LINES FROM LONDON V HULL CITY (H)



After the summer break it always feels like an eternity since the last competitive match but this year it really has been a very long time. I watched the underwhelming win against Harrogate but must admit to feeling a bit pleased that we won all three warm-up matches. I suppose that today we find ourselves being slight underdogs against newly-relegated Hull but that's where we are now and we have to get on with it and after all when there's a bit of a buzz about us possibly resigning Danny Graham, it's another reminder of how far we've fallen. I liked the look of O'Brien last Saturday and the Millwall fans definitely thought he was an asset while Xhemalji sounded very focused in the interview I saw yesterday though he won't be in the squad today. I really like Scowen and think he could become a crowd favourite, whenever we get a crowd that is. Grigg and Wyke have both got among the goals and that has to be a positive sign but of course we still need more firepower. I don't know if Honeyman will be playing for Hull but let's hope he has an off day. I'll be watching the match on SAFSEE with a couple of the faithful and am looking forward to it. Match prediction: 2-1 to us.

I got to my friends' home, opened a cool Heineken and we got the match on the telly. Honeyman was starting for them and of our new boys only O'Brien was starting. Wright is an old boy in my book. We started very brightly with a Power effort being cleared off the line in the first minute and after winning a corner, Grigg had the ball in the net but O'Nien was ruled offside. In the sixth minute Maguire should've scored after more good work from the busy Grigg but his low shot went wide of the right post. We continued to dominate and six minutes later a neat flick from O'Nien was well saved. Not long afterwards another O'Nien effort was scrambled away and we were playing with confidence. Commentators Barnes and Bennett observed that Power was playing further forward than he used to last season while Dobson was deeper. It remained goalless at the half-hour mark and I wondered if we'd fall into the trap of starting brightly but failing to score and then conceding a sucker-goal as we'd done so often in recent years. I thought we'd finished with that drinks break business but obviously not and I can't say I'm keen on them. Eaves was replaced by Lewis-Potter after sustaining an injury. When play was resumed, O'Brien went on a fantastic run with a pirhouette en route and this resulted in a corner but we failed to make anything of it. O'Brien should really have done better just afterwards when he was put through one on one with the keeper Ingram but he put his low shot wide. With three minutes to the break Hull won their first corner but it was headed wide. It was 0-0 at half-time and though Burge hadn't had to make a save, we should've capitalised on the chances we'd created. I hoped to see Wyke on after a while to give us more of an aereal threat in their box.

There were no changes as we kicked off again. We started as we'd left off and O'Brien again displayed some nifty footwork resulting in another corner for us and then a Hume header went not far over. Ten minutes in we got the Hull defence on the back foot with a sneaky low corner but Hume's hesitation created a swift break from Hull that Willis thankfully managed to clear. The hour mark came and went and we'd made no changes. In the sixty-eighth minute a great move down the right fed Grigg who reacted quickly to slot it into the net but the replay showed that he was clearly offside. At any rate he was definitely a lot sharper than I'd ever seen him. With just less than fifteen minutes left Gooch and Wyke replaced Maguire and O'Brien so I hoped we could nick a winner without us having to go to penalties. There'd be no extra time apparently. Hull were starting to get into the game more but Burge still hadn't made a real save. Wyke had a decent low shot that Ingram grabbed at the second attempt and my mate said it was looking like penalties, a sentiment that Benno on the commentary echoed a few seconds later. The dying minutes were largely uneventful and then four minutes of added time were announced to the empty stadium – for some daft reason it'd never really occurred to me that the players listened to such announcements. I thought we'd conceded a penalty but was relieved to see it was only a free-kick. Burge punched it away but we immediately conceded a corner. That was it and we were into a penalty shoot-out. Hull had looked like they couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo and I hoped that they'd continue in a like manner but suspected that was too much to hope for.

Grigg took the first for us and it was a really bad one as he hit a weak shot straight at Ingram who blocked easily. Wilks got their first, Power banged our second in no bother and then Smallwood struck their second into the bottom left corner. O'Nien rolled our third in but Samuelsen scored their third before Maguire got our fourth. Honeyman struck their fourth into the same bottom left, Wyke slammed in our fifth and finally Hull won it 5-4 with Lewis-Potter sticking it into the bottom left yet again. We only have ourselves to blame as we dominated three-quarters of this match and squandered plenty of opportunities to win it.


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