Hull v Cardiff. Comment

Last updated : 17 December 2023 By Paul Evans

I suppose that if the opposition are quicker, stronger, more skillful and want it more than you it should come as no surprise that you end up losing 3-0, like Cardiff City did at Hull this afternoon. However, it still was a shock to see City so comprehensively outplayed as their slump, both in terms of results and performances, continued. Hull were impressive today and could have doubled their score with a bit more precision in their finishing. It would be easy to conclude therefore that they were a likely top six finisher after watching them today, but were they really that good or was it a case of us being that bad?


Sadly, I tend to think it was more the latter. To be honest, I was more impressed by Southampton in their 2-0 win over us a fortnight ago than I was by Hull today.

If I’m being honest, it was hard to get too excited about being sixth in the table like we have been at various times during the autumn because I always believed we needed to have a brilliant January window to be able to maintain an interest in the Play Offs through to May, but, by the same token, getting to thirty points well before Christmas was a sign of definite progress being made after two very bad seasons.

Unfortunately, we were so bad today that the twenty or so points we need from here to be pretty certain of avoiding the drop will look very hard to attain if we keep on playing like we have done in our last three matches especially.

I reckon the thing we must not lose sight of is that if we are not as good as we looked in winning four out of four in September/October it should be equally true to say that we are not as bad as we’ve looked during December (don’t forget we were able to beat Millwall last weekend despite playing like drains).

City also had the partial excuse of being without three of their top four central midfielders this afternoon as Ryan Wintle joined Aaron Ramsey and Joe Ralls on the injured list. This presented Ebou Adams with the opportunity to play alongside Manolis Sipios in the middle of the park, but, as with a few City players, it proved to be a chastening afternoon for him.

City were on the back foot right from the start and just two minute had been played when Ryan Allsop’s long boot down the middle (had City forgotten in the four months since he left us that, as well as being able to play the shorter, sweeper keeper stuff, Allsop also has a kick like a mule?) flew over a square back four to Aaron Connolly who rounded Jak Alnwick, thankfully recalled in place of Alex Runnarson, and would have scored but for Dimitrios Goutas’ sprawling covering clearance.

Criminally, City remained susceptible to this most basic of ploys throughout the ninety minutes, indeed, the third goal came from such a pass.

Hull continued to swarm all over a timid City team that once again looked as if simple pass and move football was beyond them. Despite having Alnwick’s apparently weaker footballing skills behind them which resulted in slightly less playing out from the back, the favoured approach was still plenty of passing between the centre backs and sitting midfielders, but too much of it was backwards and to no purpose. Watching City players looking to pass the ball forward, but then deciding to check back and go back to either the keeper or nearest defender seems to be the pass most commonly played by the team, I know that can’t be true, but it doesn’t half feel as if it is!

Hull under Liam Rosenior are a passing team and the contrast in how they fulfilled that plan in comparison to our laboured and cautious efforts was marked. Not only that, the home side knew that they also had the successful long ball option to fall back on if needs be.

Liam Delap went to Stoke and Preston on loan from Man City last season with a big reputation and did surprisingly little, but here, playing out on the right, he had a very profitable afternoon and he soon had Alnwick scrambling to turn his twenty yarder around a post. Scott Twine got his eye in with a free kick which flew a yard wide with Alnwick helplessly rooted to the spot as the close misses piled up with City’s only response being a Rubin Colwill shot from a Yakou Meite cross which flashed a yard over when he maybe should have done better.

Although City were not looking as ragged as they did in the opening minutes, there were plenty of things happening to keep the home side hopeful that a goal was coming and it duly did in thirty one minutes when Delap got past Jamilu Collins (something that would happen with increasing frequency as the game went on) and his low cross was tapped in by an offside looking Connolly on the far post (a subsequent replay showed he was onside)..

The win against ten man Preston apart, City have been awful when trying to get back in the game after conceding the first goal this season and with their current lack of form and too many immobile forward players, it was hard not to start thinking that it was game over already. Given that we were only to have one on target effort all afternoon (a twenty yard shot by sub Kion Etete which drew a good save from Allsop when we were 3-0 down), I think I can now say I was right to believe that.

I won’t bother too much with the rest of the game except to say that two goals in three second half minutes rendered the last half an hour or so redundant. Twine, who scored from a free kick for Burnley against us in the final game of last season, did the same again as he netted from twenty yards from a set piece farcically conceded by the unfortunate Collins after a curious long back pass by Siopis which presented the home team with the ball well within shooting range brought to an end to another hesitant and tired looking attempt to play out from the back.

Shortly afterwards a neat lob over a stranded Alnwick by Tufan from another long ball completed the scoring and prompted a feeling that Hull felt they had done enough and decided to declare.

After the game, Erol Bulut questioned whether he had put his squad under pressure by talking about making the Play Offs, but I’m not sure about that – it seems to me that we still have too many players whose skill set is not strong enough to play to the level required to employ the passing game in the manner our manager wants us to.

There was a far better game than anything the first team has come up with recently at Leckwith last night when City took on Fulham in a Third Round FA Youth Cup game. Fulham, with their category one Academy team, are third in their league this season and would have been big favourites to win the tie. This they did, but only after a compelling and entertaining game in which they received quite a fright from a City side that could be proud of their efforts.

City led around the half hour mark through Trey George as he finished off a quality move from one end of the pitch to another. Shortly afterwards, Luke Armstrong saved a harshly awarded Fulham penalty and it began to look as if a shock was on the cards. This feeling only increased during an impressive start to the second period from City and then Armstrong made another great save when he tipped a long range shot on to the bar and over.

It was then though that the visitors put together a really nice move which ended with Fulham captain Joshua King sliding the ball past Armstrong to equalise. The last quarter saw both sides going flat out for a winning goal, but as it went into added time before a period of extra time, I thought City were edging it as sub Japhet Matondo was causing the visitors all manner of problems down the right.

A header by a Fulham defender was no more than a yard wide of being a possible match winning own goal, but, from the resultant corner, Luey Giles miscontrolled the ball on the edge of the penalty area and within seconds the play was up the other end as Callum Osmond scored the winner which proved such a sickener for City.

There was finally some football played in the Highadmit South Wales Alliance Premier Division today as top faced bottom with Treherbert Boys and Girls Club hammering Dinas Powys 11-0, but Ton Pentre’s autumn decline continued with a 2-1 home defeat by Porthcawl Town Athletic.

I must also wish ex City Academy member Tom Lockyer all the best following his collapse after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing  for Luton at Bournemouth today. The game was eventually abandoned after Lockyer was reported to be stable and alert, but today’s collapse follows his earlier one in the Play Off Final in May. After that Lockyer was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and had a pacemaker fitted before being giving the all clear to carry on playing, but I can’t help thinking that his career may be over tonight – obviously, his health must come first.