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31st August 2013 Saturday – Another loss and still no goal in open play but bearing in mind the opposition there is a lot of good things to take away from the Etihad. Convinced this is the best team I have seen play in the black and amber.

City played some good flowing football and never looked out-of-place or under intense pressure on Saturday. Tom Huddlestone continues to impress with his easy style ball playing ability and passing. He is the quality player we needed in midfield and it’s allowed Koren to play to his potential. Livermore puts a lot of energy and running in the midfield as well and that part of the pitch is working well for us. In all City seemed very comfortable and unflappable in possession during this game and used what assets they had to the best effext.

Goal scoring is another matter though and although Danny Graham did OK and although he got he ball in the net (disallowed) we should still worry about getting goals and are pinning a lot of hope on Yannick Sagbo who ruled himself out of this fixture. Proven goal scorers in the premier league are “very expensive”, that is a fact of life and if we look back at the end of this season from below 17th spot it will be a the same lesson learned again but in a harder way.

The blues first goal was avoidable; although Negredo was being tracked he was given far to much room plus Elmohamady just stopped running altogether, and needs a good bollocking for that.

However City were in the game right up to the 89th min when Yaya Toure scored from a great free kick after James Chester fouled Nasri near the edge of the 6 yard box; until then the 1-0 scoreline looked tenuous from the blues point of view and the locals/Pellegrini were getting nervous.

A Man C v Hull C stats

Some good performances though in the black and amber shirts and the energy and team spirit looking.

Still on 3 points but down to 17th place.

Steve Bruce said afterwards….

“I couldn’t have wished for a better performance. I thought we were terrific all afternoon and had probably more chances than the last four or five visits I’ve had here, so you have to take them”.

“You know that Achilles heel we have got – can we score? We’ve had really good possession, played well, created the chances, but can we score the goal? Unfortunately, we’ve created enough but we haven’t been able to score and that’s the difference at this level”.

Bet a pound or two he will bring in another forward by Monday night.

Hull City: McGregor Chester, Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Brady, Livermore, Aluko, (Quinn – 70′ ), Graham, Koren (Boyd 75′). Bench: Harper, Rosenior, Bruce, McShane, Meyler, Boyd, Quinn.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Lescott, Kolarov, Navas, Aguero (Milner 76′), Silva (Nasri 66′), Toure, Dzeko (Negredo 46′). Bench: Pantilimon, Clichy, Milner, Nasri, Garcia, Negredo, Jovotic.

Referee: Phil Dowd. Attendance: 46,903

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11th March 2013 Monday – Relief all round as Steve Bruce did what he intended and shored up the players and fans moral by putting a stop to the recent leaky form. Though not pretty it was a shovel of medicine the team and fans had to take in the name of encouraging the return of our best form.

On a miserably cold and snowy night at Turf Moor McShane was back in the starting line-up and Alex Bruce got the job of sitting between the back three and a midfield of Elmohamady, Brady, Meyler and Quinn with Robbie Koren benched. So four centre backs with one protecting the other three and acting as a holding midfielder!

Hull City 3-1-4-1-1: Stockdale, McShane, Hobbs, Chester, Elmohamady, Bruce, Meyler, Quinn, Brady, Boyd, Gedo. Bench: Fathi, Jakupovic, Koren, Faye, Simpson, Proschwitz, Rosenior.

Burnley:  Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Kacaniclic, Edgar, McCann, Wallace, Austin, Treacy. Bench: Paterson, Vokes, Bartley, Lafferty, Jensen, Long, Ings.

To say we owed Burnley this win is an understatement; they rank as a bogey team in recent seasons and the last time we beat them was the 4th March 2008 at the KC. Fraizer Campbell and Richard Garcia scored; four players got sent off, Tigers Caleb Folan/Jay-Jay Okocha and Steven Caldwell/ Joey Gudjonsson for the Clarets. The seven meetings in between were losses until the eighth time of asking last night.

