Andy Munro reports on Blues’ pulsating 3-3 draw at home to Hull.
I suppose we should have seen this coming with Hull starting a little run of their own and having just beaten the Baggies without conceding. Also, missing Gary Gardner and Jacques Maghoma didn’t exactly enhance our prospects. Still, it was a chance for a couple of young bloods to stake their claim in starts for Messrs Mahoney, Lakin and, eventually, Soloman Otabor.
In truth, the first half was a fairly turgid affair with the Tigers fairly timid in their approach play and Blues players lacking both urgency and half decent ball control. Yet a team that had not conceded against free flowing Albion made two horrid mistakes in succession to give Blues a slightly flattering two nil lead. In both cases, the powerful Che Adams netted with the second one particularly well taken.
So at half-time there was a rummaging around for pipe, slippers and smoking jacket but Bluenoses were in for a shock as Hull came flying out of the blocks. The first was caused by their wide man having too much room to put it into the danger area for Campbell to score.
Too many times this season the Blues fullbacks have been too narrow giving the opposition too much time to either centre or dribble through into the danger area. The second by Campbell was a bit scrappy and Lee Camp was, well, Lee Camp.
At that stage Blues were unlucky not to restore their lead when the Juke looked like he had scored but the ball was just about cleared. Unfortunately, Hull were the team to gain ascendancy when they scored a brilliant free kick..one which couldn’t be blamed on Camp but one wonders if Kuscak could have saved it.
Luckily, despite a below par performance Monk’s men are made of stern stuff and kept plugging away for Adams to be Johnny on the spot to claim the match ball.
Apart from the front two, nobody could be satisfied with their game and Lakin flattered to deceive but at least was busy and didn’t hide. However, particularly when Jota went off injured the two young wingers were disappointing and never took on the opposition with any gusto…Mahony was tepid and Otabor displayed the sort of touch last seen many years ago in Division 10 of the Birmingham Works League.
An on fire Villa next, and the threadbare nature of our squad is beginning to show. If Jota and Maghoma are fit, they have to play as does Craig in the absence of his brother. If any of them are missing, it would seem sensible to bring in Wes Harding for his defensive pace and push up Pedersen as a wide midfielder. Either way, it’s going to be a tough task and it really is beginning to look like Paupers v Princes in terms of the value of both teams and the resources at each manager’s disposal.