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Archive for April, 2015

28th April 2015 Tuesday night KC Stadium – Michael Dawson scored a massive, massive goal for his side in the 37′  tonight and then set about denying Liverpool any crumbs they would normally have snapped up.

A cross from Elmohamady after a corner found the Hull Skipper as he moved into a space with no red shirt anywhere near him. True class, what a signing he has been.

Steve Harper had a faultless night in goal and shows how a lack of keeper errors at this level is vital.

A settled team (no changes from the Palace game) organised themselves with regimental discipline to frustrate the visitors who could not get behind them and tried time again to pass through to the penalty area with little success.

Even the substitutions mirrored the Palace game.

City move to 15th place now on 34 points and this display must give every hope of playing EPL football next year. Interesting to see Newcastle who are plummeting like a lead balloon are only one point and one place above us. City enjoy a superior goal difference compared to all the teams around and below them. I am starting to be optimistic after the last two games – this team has the capacity to go flat out for 90+ minutes, a most important ingredient.

Four games to go – Arsenal and Burnley at home, followed by Spurs away and finally Manchester United at home. A big ask to get a lot more points but on tonight’s showing I expect to get them.

Post match Steve Bruce said:

“It is a great victory – make no bones about it. But we have still got a bit to do, I don’t think 34 points is enough.

“We have given ourselves an outstanding chance but that is all it is. We have earned back to back wins and two clean sheets, we showed some of the resilience we have shown over the last few years since I’ve been here. So it is a big step in the right direction.

“I always knew we had four matches at home out of our last five, Arsenal and Man Utd at home and also Burnley who are fighting like us.

“It is never easy in the Premier League against anyone but home advantage can give you an advantage.

“The win stands us in good stead but we have got Arsenal on Monday night so have to be at our best again.”

Dawson Screenshot from 2015-04-28 23:24:31

EPL Table Tonight

EPL Table Tonight

Stats by Opta

Stats by Opta

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25th April 2015 – The better team won this game – City had golden chances in the first half and fears that those misses would cost us dearly, in the end were unfounded.

In an effort to liven up his below par Eagles, Alan Pardew loaded his below-par side with forwards in the second half and City took advantage.

N’Doye missed a couple of good chances, particularly the one in the 14′ from a clever Brady cross, but kept on looking for openings. And in the 20′ it looked like Palace had given away a penalty for hand-ball but as often the referee did not see it. Closely followed by another City appeal to when Aluko was brought down in the 28′.

Huddlestone and Livermore both had shots stopped by Speroni.

City won 5 corners in that first half with Palace not managing one. The home sides three shots on target before half-time were never added to in a second half in which got two goals and never looked in trouble.

The second half started well and N’Doye in the 47′ should have scored with a close-in header which was stopped by Speroni and struck the post.

Then the first goal arrived. Aluko weaved his way across field getting deeper and got the ball to Brady on the left who evaded a defender and chipped a cross (which beat the keeper) to N’Doye who netted. There was an appeal for hand ball by Brady, but the referee waved it away (justice?). So 0-1 and was a precious goal that was.

The game got a bit more cagey after that – ‘head but’ Pardew dispensing with the aggressive Aussie Jedinak and swapping three attackers for fresh ones.

N’Doye got his second in the dying minutes of the game when the elegant Ramirez won the ball in midfield and set off a promising counter attack – he linked up with N’Doye who raced away with a defender to his left, checked and put his shot past Speroni into the goal. 0-2 and the away supporters went wild – wonderful to see.

Three precious points in the bag and a good job as well because Leicester continue there winning ways with three points at Burnley, that’s 4 wins in a row for Pearson’s boys.

After the game Steve Bruce remarked to reporters…

“I think we’ve had nearly 20 attempts on their goal, Dame misses a wonderful opportunity in the first half, the goalkeeper Speroni pulls off a great save and you think, here we go, they’re going to get a chance and take it and it’s that horrible scenario again.

“The thing that pleased me was that we didn’t play with a fear. We got it down and we passed it and we looked a very, very good team at times. I know we’ve let ourselves down occasionally this year but today was one of those really good performances which we know we’re capable of.”

“There’s no more excuses. The one thing that can’t be levelled at the squad is that they’re not committed to the cause,” he said. “They’re absolutely determined to stay here.”

Pardew of course whinged about anything he could think of. Missed penalty handball – time wasting etc, etc.