In the first half the neutral would say Burnley played better and Hull City offered little, that’s understandable, but City always threatened another gear and concentrated a lot on keeping a clean sheet and had laid aside the expansive attacking passing game they are capable of. Circumstances dictated it was not a night for any of that. Billy Davies watching this would be rubbing his hands at the prospect of his 5 wins in a row Reds putting this lot to the sword. If he had sense though he would remember the table (which never lies) and to understand the fact that the Tigers are a far stronger squad now than that which actually got them in the top six. You have to have watched Bruce’s men play at their best to appreciate the talent.

Decent through balls were none existent until Bruce decided enough was enough and it was time to win the game. Tactically he rarely gets things wrong and when they do go wrong it’s usually an under-performance. No one let him down last night and when on 63 minutes Koren and Simpson came on for Bruce and the limping Gedo things changed three minutes later.

After good play from Elmohamady and Simpson, a Koren cross from the right found Simpson whose cool pass along the line to Quinn was a gift that Quinn did not squander as he drilled it into the left hand corner of the net past the despairing Grant. The Steve Bruce double change had paid off big style.

George Boyd did a tireless job of supporting any attacks and always seemed to be back in defence when needed.

The tactics employed meant the threat from Austin never really materialized except in the closing minutes when after a good Vokes cross he headed downwards and wide when he could easily have evened up the score. But to the relief of the 356 frozen traveling fans and the rest of us watching via Sky it ended 0-1 and we shot back to the second automatic promotion spot. Phew!

You had to be a City fan to appreciate anything from this game but the sense that we had stopped the rot and prevented another point’s slip up was immense. In the big scheme of things this was a game we needed to win and Steve Bruce did all the right things to bring us through and pin us up into 2nd place again, a massive achievement in the middle of March; if we can equal or better the results of the teams around us we will go up, simple as that.

The Forest fans who watched seem to thing we are there for the taking on Saturday and some are talking big scores from those in red shirts, and asking for more tickets. If the right City team turn up in the right frame of mind and play as they can then those Foresters maybe in for a surprise.

Referee: Mr Eddie Ilderton:  Attendance: 10,450

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12th February 2013 Tuesday  KC Stadium: Having clung by their fingertips to the top 4 in the last week or so the Tigers scrambled into 2nd place last night thanks to a good 2nd half by all especially the Egyptian loan troops seconded by Bruce /Mr & Mr Allam. Gedo on this display seems a natural goal scorer, Elmohamady continues his massive contribution and there is the chance that this energy will jerk the other talented players in the squad back to form. With two more home games to follow quickly in succession this  result is timely. With only two wins out of the last nine games (in all competitions) City needed this and a draw would have been a bit depressing for all concerned. Thirty one games played, 56 points collected and in an automatic promotion spot.

The first half was better forgotten as City never got going and produced a disjointed, lack lustre almost tired display. For some reason only known to the players the Tigers lacked any rhythm or passing continuity, this has happened before and it must worry Bruce that he cannot trust a tested line-up to perform at the same level week after week.

Derby had the better of these first 45 minutes and team-wise looked a better outfit, but their lack of ambition must have haunted them in the second half when City became a different team.

Bruce made changes at half time as a good manager should and on came Proschwitz and Gedo for Simpson and Koren and he changed to 4-4-2 from a 3-5-1-1 formation. Simpson in particular had had one of those games where he always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and couldn’t take advantage of the “crossing” machines Brady and Elmohamady. Koren seems to be fading in the City colours, and not stepping up when a big effort is needed, an accusation that West Brom fans often made; which is a pity when we all know what an excellent player he is.

Gedo made an instant impact and scored by getting to an accurate Brady centre from a corner with a good header guided past the Derby keeper from 10 yards. After the first half no-one could have expected this and the KC woke up. To get a goal on your home début within 90 seconds of coming on is the stuff legends are made of and we can only dream now that we have found a true goal taker when we most needed him. It was in fact City’s first on target attempt of the match and Gedo’s first touch of the ball.

