Yesterday’s 2-1 defeat at home against Hull City was an odd one for me personally, and I think that’s where I have to start.
You know full well had that been a normal afternoon, with 10,000 in the Bank, the atmosphere would have been utter madness. I think the result might well have been different too, but these are ‘Covid times’ we live in meaning an empty stadium. Sadly, Covid also ruled me out of action yesterday, albeit in job form.
I missed Match Day Live, something that was very tough as I have done every one with Sam since the start of the season. By the time it went on air, I was in bed and I emerged only at 3pm to watch the game, before scurrying back to my pit afterwards. There was no report, no reflection, I didn’t even change the player rater on the site. Hell, you know things are not good when I don’t even think about writing on here.
I’ve woken up this morning still a little groggy, but certainly better. However, I’m not going to go on a blow-by-blow account of the game, it’s too late when most proper outlets already have their full report out there. Instead, I’ll pick up on a few key points and my overall observations of the game. I haven’t been on social media since the final whistle so I don’t know if these thoughts align with those of others, but then I suppose that’s the point of the site, right? You don’t want me to just rehash what everyone else says.
Personally, I was proud of our team yesterday, Hull were the most organised side we have come up against and I felt we deserved to win the game. The early goal was really disappointing and if I’m being harsh, I thought it might have been defended better. Magennis isn’t a good striker (he’s not the best at Hull, let alone in League One) and maybe Montsma could have come and met the ball a little quicker when it was delivered. Maybe we could have stopped the cross too, but hats off to the Hull players it was a decent delivery and Magennis did finish well. I was worried a bit at that stage, Hull looked bang up for it, and it felt a bit like the Peterborough game earlier in the season.
After that, we got a grip on the encounter and certainly enjoyed more possession, but without any really telling play. I don’t think we were bad, not at all, but I do think they knew how to stop us. We went from side to side, we went down the flanks and back, but did we really create anything of note? Conor McGrandles, a shining light in recent weeks, miskicked our best opportunity. That’s no slur by the way, he was excellent again and has a knack of arriving in the box at just the right time. The point is Hull kept us quiet, but they didn’t really threatened much themselves. It felt to me as if they thought one goal was enough, and were happy to shut up shop.
There was a bit of talk about George Honeyman too, a player who certainly wound up our supporters watching on iFollow. There’s a train of thought he could have been sent off, but not for me. Remember MK Dons a few weeks ago, when Brennan Johnson could have been sent off and wasn’t? This was the same sort of thing, only it went for the opponent not our lad. I didn’t think Sam Purkiss was a poor ref, he let things go which others might have punished, but if it goes in our favour then we’d be raving about him. Yes, Callum Morton got a battering at times, and maybe Magennis’s boot was high for the goal, but flip the teams around, put us as the scorers and their centre froward as the one getting roughed up a bit and nobody complains. As for Honeyman, he was trying to referee the game, as Bridcutt does when he is on. It is what influential players do, and we might not like it against us, but I don’t have any complaints. My only gripe was the shoulder challenge with Edun, never a free kick, not that it came to anything.
Right before half time we could, and should have made it 1-1, but again I’m not going to moan about the chance being missed, I thought we kept to our game plan and got the opportunity our play deserved. It didn’t go in, but we are consistent and approach the game the same every time.
At half time, whilst I knocked back the paracetamol and a pint of water, I pondered on the fact Hull would be promoted if the score stayed the same. We were, in my opinion, matching a side destined to play second-tier football next season, probably with much the same squad as they have now. Remember, that is without arguably our two strongest centre backs, without our captain and our number nine, and with a semi-fit Jorge Grant making his first start.
It is easy to say ‘if’, but if we had kept all those players fit and functioning, then in my eyes, yesterday is simply a title decider between two teams already on the verge of promotion. You can talk to me about too many home defeats all you want, but had this team not been ravaged by injury, we don’t lose to Fleetwood and Rochdale at home, we don’t draw with Swindon and I’m almost certain we beat Accrington too. I know it is an ‘if’, but genuinely if your first thought after yesterday’s game is one of negativity, then you astound me.