Hull City: Steve Harper, James Chester, Tom Huddlestone, Robbie Brady (Liam Rosenior 84), Jake Livermore, Paul McShane, Michael Dawson, Sone Aluko (Alex Bruce 85), Ahmed Elmohamady, Dame N’Doye, Stephen Quinn (Gaston Ramirez 73). Bench unused: Allan McGregor, Maynor Figueora, Abel Hernandez, Yannick Sagbo.

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Martin Kelly, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Pape Souare, Mile Jedinak (Chung-Yong Lee 64), James McArthur, Wilfried Zaha (Dwight Gayle 73), Jason Puncheon, Yannick Bolasie, Glenn Murray (Yaya Sanogo 59). Bench unused: Wayne Hennessey, Brede Hangeland, Joe Ledley, Jordon Mutch.

N'Doye Screenshot from 2015-04-27 14:09:14

Stats by Opta

Stats by Opta

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11th April 2015 Saturday St Mary’s – Suffered a bit on this trip due to some dodgy larger on the ferry, so this is my excuse for a late post.

City started of brightly (apart from nearly gifting a goal to Long via a dreadful back-pass from Livermore), but as so often is the case, some nice, neat quick passing is simply not enough if you don’t score goals. And an expensive price was paid in this game. A late tackle by Alex Bruce handed a penalty to the Saints and they took the lead in the 56th minute.

After that even the most optimistic supporter must have wondered where City would get a reply from – a large slice of luck was needed but if we are to get some this term today was not the day.

The Tigers looked the better side in the first half but goal scoring seemed to be beyond them.

The home team seemed to sense City had little to trouble them as the second half wore on and they stepped up the pace and % of possession and a it seemed only a matter of time before they sealed it. That happened in the 81st minute when Pelle hammered in a shot to make it a comfortable score line of 2-0.

City are in dire trouble at the foot of the table, with the teams around them securing wins and a horrendous fixture list to finish the season. The 28 points we have seem far too few, and it’s difficult to see where wins are going to come from.

Hull City: Steve Harper, Alex Bruce, James Chester (Mohamed Diame 64), Tom Huddlestone (Yannick Sagbo 74), Jake Livermore, Paul McShane, Michael Dawson, Sone Aluko (Abel Hernandez 84), Ahmed Elmohamady, Dame N’Doye, Stephen Quinn. Bench Unused: Allan McGregor, Liam Rosenior, Robbie Brady, Andrew Robertson.

Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Maya Yoshida, Morgan Schneiderlin, Jose Fonte, Shane Long (Eljero Elia 74), Steven Davis, Sadio Mane (Dusan Tadic 61), Victor Wanyama (James Ward-Prowse 46), Toby Alderweireld, Graziano Pelle, Ryan Bertrand.
Bench Unused: Paulo Gazzaniga, Nathaniel Clyne, Harrison Reed, Matthew Targett.

Steve Steve commented

“He (Alex) needs criticising like everybody else, It’s a silly challenge from a lad of his experience to try and make. We’ve been punished and it probably cost us the game.”

“Jake (Livermore) had a shot saved from the edge of the box, then within three minutes we’re 1-0 down through an awful challenge by Alex.”

“We were excellent with some of our football in the first half, but didn’t get the reward or the decisions,” Bruce continued.

“A lot of players in the dressing room were disappointed that Pelle only got a yellow card for his antics with Alex there. He’s got a badly broken nose.

“I’m not going to come here and say that’s the reason for our defeat, but it certainly helps if you’re playing against 10 men after 10 minutes. 

“If you do look it at, our players are incensed because he (Pelle) has whacked him (Alex) with his forearm and caught him badly. It’s a big, big decision that obviously goes against you.”

FT stats Screenshot from 2015-04-18 21:44:15

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8th April 2015 ~ The Tigers have offered academy player Calaum Jahraldo-Martin a one-year contract extension.

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Hull manager Steve Bruce has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in football: Liverpool tried to sign combative midfielder Mohamed Diame during Kenny Dalglish’s ill-fated second stint in charge.

Diame looked a bit frustrated with his Hull team mates at Swansea on Saturday.


Speaking to The Daily Express this week, Bruce revealed:

“I was with Kenny Dalglish recently and he told me that he was very close to taking him to Liverpool when he was manager there and Diame was out of contract with Wigan.”

Liverpool were constantly linked with between 2011 and 2014, and there’s plenty of evidence to support Bruce’s contention:

* In 2012, Diame told told the Liverpool Echo: “I met with Kenny Dalglish and we talked, but God decided to finish this situation. It is true I was very sad in my head as I was thinking to go there [Anfield]”

* Then, in April 2014, Diame told reporters: “Liverpool? I think my name is still on their wanted list. I don’t hide it, I’m ambitious and I want to join a top-six side. I am 26 years old and it’s time to take that step”.

