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Archive for December, 2014

28th December 2014 KC Stadium – After a promising start City went behind to a good goal in the 32′ from Riyad Mahrez and could not find a reply no matter how much possession they controlled or pressure applied. Leicester’s defence held solid under all manner of attack and for the remainder of the fixture it was backs to the wall for the visitors verses a lot of missed chances from City.

The Tigers had plenty of those chances in the second half and came very close to scoring, but Bruce was let down by poor finishing on too many occasions. In particular that late miss from – yards by Hernandez is the most vivid – it takes a lot to get the ball so high over the bar from that range.

He billed this as a big, big game and he was right. City have to re-think again now – there are players coming back to the squad and it remains to be seen if Bruce can freshen things up again and conjure up another change in fortunes.

Steven Quinn got a red card and three match ban in the dying seconds of the game in a hand ball incident which denied Leicester a goal scoring opportunity.

Steve Bruce commented after the game….

“Today we threw everything at Leicester and missed chance after chance. We missed more chances today than we probably had in the last four or five games.

“When you need a bit of luck against a fellow rival, you need to score. Our home form is a real disappointment and we can’t put our finger on it. We need to take our chances.

“It’s a really disappointing result for us, there’s no hiding from that. It kind of sums up the season.”

And ex Tigers Manager Nigel Pearson remarked…..

“I should be smiling a lot broader shouldn’t I? It’s a relief, that’s the over-riding feeling. But we need to back it up.

“We know we’ve dropped an awful lot of points. A lot of our performances have deserved more than what we had today.

“Steve will feel his side should have won the game and we have had that feeling a number of times this season.

“You need different qualities to win football matches. Some of our recent performances have been really outstanding but we produced a grit and determination to keep the ball out of the net and we rode our luck.

“But we can’t relax now. Let’s not give mixed messages: we’re still in a lot of trouble. It’s important not to get too far adrift.”

We entertain Everton at home on News Years day. We all know that 16 points at the half-way mark is not enough, hope is a killer but it’s all us fans can do!

Hull City: Allan McGregor, Liam Rosenior, Alex Bruce, Curtis Davies, David Meyler (Tom Ince 63), Robbie Brady, Jake Livermore, Sone Aluko (Abel Hernandez 63), Gaston Ramirez (Nikica Jelavic 46), Ahmed Elmohamady:  Bench unused: Steve Harper, Maynor Figueroa, Abel Hernandez, Harry Maguire, Yannick Sagbo, Tom Ince.

Leicester: Ben Hamer, Danny Simpson, Marcin Wasilewski, Wes Morgan, Paul Konchesky, Esteban Cambiasso (Danny Drinkwater 73), Matty James, Riyad Mahrez (De Laet 73), David Nugent, Jeff Schlupp, Leonardo Ulloa (Chris Wood 56).  Bench Unused: Adam Smith, Dean Hammond, Liam Moore, Anthony Knockaert.

Ref  Phil Dowd.

Screenshot from 2014-12-30 14:24:17

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26th December 2014 KC Stadium ~ It had to happen eventually – after some appalling luck with freakish incidents, poor refereeing, injuries and suspensions, City finally overcame all that (and a subsequent lack of form) to grab 3 points and give the fans and Manager a deserved Xmas present.

This was our first away win since the opening day of the season. And it seems a long time since we scored a goal.

Bruce set them up as 4 at the back, 4 in midfield and 2 forwards Ramirez and Aluko (one just behind the other). This worked, and – apart from a Davies howler back-pass inside the opening minute to gift the Black Cats a goal – they looked fairly solid defensively.

Luck came in the form of a couple of unpunished handballs (how Alex Bruce kept a straight face, I don’t know), a capricious bounce from a Ramirez (32′) – shot which gave the keeper no chance –  and the continuation of the away jinx we seem to hold over Bruce’s old club. 1-1.

