kim Kallstrom, Tomas Rosicky.

Referee: Jonathon Moss. Attendance: 24, 762

City are now 14th in the league, still on 36 points with 4 league games to play.

Fulham away next Saturday

Aston Villa away Saturday 3rd May

Manchester United at home 6th May Tuesday and finally

Everton at home 11th May.

FT stats Hull v Ars

 

 

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13th April 2014 Sunday – Wembley Stadium ~ Hull City got things right in the second half of this enthralling cup tie after coming out 2nd best to the blades in the first 45 minutes.

It just wasn’t working for the EPL side in that opening half, we looked disjointed and that was partly due to the way Sheffield put massive energy into their work and they deserved the 1-2 lead at half time. But also it was down to maybe Bruce thinking “I can’t play Long and Jelavic up front, so I’ll just have play one striker”. Who knows.

City started with just Yannick Sagbo upfront and Geo Boyd getting a rare start. Bruce has normally played a twin attack and the change didn’t help the Tigers to settle into any sort of rhythm. Bruce changed this at half time and put bench-men Fryatt on (for Boyd) and Aluko (for Figueroa) so we had Sagbo and Fryatt in a two prong attack with Aluko used to find openings in the defence. This proved a devastating attacking force and the whole team came to life especially after hearing Curtis Davies at half time telling them to get their fingers out and start playing like Hull City.

So, a game of two halves, and I for one was desperate for half time to arrive so City could reorganise. I was glad to see the back of Figueroa as well today. He lingered on the ball and gave it away too many times.

The Blades took the lead in the 19th minute. Brayford got the ball from a throw in and put in a lovely cross, and as it came into the box at low level Baxter just beat Chester to the ball and forced the ball into the net. This was a shock as there had been no danger before that, and it seemed such a simple goal, 0-1.

Huddlestone was playing as a more central midfielder (ie forward) than Livermore and this had deprived Hudds of the time to pick out his trademark decisive passes, so after the first half hour Bruce changed this to Livermore in front of him and it worked better.

As the half wore on City gained more of the game and got their first goal on 42 minutes. Chester pushed the ball into the box following a corner and Livermore put a pass into the front of goal for Sagbo to race onto and beat the defenders to the ball. He scored a lovely goal and one he fully deserved. 1-1.

Unfortunately 90 seconds later it was 1-2 in a classic counter punch attack. Sheffield’s Murphy hurtled down the left, Rosenior harassed him and tried to get the ball but stumbled at the turn (a push?) and then he was running in on the byline to cut the the ball back to the in-running Scougall who didn’t miss from 12 yards. 1-2 and then it was half time.

The stats at half time looked as if we had had the better of it but crucially not on the number of goals. Chances had been few and in fact the score line reflected exactly the shots on target.

City equalised in the 49th minute, following a corner. The ball comes over and bounces off a few players before Fryatt slams it home. Good substitution. 2-2 and everyone following amber and black hopes we don’t succumb quickly again.

In the 51st minute we should have got another. Aluko did what he was sent on for, he slotted a ball behind the defence for Fryatt who beats the keeper and nets it. The flag had gone up though for off-side, so it didn’t count. It should have of course because the replay showed Matty was not offside!

However in the 54th minute we go ahead for the first time. Tom Huddlestone exchanged passes with the impressive David Meyler and in Yaya style chips the ball past the keeper with his left foot. Great goal and it’s 3-2.

Quinn replaced the injured Sagbo on 64 minutes and 3 minutes later proved to be a good choice as he heads in the 4th goal. Meyler gives a good ball past a defender for Jake Livermore to take up to the 6 yard box where he chips over a lovely cross onto the head of Quinn and the Leprechaun simply nods it in. 4-2; are we home and dry?

No we’re not! The City fans celebrated all the way up the 90th minute and then got a shock when Murphy scored for the Blades. Following a cross, a header is blocked but Murphy skilfully hammers it in from 10 yards or so. 4-3! Shit!

Sheffield had their tails up now and City are hanging on a bit as a few shots are blocked etc, but it ended all right when coolly, City break from defence and Elmohamady gets the ball wide and puts an accurate pass through for Meyler to race onto, and without any fuss boots the ball past the keeper. 5-3 and the tie really is over.

A wonderful second half which I am sure entertained most neutrals. Sorry journo’s that it wasn’t Chelsea v Manchester City etc., ……..but they got knocked out.

We now have an historic (for us) date with Arsenal at Wembley on the 17th May.

Hull City: Harper, Rosenior, Figueroa, Davies, Chester, Huddlestone, Meyler, Livermore, Boyd, Elmohamady, Sagbo. Bench: Jakupovic, Faye, Bruce, Koren, Quinn, Aluko, Fryatt.

Sheffield Utd: Howard, Harris, Brayford, Maguire, Flynn, Doyle, Baxter, Collins, Coady, Scougall, Murphy. Subs: Hill, Porter, McGinn, Davies, Long, Freeman, Kennedy.

Referee was Andre Marriner: Attendance 71,820.

FT stats Hull v SheffU

Hudds - Hull v Sheff U notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8th April 2014 ~ Yesterday the club released the results of it’s Tigers or no Tigers poll. Out of the 15,033 season card holders eligible to vote we are told only 5,082 did so (34%). Out of those that did vote 2,565 (17%) looked down the barrel of the Allam’s loaded gun and blinked, they intimated they would accept the name change. On the other side of the argument were 2,517 (16.75%), just 48 less people who didn’t blink, looked the gun barrel and the Allam’s firmly in the face and effectively said ‘no way, no name change, if you want to take your money away, get on with it’.

Too many rejected the whole set up of this poll to make it relevant and no doubt the FA tomorrow will see it that way and stick to their guns.

Mark Gretton of the City Till We Die campaign group, which is protesting against the intended re-brand, was relaxed about the ballot results. “We’re not at all disappointed,” he said. “We’re only disappointed in the way it has been handled. We can’t see why it wasn’t a straight choice between yes and no.”

“If it had been, I’m sure the decision would have been against the change but we’re pleased at how many season-ticket holders still said no.”

“This has never been an anti-Allam campaign but one to keep our name. The matter is now in the hands of the FA and we’re still very optimistic that the FA will reject the proposal.”

 

Hull City AFC The Tigers

 

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