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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Match Report: Mauled by the Tigers

By Paul Traill :  26/11/2009 :  Comments (11) :

“Thank God” I finished an hour early” I though out loud as I ducked and dived through busy rush hour Manchester traffic on the M60. Once I was finally on the M62 it was reasonably straightforward to Hull. I lived in Hull three or four years ago actually quite near the KC Stadium so I parked directly outside my old house and headed down the road to one of my old watering holes in Hull…The Polar Bear.

After a quick beer and then a quick chippy it was onward to the KC Stadium, taking my seat towards the left hand side of the away section…near the Hull fans, you know in those “I get to take the piss out of the away fans seats”.

I timed it pretty well and the teams came out pretty just as I sat down. I saw Yakubu and Saha began in attack and was pleased to see Cahill back in central midfield but then as the team took shape -“what’s this Rodwell on the right wing?”. That’s a stunner. On the flip side having Stephen Pienaar back in the team brought some much needed relief…how we’ve missed him.

The guy seemingly central to Hull’s revival, the ever-wacky Jimmy Bullard didn’t take to the field and I got a tingle of confidence with us having two up top against Hull’s dreadful defence. The referee was Martin Atkinson.

Up until Hull’s first goal I felt we’d started reasonably brightly, forcing the tempo of the game and playing some reasonably neat if not spectacular football. This only lasted all of eight minutes however when a ball forward found a Hull shirt on the left hand side with plenty of space. Perhaps if Neill would have put a bit of pressure on the player rather than totter over there, letting him cross the ball this may have been averted . But he didn’t. The cross came in and wasn’t cleared. The ball broke to Altidore who’s shot was well saved by his American counterpart Howard. It wasn’t enough though as the ball broke back to Stephen Hunt who finished calmly to put Hull ahead before unnecessarily fist-shaking us away fans. Oh no. Eight minutes and already you felt this looked daunting.

Hull City didn’t take long to double their lead when a ridiculous decision by Atkinson allowed Andy Dawson to beautifully spank home a free kick. I bet he’s never scored a goal like that in his life. This was getting bad.

The referee excelled in it all though. Its always easy to moan about referees after you’ve lost a game but I swear I’ve never seen so many decisions go in one sides favour in my life. I think he’s got it in for us that Atkinson. I seem to remember him screwing us against Aston Villa last season, and he couldn’t wait to get Felaini in the book to miss a Merseyside derby also. This doesn’t disguise or excuse our shocking display by the way but does need pointing out.

I think it was still 0-2 when we forced our only chance of the first half – Distan heading over from a corner with a really decent opportunity, though overall we were probably slightly fortunate to just be 0-3 down at the break. Hull pressed and harried – we didn’t. Hull got stuck in – we didn’t. Acutally I don’t know what we did do in the first half. The third goal came when Baines and Yobo failed to clear and the ball came back to Dean Marney who’d shot deflected off Cahill and in past the helpless Howard. Cahill shouted at Baines. A Lucozade bottle was chucked on the pitch, programs were hurled and the Hull fans did a shameful arms flailing ‘tiger maul’ dance whilst singing “You’re getting mauled by the tigers”. This was becoming too much. The Hull fans sung..loud…at us..Everton were stunned into silence. Hull started singing “Feed the Scouse”, a version of “Red, red, wine” for some reason and the shameful “0-0…and you fucked it up”. This was getting too much and I was relived to hear the half time whistle. This was just horrible and could only get better surely.

Well better it did get but more through Hull’s awful defence than Everton’s intuition. Gosling appeared for the second half in place of Yakubu as Moyes reverted to the more tried and trusted 4-5-1. We got just the sort of break we needed when a cross in from the left, I think from Baines was sliced horribly into his own net by Zayatte. Everton began to sing…Hull ironically cheered…come on you blues.

It was quite steady and patient from Everton without too many chances but tons of possession in the second half. Baines tied his luck from distance but not a lot was going on. Jo replaced Rodwell. Atkinson continued to blow his whistle and point against us whenever a Hull shirt went down but at least we were battling. Cahill clipped a lovely ball through for Saha who took a touch and ran at goal before being brought down by Zayette. Really that should have been a red card I thought as he was through on goal. Anyway we had a penalty and then Atkinson really got up my nose, making Saha wait, and wait, and wait as he unnecessarily patrolled the penalty area at zombie pace to ensure every player was outside the box…I’m convinced he did it on purpose. Regardless Saha scored, sending Duke the wrong way. 3-2 with still half an hour to play…surely we could do this.