City had more chances as the half wore on (Gedo and Meyler in particular plus Brady’s free kick) and  so did Derby’s Conor Sammon with at least two good efforts.

It was looking like three points in the bag until the 84th minute when Jamie Ward struck making it 1-1 and no doubt for a few minutes every City supporter started considering “wasted chances” again and muttering “Achilles heel” under their breath. Had we snatched a draw from three points? A goal keeping error had led to that Derby goal with the ball passing everyone and left the surprised Mr Ward with a simple goal. The flapping Stockdale had attempted to get to and punch a ball that was maybe better left to his defenders and as so often happens it was left to float past them all.

However in the 87th minute the other Egyptian on the field saved the day. Elmohamady’s header knocked the ball down from Brady’s corner and it bumped over Roberts (who was stood defending the line) with just three minutes to go. Phew!

On 88 minutes Roberts was red carded for a foul on Proschwitz and that was it, a 2-1 win and a second place in the Championship.

Hull City: (3-5-1-1): Stockdale; Chester, McShane, Hobbs; Elmohamady, Meyler, Quinn, Evans (Rosenior 90), Brady; Koren (Gedo 46); Simpson (Proschwitz 46).Subs: Jakupovic, Cairney, Olofinjana, Fathi.

Booked: Evans, Meyler, and Elmohamady

Derby County: (4-4-2): Legzdins; Freeman (Robinson 80), Brayford, Keogh, Roberts; Coutts (Buxton 85), Hughes, Hendrick, Bryson; Ward, Sammon (Jacobs 73). Subs Fielding, Davies, Gjokaj, Hoganson.

Booked: Bryson, Coutts, and Jacobs; Sent off: Roberts.

Referee: Mr R Madley (West Yorkshire). Attendance: 15,677.

Stats: Possession City 49%: Shots on target 3 City to 3 Derby: Shots off target 8 City to 4 Derby: Corners 3 City to 1 Derby.

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9th February 2013 Saturday at The Falmer Stadium: By any reckoning City should have come away with something from this game, a below par 1st half was more than made up for by a much better 2nd. The result left them in 4th place in the Championship on 53 points from 30 games. They are below Watford (3rd) on 53 points with Leicester in 2nd place also on 53 points. Brighton proved only better than City in one department, that of the ” taking wah chances department”. In fact City should have had a free kick for a foul out wide which was not given, seconds later Mr Atwell gave Brighton a free kick just outside the City box; the wall was ok but as Vincente struck the ball there was a push from a Brighton player which opened up the wall, the ball shot through to the back of the net. Robbed.

(Hull Daily Mail Report) Hull City missed out on the opportunity to reclaim second spot in the Championship as they fell to a cruel 1-0 defeat at Brighton this evening. An 83rd-minute free-kick from substitute Vincente was the fixture’s defining moment and condemned the Tigers to their first away defeat since November 10.

It was a harsh on City after dominating long periods of the second half. Robert Koren, David Meyler and Ahmed Elmohamady all had chances to open the scoring as the Tigers’ profligacy eventually paid a heavy price. Steve Bruce’s men rarely looked like conceding but fell to a late sucker punch when Vincente drove through a wall broken up by a push from a Brighton man.

With automatic promotion rivals Leicester falling to a 2-1 loss to rock-bottom Peterborough earlier in the day, City knew a point at the Amex would be enough to see them reclaim second spot.

Making just one change from the side that had won 1-0 at Millwall seven days ago, with Jack Hobbs replacing the injured Abdoulaye Faye, the Tigers picked up where they had left off with a well-drilled opening.

Containing their pretty hosts and striking on the counter, City were first to threaten at pace. Stephen Quinn’s threaded ball through to Koren brought a glimpse of goal but the covering tackle from Adam El-Abd was exceptional.