Chester got a good strong headed goal in the 51′ to put City in the lead 1-2.  A wake-up call for the home team who came into the game a lot more.

But the Championship promotion spirit was coursing through the black and amber men and it was heart-warming to see. Not only did they peg Sunderland back, but they suddenly remembered how to keep possession, (in defence and attack) something we have seen little of this season.

Napoleon had his ‘Old Guard’ which he would keep in reserve until a battle needed a killing stroke and that’s what Bruce has found as well. A lot of today’s team have been sidelined by new faces this season, but those who had helped win promotion two seasons ago where let loose and came good for their desperate manager.

A turning point at the near turning point of the season? – Let’s hope so.

On 90′ a breakaway move beat a tiring home defence and Jelavic (who had only just come on) did what he does best and completed the scoring with a well taken goal, 1-3 and the mackem’s must have hated Brucey when the final whistle went – all that pain they dished out to him came back at them today.

The win gives us just 16 points from 18 games and lifts us out of the bottom three – we will need a much improved 2nd half of the season if we are to stay up.

We are soon into the next match and entertain Leicester at the KC on Sunday. This should be ding-dong battle and a good game. Leicester are an OK side and have been unlucky not to pick up more points than they have. City have something of a centre half crisis with Chester collecting another yellow card which sidelines him for this one. So I expect 4 at the back again and wouldn’t be surprised if Curtis Davies in benched.

Hull City: Allan McGregor, Liam Rosenior, Alex Bruce, James Chester, Curtis Davies, David Meyler, Robbie Brady (Tom Ince 88), Sone Aluko (Nikica Jelavic 88), Gaston Ramirez (Yannick Sagbo 77), Ahmed Elmohamady, Stephen Quinn.     Bench unused: Steve Harper, Maynor Figueroa, Abel Hernandez, Harry Maguire.
Sunderland: Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones, Lee Cattermole, Seb Larsson, Steven Fletcher, Adam Johnson, Jordi Gomez (Jozy Altidore 62), John O’Shea, Ricardo Alvarez (Emanuele Giaccherini 62), Sebastian Coates, Santiago Vergini (Will Buckley 84). Bench unused: Vito Mannone, Liam Bridcutt, Wes Brown, Jack Rodwell.

Referee was Andrew Marriner  Attendance: 44,817.

Screenshot from 2014-12-26 18:40:15

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20th December 2014 KC Stadium – Hoping for at least a point from this home match, the Tigers drew a blank after a deflection wrong footed McGregor and City could not find any attacking flair or ball retention to break down a very good stifling defence.

The fates were good to the Welsh side when in the 15′ a Shelvey hard hit shot hit the arm of Ki Sung Yeung and rocketted past the despairing City keeper. After that Swansea grew in confidence and City never looked worthy of getting anything from this precious home game.

We lacked invention, nouse and to some extent consistent energy and organisation. The Tigers did put some good moves together, but there was not enough of them – if you accumulate good chances you get goals, and we could do neither. Swansea simply made more and received more luck.

Plus Livermore picked up another yellow and is suspended – the mid-field is looking a bit thin for the festive mini-season.

Brady did not feature which was strange (or I’ve missed something), I hope he gets to spear-head the front of that midfield soon.

Steve Bruce will earn his keep if he can come up with formula to get some goals – cut out errors and climb the table. No one doubts he can do it, but when? The longer this damaging poor run goes on, the more his depleted squad will lose heart – and the supporters too.

Hull City: Allan McGregor, Alex Bruce (Sone Aluko 59), James Chester, Curtis Davies (Harry Maguire 76), David Meyler, Abel Hernandez, Jake Livermore, Nikica Jelavic (Yannick Sagbo 81), Gaston Ramirez, Andrew Robertson, Ahmed Elmohamady.

Eldin Jakupovic, Liam Rosenior, Robbie Brady, Stephen Quinn.