Do it we didn’t. Despite plenty of possession and lots of neat link up play between Pienaar, Banes, Saha and at times Heitinga it was the weight of defensive numbers and bias refereeing that undid Everton. Balls into the box just wouldn’t quite fall for a blue shit and you sensed the goal wouldn’t come. We had a chance to do something in the very last minute when we got ourselves a free kick. Heitinga went up to the keeper to put him off with mind-games but he needn’t have bothered as all Baines did was crack the ball into the wall. One final attack was hoofed clear by Dawson to signal the full time whistle.

A bit more spirited in the second half it may have been and the referee was a joker tonight yes, but its impossible to ignore how inept we were in the first half. It was nowhere near good enough and drawing upon Moyes and Heitinga’s post-match comments at least they haven’t ignored that fact.

I hope for salvation on Sunday in the Merseyside derby but I go there with trepidation, despite how poor Liverpool have been of late. I just can’t see us winning, I can’t see us not conceding but you know what they say – it’s a funny old game.

Player Ratings:
Howard: Played as well as anyone I guess and was helpless with the three goals. 7
Baines: Diabolical first half but an improved second period. 5
Yobo: Probably the pick of the defenders. 6
Distin: Missed a good chance and distribution was sloppy. After initial promise he’s now starting to look a little lost. 4
Neill: Not good. I hope Hibbert’s in for the derby. 4
Heitinga: Still possesses some moments of madness but showed more leadership than most at least and certainly more than our stand-in skipper. 6
Pienaar: One of the better players. Showed many nice touches and was too quick-thinking for them. Has definitely been missed…big time. 7
Rodwell: Awful but hopelessly out of position in the first half and was subbed early in the second. 4
Cahill: Good assist for the penalty but that’s about all he did. Got booked for standing still seemingly also. Not a good night for our stand-in captain. 5
Yakubu: Was living off scraps. Didn’t exactly deserve to be subbed at half time but Moyes had to change something. 5
Saha: My man of the match. Unsettled the defenders no-end and at times he must have prayed for a bit more quality service. 7

Subs:
Gosling (for Yakubu): A few little sparks but generally not good. Worst bit was a pass to Neill from a throw in. Neill can’t have been more than three yards away but somehow Gosling got the ball out for a throw in to Hull. Just not good enough for a footballer, never mind a Premiership one. 4
Jo (for Rodwell): Did very well. Used the ball intelligently and put himself about. I guess that puts him in contention for the derby. 7


Reader Comments

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Chris Butler
1   Posted 26/11/2009 at 22:23:41

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Let's be honest here lads we don’t even look like winning any games anymore. In my eyes i just hope for a draw on sunday. Bar getting jammy 1 0 wins through the whole season I can’t see us going any way forward.
Michael Parrington
2   Posted 27/11/2009 at 03:28:32

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As always an interesting write up and a pretty fair report on what has got to be one of the most disappointing games to watch for a while.

I hope that this is a pre hangover for this weekend, or the game where players finally realize they have to put in the effort if they dont want to be playing championship football next year. I cant point at the manager for everything, if he sends them on the pitch to do a job then the least that they could do is try, they do get paid bucket loads of money after all!

The referee was a joke with 2 exceptionally bad decisions that could have given us a result, especially a sending off allowing us a man advantage for the last 30 mins. However, with the effort of many players in the first half a loss is exactly what they deserved.

I’m looking forward to Pienaar getting back to full fitness as he does give us that little bit extra, but think you have been rather generous with some of your player ratings otherwise.

I’d expect we’ll be seeing Fellaini, Hibbert and Billy back for the Derby and probably Rodwell (he needs a rest), Neill and Yakubu back to the bench, reverting to the Moyes standard 4-5-1. Although Saha was limping again towards the end of the Hull game and I hope that doesnt mean Jo starts even if he was better against Hull.
Lin Jinli
3   Posted 27/11/2009 at 04:13:53

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I can’t believe David Moye is still playing his 4-5-1 then after switch to a 4-4-2. I really hope David Moye will listen to us man.

Howard = Give him a Break, i say let Nash play
Baines = Does he play like a FB? i say no, the way he play is totally an Winger! (put him on ML and he will do his job well)
Neill = Put him on LB and tell him to Defend!
RB = Bring on the old Hibbert, he may be old but he get the job done, DEFEND!
Pienaar = Should just play MR

With all the player avail to us, David play like something like this to bring out the player Strength on the next match
-------------------Nash--------------
Hibbert---Yobo---Distin---Neill
-----------------Heitinga---------------
Pienaar-------Fellaini------Baines
-------------Cahill----------------------
------------------------Yakubu----------

Sub : Howard/Gosling/Rodwell/Saha
Russell Buckley
4   Posted 27/11/2009 at 04:47:29

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Nash?

