“We’re a better team on the front foot”
You just knew that that phrase was going to come back and bite Town manager Chris Powell on Saturday evening. Perhaps this little sound bite was a ruse in which to confuse our rotund friend down the M62? It seemed to work temporarily, as two sides who still looked like they were in pre-season mode, traded empty threats and nothing diagonal balls, until Town's old achilles heel struck again. Jason Davidson, making his debut slipped, which gave plenty of space to Hull wide man Elmo Showaddywaddy, who whipped the ball to the far stick, where Tommy Smith seemed to inexplicably stop tracking his man, who scored at the second attempt. Bollocks...
Those who have followed Huddersfield Town up and down the country would concur with the managers statement, but wouldn’t have been surprised to see a Town XI overloaded with defensive options, sit back and offer nothing for 45 minutes. Town worked hard without the ball and limited Hull to one chance in the first half, but were negligent in possession, and showed absolutely zero intent or nouse when they finally got the ball – it was like a session of pass the grenade, as not one player wanted the ball nor wanted to move for it. Frustrating...
Town who started in a 352 shape, and soon retreated to something that resembled a 5311 system, came out in the 2nd half and to their credit, had somewhat of a go with the ball. Yet Nahki Wells still looked starved of service, but at least the long punts in his general direction had stopped. It wasn’t quite so long since, that the giant Hull pairing of Davies and Dawson were tipped to be the cornerstone of the England defence. So what messrs Whitehead and Smith in particular, thought that 5ft7” Nahki, would do aerially against them was baffling. Yet, the midfield trio of Hogg, Butterfield and Whitehead picked up and started to dominate proceedings. Butterfield’s long range drive was well saved by McGregor to signal intent, but it was the introduction of Ishmael Miller which opened the game up…
Big Ish, Little Ish, Cardboard Box.
Miller who was deemed not fit enough to start, was a royal pest for Michael Dawson in particular. Now in a more attack minded 433, Town’s attack at last had some direction, and Miller was the focal point, who created opportunities for both Bunn who dragged his effort wide, and for Wells who failed to convert from a Miller pullback. When Davidson failed to convert from a Butterfield cross, you had the feeling that the opportunity was slipping away. Hull, a team who do possess a lot of quality at this level turned the screw, and sadly it was another defensive error that cost The Terriers the game. Another ball in from the right, and Joel Lynch made a hash of a clearance which fell to Chuba Akpom who smashed home with some Akpom aplomb, great finish. Town who had introduced Adam Hammill looked more ragged in a now 442 setup and failed to find something tangible to threaten their opponents, and in truth, it was the hosts who looked more like scoring afterwards. Smithies made a superb save to deny Clucas, as Powell’s troops whithered in the summer sun.
Smithies -6.5- Steady performance from Alex, aside from some bad luck on the goal had very little to do until late on where he made a top save.
Crainie -7- Many people were underwhelmed with the acquisition of Cranie, but at The KC was one of the leading lights in a mostly dim display. Solid.
Hudson -7- The Captain lead by example, and answered a lot of critics with a solid performance.
Lynch -6.5- An early injury seemed to throw Lynch out of his stride for spells, was looking fine though until his mistimed clearance.
Smith -5- Smith didn't look comfortable in position or possession. Reluctant to attack and defend, Smith was the consistent weak link in the Town backline, and will need to improve if he is to keep his place in the side.
Whitehead -6- Brought in for his game management, and for 20 second half minutes looked decent, but outside of that was lazy in possession.
Hogg -6.5- Combatitive as always, but slackness in possession set up both of the Hull moves from whence they scored.
Butterfield -6.5- Like Whitehead, played well in a 20-25 minute 2nd half period whereby he looked like the best layer on the pitch. Struggled in the first half though.
Davidson -6.25- Showed willingness to get forward and bags of enthusiasm, but final quality was lacking.
Bunn -6.5- Worked hard with little service, and offered an outlet. However, also lacked quality in the final 3rd.
Wells -6- Not a lot he could do with poor service.
Miller -7- Caused a lot of unrest in the Hull backline and made things happen for Town going forward.
Hammill -6- Offered little...
Dempsey -NA- Not on long enough..
Town entertain Notts County on Tuesday, and a cup run is vastly needed down in HD1. Town have not reached a Quarter Final of a competition since 1972, and our long suffering fans could do with a good run.
Town also need to get some of their key attacking players fit, because without Vaughan, Scannell, Lolley and a fully fit Miller, Town will struggle to keep pace in The Championship.