Brighton stuck to their passing principles and eventually began to turn the screw on their high-flying guests. A sweetly-struck drive from David Lopez required an acrobatic save from David Stockdale, before the City keeper was called into action again when tipping over from Andrea Orlandi’s free-kick. Leonardo Ulloa headed Bruno’s cross wide of the target just before the break but Brighton’s threats were being kept to a minimum by the resilience of City.

A lack of possession had limited the Tigers’ adventures but improvements after the break began to trouble Brighton. Inside the 61st minute, both Koren and David Meyler had chances to open the scoring. Quinn’s drive into the area ended with a low cross fired over by the stretching Koren, while Meyler could not hit the target when volleying Robbie Brady‘s deep cross wide.

Brighton had an even better chance at the other end. Vincente’s sumptuous pass down the line to Wayne Bride carved open City but when the ball fell to Andrea Orlandi, the midfielder lashed wildly over from 12 yards out.

Bruce responded by introducing both Nick Proschwitz and new signing Gedo but it was Robbie Brady who worked Tomasz Kuszczak with an ambitious drive from 30 yards. The Tigers sensed victory and Ahmed Elmohamady then came close when pressing on down the right. His low shot appeared destined for the bottom corner until Kuszczak pushed wide with an excellent stop.

Only one team looked likely to win it but, against the run of play, it was Brighton who broke the deadlock with seven minutes remaining.

A free-kick on the edge of the box was struck low by Vincente and neither a brittle wall nor Stockdale could keep it out.

City could not find the equaliser their play deserved and must now target a big week with three home games inside eight days.

Brighton: Kuszczak, Bruno  (Buckley – 73′ ), El-Abd( Booked), Upson, Bridge, Hammond  (Vicente – 59′ ), Orlandi, David Lopez, Bridcutt, Mackail-Smith  (Calderon – 86′ ), Ulloa. Bench: Ankergren, Calderon, Vicente, Dicker, LuaLua, Buckley, Hoskins.

Hull City: Stockdale, Chester (Booked), Hobbs, McShane, Bruce  (Evans – 29′), Koren  (Nagy – 71′ ), Elmohamady, Quinn, Meyler, Simpson  (Proschwitz – 71′ ), Brady,  Bench: Jakupovic, Rosenior, Evans, Cairney, Olofinjana, Nagy, Proschwitz.

Ref: Mr Attwell: Attendance: 25,367

Stats : City 49% : Shots Brighton 8 to City 16, (Of which those on target Brighton 5 to City 3) Corners Brighton 4 to City 7.

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19th January 2013 Saturday 3pm – Eleven Hundred or so of the Tiger Nation travelled in bad weather to Peterborough hoping that Saturday would see a return to the dazzling form witnessed against Leeds; we know we can play like that and all hope it happens sooner or later but some of the magic ingredients are not there at the moment so we have to wait. Maybe we are being sussed a bit as well and Steve Bruce needs to counter that when he has the team he wants on the pitch. The statistics for this game where massively in our favour but we never converted and we were always at risk of a sucker punch, so maybe we only got what we deserved. The talk is all about DJ Campbell from QPR, he would fit the bill and the sooner the better please.

Both teams lined up 3 – 5 -2, another indication we need to re-think.

Proschwitz had the first chance and it was from a Brady cross, he jumped and twisted but the ball just cleared the right hand side of the goal.

On 33 minutes it looked like Koren had scored City’s goal, but instead the dubious privilege went to Newell of Peterborough. Koren’s poor corner from the left was driven straight at the defender who clumsily stuck out a leg and his keeper had no chance.

City in the lead 0-1 then and they had enjoyed a good spell of possession for the previous 20 minutes or so.  McShane playing well (hoping for a new contract) and Brady getting a lot of play down the left. In fact by half time Stockdale had not needed to make a single save.

Things changed a bit in the 2nd half as is almost always the way with Hull City. Ferguson either cajoled his players or used a mini hair dryer but whatever, they picked up the game and City found they were doing more defending than threatening another goal on the board.

On 62 minutes Corry Evans came on for Jay Simpson as Peterborough came more into the game. Peterborough had made two substitutions and were pressing.