We are desperate but that would have me scared shitless. Buffon wouldn’t have been able to do much better then Howard did. I’m not saying he has gone well but no goalkeeper outt there would be able to stop the flood of goals our defence has been leaking recently.

My thoughts are that Yobo and Distin have been well below their normal standard. Having watched both Neil and Heitinga excel as cb in the past I’d be tempted to replace both Yobo and Distin. My team would be:

Howard
Hibbert ----Yobo----Neil-----Baines
Heitinga
Pienaar----Fellaini-----Rodwell ----Bily
Saha----Yak’

Bench allows us to shuffle the team at half time depending on the score. I’m an aussie and a huge Cahill fan but I think he may be whats needed as an impact sub for this game.

Russell Buckley
5   Posted 27/11/2009 at 04:47:29

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Nash?

We are desperate but that would have me scared shitless. Buffon wouldn’t have been able to do much better then Howard did. I’m not saying he has gone well but no goalkeeper outt there would be able to stop the flood of goals our defence has been leaking recently.

My thoughts are that Yobo and Distin have been well below their normal standard. Having watched both Neil and Heitinga excel as cb in the past I’d be tempted to replace both Yobo and Distin. My team would be:

Howard
Hibbert ----Yobo----Neil-----Baines
Heitinga
Pienaar----Fellaini-----Rodwell ----Bily
Saha----Yak’

Bench allows us to shuffle the team at half time depending on the score. I’m an aussie and a huge Cahill fan but I think he may be whats needed as an impact sub for this game.

Michael Parrington
6   Posted 27/11/2009 at 06:14:56

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Russell, i’m sure that Moyes would be with you on the team selection that you suggest, but i’m also sure that FIFA only allow 11 players on each team and not 12..... That is unless your Hull and your 12th player wears black and is called Atkinson.

Even though it should work going 4-4-2 and should make us look better going forward, I dont think Moyes will entertain the idea for the Derby. I cant see him doing anything but the 4-5-1 formation with Fellaini just behind the lone forward.

The jury is still out on Neil but I suppose you could say the same about Distin at the moment as well. Perhaps Neil should be given a go with Yobo in the middle, but i’ll bet Moyes opts for the speed and physique of Distin in the Derby.

Totally agree on the Nash v Howard question. That is there shouldnt be any question Howard is by far our best option.
Michael Parrington
7   Posted 27/11/2009 at 06:14:56

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Russell, i’m sure that Moyes would be with you on the team selection that you suggest, but i’m also sure that FIFA only allow 11 players on each team and not 12..... That is unless your Hull and your 12th player wears black and is called Atkinson.

Even though it should work going 4-4-2 and should make us look better going forward, I dont think Moyes will entertain the idea for the Derby. I cant see him doing anything but the 4-5-1 formation with Fellaini just behind the lone forward.

The jury is still out on Neil but I suppose you could say the same about Distin at the moment as well. Perhaps Neil should be given a go with Yobo in the middle, but i’ll bet Moyes opts for the speed and physique of Distin in the Derby.

Totally agree on the Nash v Howard question. That is there shouldnt be any question Howard is by far our best option.
Stephen Kenny
8   Posted 27/11/2009 at 09:04:40

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Why not just play Howard and Nash? What do you think russ?
Ciarán McGlone
9   Posted 27/11/2009 at 09:28:56

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I see, that despite the evidence, people still think it’s a good idea to play an average right back in such a crucial position as defensive midfield...

And Lin, the reason why Moyes is playing a 451 is because we have sod all quality in midfield and need the extra man to make up for this..
Mike Gwyer
10   Posted 27/11/2009 at 10:43:52

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Me.

I’m just hoping to see three consecutive passes between the blue shirts. Yipee for four passes.

and..

Yobo not kicking the fuck out of the football. Yobo actually looking for a blue shirt and not his mum in row Z. Finally, Yobo not going into a full on snooze then realizing the forward is about to score.

I gave up long ago on predicting what 8 defenders the Moyes man will select.


Joe McMahon
11   Posted 27/11/2009 at 20:40:31

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Paul- I loved The Polar Bear- had many, many good hours in their whilst at Uni in Hull, that & Spiders. And yeap, I was one of the very few Evertonians there, full of Liverpool & Man U. I remeber wathchin Big Dunc & Rideout on the large screen in the Uni Bar destroy Liverpool..................Huh, not gonna be repeated on Sunday me thinks.

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