As it was a week ago, the second half became a much more open affair without anything clear cut for either side. The first serious action of the half saw Morgan Rogers pick up a yellow card for a foul on Coyle. Shortly after nice work down the attacking left saw Jones deliver a teasing cross which again, nobody was on the end of.
Hull had the better of the play in the middle period of the half, with Docherty one player I’d be happy to see in red and white. He had a drive deflected wide on 60 minutes after we nodded a free-kick away, driving wide two minutes later after picking up the ball 25-yards out.
City were more cohesive in the second period, with not as many passes going astray, but we still didn’t get into our passing game. Credit to Hull, they pressed hard and we often found ourselves with possession across the back four, but were rarely able to trouble the hosts. On the occasions we did find a way through the back door, we just lacked the clinical edge that Sky commentators credited us with on Friday night.
Michael made two changes on 62 minutes, looking to freshen up our wide areas, with Cohen Bramall making his debut, and Regan Poole coming on for his second appearance in Imps colours. Whilst it did give us some energy, it didn’t change an awful lot – Hull still kept us penned into certain areas and yet we remained stoic and organised too.
On 66 minutes a rare foray from Brennan Johnson saw him break into the area in the attacking left, pulling a little backheel to Jones, but the former Crewe man fired over. It was now City in the ascendency, and on 73 minutes a great chance [presented itself from a corner. Grant’s delivery caused some uncharacteristic panic amongst the amber and black shirts, but Tom Hopper couldn’t get it out from under his feet, eventually finding Jones, who lost possession for another corner. Sadly, that came to nothing.
Morgan Rogers created the next Imps effort, teeing up Jones who had certainly got into good areas, but once again his effort failed to test Matt Ingram in the Hull goal. The Tigers quickly broke up the other end, with Docherty playing Elder in behind. The full-back looked to pull the ball back to Lewis-Potter, who turned smartly but fired narrowly over. Once again, defence switched to attack and Johnson finally got a decent run at goal, putting the only Imps shot on target at Ingram’s goal. The stopper parried the effort, and it dropped just behind the onrushing Hopper.
It was the last meaningful chance for City, and in the final ten minutes if anyone was likely to break the deadlock it was Hull. Their best chance came when Rogers gave away a free kick on the edge of the area, five yards from the touchline, but Honeyman’s delivery was easily dealt with by the resolute Imps defence.
Ahead of the game, I would have taken 0-0, I predicted it here on the site too. It always felt like a game which would have a deadlock and nothing during the 90 minutes could convince me otherwise. I think I heard a stat that in 90 minutes there had been 21 efforts at goal with just one on target. Certainly, Alex Palmer didn’t have a save to make, which isn’t bad considering we were playing a team still packed with Championship talent. Mind you (and I can say this now because I won’t curse the game), I felt before the game that Magennis was a striker I’d love to see start, because he offers so little up top in a side that cried out for a proper forward.
To a certain degree, we needed an alternative tonight too. Hopper worked hard, as he always does, but too often he had to come deep to get the ball and at least three decent crosses went begging when a traditional nine might have connected. Callum Morton comes back to the club this week and might be in contention by the end of the month – that’s going to be huge because it gives us a viable nine if we need something different. I’m also surprised Michael didn’t look to bring on Anderson or Scully late on as Rogers tired, or for Johnson who did drift in and out this evening. That said, securing a point was decent and maybe he felt consistency up top allowed us to be resolute in the final 15.
I thought Rogers looked good tonight, he definitely causes problems and a team not quite as efficient as Hull won’t cope with his trickery and pace. I would also point to the pitch as being a reason we didn’t quite look sharp, but it was the same for both sides. I suppose the difference is they play on it every week, and thankfully we don’t have to.
A word to the centre-halves tonight too, once again they were absolutely excellent. I remember the question being asked of them when Montsma first got injured, how would they play together? I think the answer is there for us all to see – very well. Joe Walsh is an absolute warrior, a man who constantly puts his body on the line, whilst Jackson matches that energy and commitment alongside him. Montsma is a top centre half too, but he is going to have to be patient as the clean sheets keep piling up away from home.
Remember, Doncaster lost at Fleetwood tonight, and whilst Pompey and Peterborough both gained points on us, they did so against opposition they were perhaps expected to beat. Accrington lost, Sunderland lost and the teams coming up from the middle of the pack, Oxford, Plymouth, MK Dons and Shrewsbury all won. This weekend, as we host an Accrington side who haven’t won at Sincil bank since 1947, Hull host MK Dons, Doncaster go to Sunderland and Pompey and Peterborough have tricky ties at Crewe and Blackpool respectively. There are no easy games, there are no free hits, and the key to success is not giving up too many points to the teams around you.
Well, we have come through another tough little run with a decent number of points, enough to hold off the challengers for yet another week, so I can go to bed happy.