On 74 minutes Rosenior put in a good cross for Proschwitz but the keeper took it before it could get to his head and on 76 minutes a ball high in the air dropped near the goal and it was nicked off Proschwitz’s head by the keeper.

But on 78 minutes came the penalty for the home side, James Chester fouling Tommy Rowe, and McCann put it away 1-1.

Still time for City to score again and Bruce changed things on 84 minutes with Stewart coming on for Koren and Cairney on for Quinn. Neither Koren nor Quinn had stood out and

In the 85 minute City finally managed a bit of pressure in front of their fans, a chance in the box for Campbell and then a low header by McShane but straight at the keeper who stooped low to collect it.

A bit of action in the last few minutes then but not much in the previous 90 to warm any of the City fans. Proschwitz rounded his man on the edge of the box but shot straight at the keeper in the 93 minute, he should have done much better, and in the closing minutes the home side were hanging on. And again in the 94 minute it was Proschwitz with the last touch in the match who had a shot from the edge of the box again but miss-hit it just before the final whistle.

Not a god performance and a long way away from the form we have enjoyed; far too many missed chances (yes we know a decent striker is needed) maybe the pitch and maybe the cold told, but no injuries, a winter game out of the way and a point. We sit 3rd in the table after 27 games on 50 points, equal with Leicester who are 2nd with a far superior goal difference.

Hull City: Stockdale, Chester, Bruce, McShane, Rosenior, Meyler, Koren (Stewart 84), Quinn (Cairney 84), Brady, Simpson (Evans 62), Proschwitz. Unused substitutes: Jakupovic, Hobbs, Olofinjana, Faye.

Peterborough: Olejnik, Bostwick, Wootton, Brisley (Mendez-Laing 66), Little, Boyd, Petrucci (McCann 63), Newell, Rowe, Gordon-Hutton (Swanson 82), Gayle. Unused substitutes: Day, Alcock, Ferdinand, Knight-Percival.

Stats: Possession 47% Peterborough to 52% Hull City: Shots 7 Peterborough to 14 Hull City (of those 1 on Target for Peterborough and 8 on target for Hull City): Corners 1 for Peterborough and 6 for Hull City.

Referee: Mr Tony Bates (Staffordshire) Attendance 6214.

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12th January 2013 TV Late Kick-Off Game – City got their arses kicked in more ways than one by a battling flock of Owls and a weird set of events. Yes we need a good blunder-free goal keeper please and a damn good striker. Also, is the Manager of The Month Hoodoo real?

Dave Jones set his up his stall to disrupt any Tigers free-flowing football on offer as if the weather itself was not enough to do that. City didn’t stand up to those tactics; the referee seemed to ignore most of it and more to the point we played badly and well below our proven ability. Do we heap praise on Wednesday, yes I think we need to even though I still am not sure how it all happened. After all they were playing the tightest defence in the league and had not scored a goal in the previous three games!

In plain sight Jakupovic showed why Bruce never played him until he was forced to, any hope that a real quality goalkeeper could emerge was shattered by some appalling handling errors. He was eventually carried off after what looked like a kick to the head, but the ball had already gone over the line. He can do some instinctive shot stops (which must have caught the eye before), but he is unreliable at present. Hope the lad is ok, but Steve Bruce now has a goalkeeping problem made worse and another keeper is urgently needed as Oxley is cup-tied for Tuesdays FA Cup replay at Leyton Orient.

The Owls first goal in the 24th minute by Reda Johnson looked well offside but with current rules you can argue all night about it and still never agree. It is something football fans have to live with until something more sensible is put in place.

City seemed under pressure for most of the game and struggled to obtain or keep possession in their usual way. Koren got a goal back in the 83 rd minute with a lovely deft header and most City fans would then have settled for a draw, I would. But fate and speed did for us and 3 minutes later a battling Wednesday stormed our penalty area and from a corner the ball was fumbled by Jakupovic to earn himself an own goal (see above!).