Swansea: Lukasz Fabianski, Neil Taylor, Ki Sung-Yueng, Ashley Williams, JonJo Shelvey, Nathan Dyer, Tom Carroll (Marvin Emnes 56), Wayne Routledge, Bafetembi Gomis (Wilfried Bony 76), Jazz Richards (Angel Rangel 81), Federico Fernandez.
Bench Unused: Gerhard Tremmel, Jay Fulton, Mo Barrow, Kyle Bartley.

Ref Mark Clattenburg. Attendance 2193

Screenshot from 2014-12-23 21:19:40

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18th December 2014 – Steve Bruce confirmed today that Michael Dawson will not be available for selection for at least five weeks.

He has been diagnosed with a ‘grade two’ hamstring tear which he received during City’s defeat at Chelsea on Saturday.

Steve Bruce is reported to have said….“Unfortunately it’s a grade two tear [for Dawson] and it could be anything from three, four, five weeks minimum I’d have thought,” said Bruce ahead of Saturday’s match with Swansea City at the KC Stadium.

“That’s happened too much to us from the first day of the season with Robert Snodgrass to Dawson, to Nikica Jelavic to Mohamed Diame. It’s been one thing after another in that department.

“We could do with a little more luck because we’ve had four or five with pretty ugly injuries and we could do without it.”

City face Swansea, Sunderland and Leicester before the New Year.

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13th December 2014 Saturday Stamford Bridge – It went wrong early for City when a clear foul by the blues went unpunished and the move ended in a goal for Hazard in the 7th minute out jumping some poor deffending in front of goal.

City hung on for the rest of the half, and improved in the 2nd, but after a straight red handed out to Tom Huddlestone in the 60′, the Chelsea machine finally got the clinching goal via Costa in the 68′.

City were not a poor team in this tie – or was it a sub-standard performance from Chelsea – but whatever, the Tigers did put together some decent football in spells and it’s a pity they don’t do it when playing other teams in ‘their league’. If they did we might have more points to show and not be languishing in 19th place.

Other things to worry us is the injury to Michael Dawson (hamstring: replaced by Bruce 10′) and the three match ban straight red for Tom Huddlestone. Others will have to step up to the plate now, and who knows they may turn things around.

Two Chelsea players (Willian and Costa) were shown yellow cards for ‘simulation’ ie cheating, but the biggest culprit got away with it. Cahill’s pathetic falling to earth in the 53′ warranted an Oscar. He was already on a yellow (bad foul on Aluko) and should have been made to walk – making it 10 against 10. But we are Hull City so we really don’t expect 90 minutes of gumption from the man in the middle with Mourinho watching, do we.

Simulation must be a Mourinho tactic (his players usually do what he wants) and referees should know that. Ivanovic in particular falls over like a dizzy schoolgirl at the slightest contact – which takes some doing from an athletic 6’1″ defender, built like a brick shit-house.

After the game a frustrated Steve Bruce accused Cahill of taking a tumble “like something out of Swan Lake” and claimed he should have been sent off.

“I’ve just been asked if Cahill should have gone and the simple answer is yes, especially given the referee has already booked two people for simulation or diving,” Bruce said.

“Listen, if it is Oscar, Hazard or Willian, they are running at that pace that the smallest connection can bring them over. There is no question about that.

“This is England’s centre-half, by the way. For me, it could have been a red card in his first challenge on (Sone) Aluko. That was reckless and dangerous.

“So when you come, you expect the referee to do their job. It is difficult enough to to come here and, consequently, Tom

Huddlestone, who is the most laid back person, is frustrated with the decisions against him and produced a horror challenge which deserves a red card.

“But when you come to places like this, then you need them to make the right call.

“When you see it back and look at the replays, there’s no justification for it because we all know what he tried to do: he has tried to win the penalty by taking off thinking (David) Meyler was going to challenge him.

“In Latin countries, it’s applauded if you gain a penalty or free-kick. But the reason why people enjoy the Barclays Premier League, for me, is because of the honesty and integrity of it.