Jamie Redknapp and John Aldridge are fans of Diame:

* After watching him dominate Chelsea’s midfield during West Ham’s 3-1 victory in December 2013, Redknapp wrote: “He’s a cross between Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure. He overpowered Chelsea’s midfield on Saturday. Can West Ham keep him? He came on a free and has an agreed get-out clause. There will be lots of interest now”.

In a column for the Liverpool Echo , last season, Aldo enthused: “I would urge Liverpool to keep tabs on Mohamed Diame. He is a brute of a midfielder. A tremendous player and so strong and powerful in that central role, and he is exactly what the Reds need in there”.

Diame has spent the last four months on the sidelines with a knee injury, but he’s now back in action, and Bruce is convinced he an lead Hull to safety. On Saturday, he raved:

“Diame’s looked immense. He’s a top, top player the kid and we’ve missed him, and he could make a big difference. Physically, if his knee is all right, he’s a beast. He could go and play anywhere in the Premier League,”

Diame has a meagre €5m buyout clause in his contract, but has the ship sailed on this particular transfer?

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4th April 2015 – The referee decided that David Meyler’s tackle on Kyle Naughton warranted not a yellow but a red card – and that, as so often happens changed the game – just when the Tigers had clawed their way back into it.

Some would say it was a reckless challenge which won the ball and a ‘yellow at most’, others who like neat ‘modern football’ would scream ‘send him off’. I’m in the ‘yellow at most’ camp, and the problem is so are just half the FA referees, and it’s a lottery these days for players knowing how they are going to act. Managers tell players to go in hard and win the ball – what are they supposed to do, wave one leg around while pivoting on the other?

City had gone down to goals from Ki Sung-yueng (18′) and Gomis (37′), but Paul McShane made the most of a good City second half restart to score in the 50′ and put the Tigers back in the game.

Gomis was clearly off-side for his goal. The offside rule is to take away any advantage from an attacking player who lingers near the goal – the ball comes in and he takes advantage of a ricochet. If the modern offside rule interpretation has any validity or common sense – he must be ruled offside.

This recovery was wrecked two minutes later by the Meyler incident and City never really recovered.

Diame came on for the injured Bruce, and Aluko for Hernandez late on, and City pushed up at every opportunity, only to fall for a sucker punch goal (his 2nd) from Gomis 90′.

Hull City: Allan McGregor, Alex Bruce (Mohamed Diame 70), David Meyler, Abel Hernandez (Sone Aluko 81), Robbie Brady, Jake Livermore, Paul McShane, Michael Dawson, Gaston Ramirez (Stephen Quinn 30), Ahmed Elmohamady, Dame N’Doye.
Bench not used: Steve Harper, Liam Rosenior, James Chester, Yannick Sagbo.

Swansea City: Lukasz Fabianski, Neil Taylor, Bafetimbi Gomis, Jonjo Shelvey (Matt Grimes 90), Kyle Naughton (Angel Rangel 56), Jack Cork (Nathan Dyer 65), Wayne Routledge, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Federico Fernandez, Ki Sung-Yueng, Ashley Williams. Bench not used: Gerhard Tremmel, Jordi Amat, Marvin Emnes, Nelson Oliveira.

After the game Steve Bruce had this to say…

“We are disappointed to lose the game and we knew we were nowhere near good enough in the first-half in particular.

“But the two big decisions went against us and they could have turned the game.

Gomis’s first goal is a fantastic piece of skill but he is five yards offside.

“When the ball comes back into the box we have a collision between our players because of Gomis` whereabouts.

“Then, we had got back into the game at 2-1 but unfortunately David has picked up a red card.

“I`ve seen it six times now and from three angles, and to me it`s a perfectly decent challenge.

“The other three (angles) I look at it and he takes part of the ball and the leg collides with the boy.

“We may as well say with these grey areas that you are not allowed to tackle if you tackle on the floor.

“But we all want our team to fight and compete because that`s what the Premier League is.

“The referee has given his decision and from his angle he might say that it is reckless.

“But I am ranting and raving at my team at half-time to make sure there are a few challenges and make a bit of a fist of it.

“We did that in the second half but we are never going to get something from a game when you play for half an hour with 10 men.

“That’s a shame as we had just got some sort of foothold in the game.”

Stats by Opta via BBC

Stats by Opta via BBC

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