After what seemed a lifetime (actually 14 minutes) the injured City goal-keeper was stretchered of and after some Tigers pressure Sheffield broke away at speed Michail Antonio made it Hull City 1 – 3 Sheffield Wed deep into stoppage time. Then with seconds to go City got a penalty, but for reasons best known to…someone, Jay Simpson took it and failed, a good example of how the day went really.

Playing away and getting 53% of the possession and more shots than the home team is testament to a whole-hearted display by the Owls and Dave Jones must think they have turned the corner.

Tigers remain 2nd in the league after 27 games on 49 points, but the chasing pack are snapping just 2 points from our heals, while the win lifted the Owls out of the relegation zone, just.

Hull City: (3-5-2): Jakupovic (Oxley, 90); Hobbs (Proschwitz, 80), Faye, Chester; Elmohamady, Evans (Simpson, 67), Meyler, Quinn, Brady; Koren, Aluko

 Sheffield Wednesday: (4-4-2): Kirkland; Buxton, Llera, Gardner, R Johnson; Lee, Coke, McCabe (Semedo, h-t), Helan; Antonio, J Johnson (Sidibe, 85).

Referee: Mr Haywood. Attendance 16531

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21st December 2012 Friday – The lads 4th win on the trot and 3 of those have been away from home with scores of 1 – 2 wins and they climb into a promotion place, equal on points with Cardiff; 23 games played 44 points. Battle hardened Tigers fans won’t get carried away but it is looking good.

A great night for the travelling supporters who saw their team a bit defensive in the opening exchanges but who held up the best Derby could do and then struck on 26 minutes with a goal from Captain Robbie Koren. This after a few scrapes and last-ditch tackles kept the likes of  Jacobs/Hughes & Co from scoring. It’s possible that was Steve Bruce‘s plan (?) to counter-attack against a skilful Derby side who play well at home and who were expected to come out guns blazing. City set up as usual in a 3 – 5 – 1 – 1 formation and  “got away with it” having a rooky in the goal and a re-arranged back three.

Koren’s goal came against the run of play; a Robbie Brady cross from left field along the the edge of the box was put away with precision.

It seemed Jakupovic had a few scary moments but grew in confidence as the game played out and Bruce must be pleased to have got the Swiss players first league game out-of-the-way. The goal he conceded on 45 minutes was no fault of his being an excellent strike. He had tipped over a Jacobs cross to concede a corner, from which the same player ended up netting with a great volley just outside the box taking advantage of Faye’s defensive header coming straight at him. Up to that point City’s solid defensive play had kept Derby at bay and this feature of the squad is a delight and spreads confidence throughout the team.

Although Derby would have thought they had momentum going into the 2nd half the Tigers solid defence, attacking quality and early 2nd half goal put a stop to thoughts of a home win.

That Senegalese man mountain got a signature goal which thrilled the City following on 50 minutes, getting up high at the far post he forced in a good solid header from a Robbie Brady corner from the right.

City came under pressure in the 2nd half but did look in any real trouble.

This was not the best the fans will have seen from City but heartening, knowing that changes had to be made and still the team functioned and came away with a decisive win. There was no way they would have let Derby take control and they showed what a team with the best away record in the division can do.

Derby County (4-5-1): Legzdins; Brayford, Keogh, O’Connor, Roberts (Davies, 87); Coutts, Hendrick, Bryson, Hughes, Jacobs (Robinson, 78); Sammon. Substitutes not used: Fielding (gk), Gjokaj, Freeman, Tyson, O’Brien.

Hull City (3-5-1-1): Jakupovic; Chester, Faye, Hobbs; Elmohamady, Meyler, Evans, Quinn, Brady; Koren (Cairney, 89); Simpson (Proschwitz, 76). Substitutes not used: Amos (gk), Rosenior, McLean, McShane, Olofinjana.

Referee D Sheldrake (Surrey) Attendance 25442

 

 

 

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