“We need to stop this horrible simulation which, unfortunately, has crept in. The referees have got a hard job but that wasn’t a hard decision. Not from 12 yards, not from where I was.”

“If I say what I really, genuinely want to say, then I’ll be hauled up in front of the Premier League again and I’m going to have to pay the 10 grand or whatever it was,” said Bruce, also aggrieved by what he felt was a foul in the build-up to Hazard’s opener.

“I think I paid £20-odd (thousand) last year so, before Christmas, I will make sure I button my lips and say p*** all about it and keep my money in my pocket.”

Mourinho of course didn’t see it and defended Cahill – what a surprise – and said…

“I don’t make (anything of) it because I didn’t see it on TV and I was very far away,” he said.

“But I had this question before, from your colleagues on TV and radio, and I don’t believe Cahill dived.

“And if you tell me I am wrong because he dived, something happened. Or they blocked his run. Or they touched. Or he lost balance.

“But that big, honest guy, I don’t believe he dived in the opposition’s box.”

Watch it on Match of the Day and then apologise for the big honest guy, Jose.

Swansea (H), Sunderland (A) and Leicester (H) next.

Hull City: Allan McGregor, James Chester, Curtis Davies, David Meyler, Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Nikica Jelavic (Gaston Ramirez 74), Michael Dawson (Alex Bruce 10), Sone Aluko (Robbie Brady 64), Andrew Robertson, Ahmed Elmohamady. Bench Unused: Eldin Jakupovic, Liam Rosenior, Abel Hernandez, Stephen Quinn,

Chelsea: Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, Filipe Luis, Oscar (Didier Drogba 78), Eden Hazard, John Mikel Obi (Ramires 82), Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic, Willian (Andre Schurrle 80), Gary Cahill, John Terry. Bench Unused: Mark Schwarzer, Kurt Zouma, Loic Remy, Cesar Azpilicueta.

Ref: Chris. Foy.  Crowd 41626

Costa booked for a typical Chelsea dive - this one on the edge of the box

Costa booked for a typical Chelsea dive – this one on the edge of the box

Screenshot from 2014-12-13 18:09:35

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8th December 2015 The Deep – City dive into the FA Cup in the deep-end – The rehearsal for the BBC Cup Draw programme tied the Tigers with Arsenal and so did the live programme.

A chance for revenge then, and to end the Gunners defence of the Cup at their first chance to defend it. No pressure on City of course but massive pressure on Wenger’s boys.

Ties will take place during the week-end of the 3rd January 2015.

Full Draw is:

3rd round draw (via SB Nation)

Arsenal vs. Hull City
Southampton vs. Ipswich Town
Stoke City vs. Wrexham
Charlton Athletic vs. Blackburn Rovers
Dover Athletic vs. Crystal Palace
AFC Wimbledon vs. Liverpool
Manchester City vs. Sheffield Wednesday
Aldershot or Rochdale vs. Nottingham Forest
West Bromwich Albion vs. Gateshead
Blyth Spartans vs. Birmingham City
Aston Villa vs. Blackpool
Rotherham vs. Bournemouth
Huddersfield vs. Reading
Oxford United or Tranmere Rovers vs. Swansea City
Cardiff City vs. Colchester United
Bolton Wanderers vs. Wigan Athletic
Sunderland vs. Leeds United
Burnley vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Millwall vs. Bradford City
Derby County vs. Southport
Brentford vs. Brighton and Hove Albion
Fulham vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Leicester City vs. Newcastle United
Scunthorpe United or Worcester City vs. Chesterfield
Everton vs. West Ham United
Cambridge United or Mansfield Town vs. Bury or Luton Town
Chelsea vs. Watford
Barnsley or Chester vs. Middlesbrough
Queens Park Rangers vs. Sheffield United
Accrington Stanley or Yeovil Town vs. Manchester United
Preston North End vs. Norwich City
Doncaster Rovers vs. Bristol City

Screenshot from 2014-12-08 20:45:33

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6th December 2014 KC Stadium – The visitors worryingly looked the better side today, but neither side could score.

Alan McGregor kept City from defeat by saving a penalty kick from from Graham Dorrans in the 9′ after Livermore was judged to have brought down Anichebe – this was his third penalty save in a row. The West Brom number 10 was looking for it all match, and constantly backed into players hoping for something from the referee. Livermore should have known better.

Not a lot happened for City in the first half, in fact the visitors had three shouts for penalties, one was a foul outside the box and another was a call for handball – but that would have been very hash. It came from a mistimed strike where the ball came off the boot at a weird angle and slammed into the nearest defender 5 feet away.

Most of City’s attacks were down the right hand side but this brought little in the way of goal mouth action. Aluko had kept his place in the team and was playing forward with Hernandez, Jelavic being relegated to the bench.

Quinn and Meyler also kept starting places. Quinn working hard as was Meyler, though we lacked creativity in midfield.

So 0-0 at half time.

City had only two shots at goal in that lack lustre first half, none being on target. Foster had little to do in goal, as there was hardly any action in the visitors half.

Changes were expected at half time after a lack lustre first half, but Bruce sent out the same players.

Quinn had a good header saved by Foster in the 59′ from a Livermore cross.

Robertson appeared for Quinn on 60′ and Brady came on for Rosenior in the 61′. City had been trying to play down the middle with no luck and all it had achieved was to give the ball away. Accurate close passing was at a premium.

With QPR beating Burnley, City were back in the bottom three even if they secured a point. Three points looked very doubtful and the Baggies looked more likely to get them.

West Brom got a free kick just outside the Tigers box in the 71′ and McGregor pulled off a terrific save from Craig Gardner’s clever ensuing kick.

Hernandez had a header in the 75′ which was wide, and a shot ditto in the 91′ just wide as well.

You can see what Bruce is trying to do. He needs that blend of energy and creativity. Some of his creative players don’t give him that do or die, while his battlers lack the extra cleverness in attack. Players coming into form and then losing it don’t help of course. The midfield as it was today created very little, someone needs to be sacrificed to bring Brady on from the start.

After the game….

Steve Bruce said: “When you get a point away from home, you think it’s a good result. But at home it’s disappointing as you really want to do well against the teams around you.

“We found it difficult and we’re indebted to our keeper. It’s been a difficult run we’ve been on, but a point today might be the one that keeps us in the division.”

And Alan Irvine said: “It’s good that we’ve stopped the run of defeats. But if we score the penalty early then everything could’ve been so different.

“Hull are scrapping at the moment, so we knew it would be difficult. But our players battled very hard and they can be pleased with how they performed today.”

Hull City: Allan McGregor, Liam Rosenior (Andrew Robertson 60), James Chester, David Meyler, Tom Huddlestone, Abel Hernandez, Jake Livermore, Michael Dawson, Sone Aluko (Nikica Jelavic 79), Ahmed Elmohamady, Stephen Quinn (Robbie Brady 60). Subs Not Used: Eldin Jakupovic, Alex Bruce, Curtis Davies, Yannick Sagbo.

West Brom: Ben Foster, Andre Wisdom, Joleon Lescott, James Morrison, Craig Gardner (Brown Ideye 80), Victor Anichebe (Saido Berahino 73), Sebastien Pocognoli, Graham Dorrans, Youssouf Mulumbu, Gareth McAuley, Stephane Sessegnon (Silvestre Varela 66). Subs Not Used: Boaz Myhill, Chris Baird, Christian Gamboa, Craig Dawson.

Referee: M. Oliver. Attendance 23,279

How the hell did he save this Screenshot from 2014-12-07 11:51:48

Hull vs WBA FT stats Screenshot from 2014-12-06 18:04:34

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