Match Reports of Sorts

Hull 1:1 Dons – 12/03/2016

Humber Bridge on route to HullIt’s getting to that part of the season where we know we’re probably not going to be treated to a feast of football, but when every match is that important that you really don’t want to miss a game.  Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, these are the games we’ll be talking about for years to come, not the sunny carefree days of earlier in the season.  All of that, plus the fact that it’s a new ground for us both, our attendance was a no-brainer, so Mrs B and I jumped in the car about 10:30 on Saturday morning to make our way up to wherever the hell Hull is.

Having said that, we very nearly didn’t make it, as it was only when I had a quick look to see whether there were any discounts for buying early that I discovered that you couldn’t buy on the day.  I’m remarkably badly organised, so often tend to leave everything to the last-minute, so it would probably be a good idea if the club went out of their way to make sure that fans knew that a match was all-ticket.  I’m not sure what Hull would have done if they’d have been presented with a couple of confused and angry Dons fans who’d managed to make the trip but hadn’t realised they couldn’t buy on the day.  I presume they’d find a way to let us in, but I wouldn’t want to test it.

Any way, nice enough journey, mainly as we came cross-country rather than the motorways, so Mrs B had to slow down, and I didn’t spend the entire journey with my eyes clenched tightly shut.  We went over the Humber bridge for the first time, and reminisced over previous trips to that part of the world – multiple trips to Lincoln and Scunthorpe, a couple of trips to Grimsby, including one four days before we beat them at Wembley in the JPT, and one to Doncaster.  Giggled quite a bit when paying to park (a fiver, which isn’t bad for parking just a short walk from the stadium) as I honestly could not understand a word the guy on the gate was saying.  He was really nice and friendly, and I felt more than a little guilty, as I had to keep asking him to repeat himself.

KC and the Sunshine Stadium
KC and the Sunshine Stadium

Anyway, five minutes walk to the ground, and a quick walk round to the away end.  A nice bar to grab a drink and watch the Man City v Norwich game, a quick circuit of the outside of the stadium to get a picture for the album, picked up a programme and then in.  Steak and Ale pie was good, and reasonable value at £3.30 – major points dropped with Mrs B for having run out of Cheese and Onion pies, but that serves her right for being fussy.

Big shout out to the team that put their program together by the way – it’s the most interesting and well put together programme that I’ve seen, and by a considerable margin.  There’s enough in there for home and away fans to make it well worth the three quid – well done people.  I usually buy a program at away matches, but they tend to go straight in the pile on the landing to be stored in the loft for future biographers.  This one was read from cover to cover.  And then put on the pile on the landing to be stored in the loft for future biographers, but that’s as it should be.

There weren’t that many of us that made the journey (no surprise there really 😉 ) – just under three hundred, but I think we did ourselves relatively proud, singing for most of the match and generally having a good time.  I was surprised that the home fans didn’t get behind their team more – they seemed to only spring to life to complain about time-wasting, some of which was totally justified, but a lot of which wasn’t.  We stifled them well in the first half, frustrated them, battled them and pretty much kept that up for 98 minutes.  We took the lead from a set-piece with a great header from Antony Kay (leading to a certain Mr Hovis having to pop to B&Q for some blue paint to paint his backside blue, but that’s a story for another day) – he had a great game and has continued to impress since his return.  We conceded within a few minutes, with a free-kick leaving Dave flat-footed.  The wall looked poor to me, but what do I know?  There were protestations from the bench (just for a change 😉 ) as they felt that there had been a handball in the run up to the free kick, but it was a bit disappointing to concede so quickly.

Welcome to Hull
Welcome to Hull

There fans were on Dave’s back from the first couple of minutes, and cheered loudly when he went down injured.  That was a little disappointing, but I was appalled by their player who chose to take a long shot at goal, with the keeper on the floor injured.  Thankfully Dave was able to catch it, even from his prone position on the floor, but it was a pretty scummy thing to do.  Shameful really.

Anyway, we clung on to the point, and I think we deserved it – any suggestion that we only know one way to play has been truly blown out of the water in recent weeks – we’re battling and fighting and stifling and time-wasting and digging-in in a way that we really haven’t managed to do before, and it’s great to watch.  Not the prettiest thing to watch, and I can understand why it frustrates the opposition, but you have to play to your strengths, and right now, that battling determination is our strength.

Hopefully Dave won’t be out for long, though I heard tell it was his hamstring – no other injuries on the day as far as I know.  I can’t see Hull getting promoted unless they fluke it in the playoffs – they’re just not good enough.  I also hope we end up playing them again next season, as they get really cross and whine like little bitches all through the game – that’s always entertaining.

A hard-fought point that was vital with results around us – bring on Brighton.

Match Reports of Sorts

Walsall Away – 8th September 2012

Well that’s not how it was supposed to happen

Walsall – always one of my favourite aways, and always one that I look out for when the fixture list comes out.  We usually take quite a few (for us of course) we usually do ok there, and with the possible exception of the time when they bricked our supporters coach, they’re usually pretty good hosts.  The sun was shining.  It was relatively close, so we didn’t even need to leave home till gone 1 and even Mrs Brando seemed relaxed and happy and looking forward to the trip.  Nothing could go wrong.

Except for the match of course.

It wasn’t a bad match to be honest – it was entertaining, if a little frustrating, but it wasn’t the feast of football that we’d like to become accustomed to, and that on occasions we look like we’re about to start delivering.  We started brightly and had a few good chances early on, but it needs to be said that this is the best Walsall side I’ve seen in recent seasons, and they defended fantastically throughout the match.  We had something like 20 shots, and while the keeper had to make a couple of saves, we really didn’t trouble him enough – everything we threw at them was blocked by a guy in a red shirt throwing himself in front of it.

We’re still working out our formation and I’m not sure Robinson knows what his best side is just yet, but I think we’re starting to settle as a team.  It’s difficult not to be a little bit nervous at our lack of threat up front, but we’ll have to trust in Robbo – we scored loads of goals last season (more than at any time in our illustrious history 😉 ) and that was without the standard 20 goal a season striker, but it’s the lack of clinical finishing in matches like this that could prove to be critical come the end of the season.

Anyway, the best way to sum up the match is as follows:

  • We huffed and puffed a lot but didn’t often look likely to score
  • Even though we had loads of shots
  • and hit the post
  • The ref was, imho remarkably one-sided.  We picked up five yellows and I’d suggest that most of those challenges wouldn’t have been worthy of a card in most matches, and it seemed to my admittedly biased eyes that similar if not worse challenges were going unpunished from the Saddlers

I’ve come away from the match nervous about Charlie McDonald’s state of mind – he looks nervous of the ball, and seems so scared of making a mistake that he’s playing like another midfielder, looking to create chances for others rather than looking to shoot.  If we’re going to be playing with just the one up front, then he needs to get his confidence back before we play him again.  This is one of the downsides to not having a reserve side anymore – we can’t stick him in the reserves until he’s got a few goals under his belt, so perhaps a stint out on loan to a lower division club might give him what he needs.  It was a strange decision to bring Lowe off to replace him with Charlie in a like for like swap – I’d have rather we switched to 4-4-2 at that point and played them both together, or brought Jabo on – he’s got a good record against Walsall, so I was surprised he didn’t get on the pitch.  It was really only once we switched to 4-4-2 that we started to look like scoring, and that was primarily due to Alan Smith throwing himself into everything like a madman.

On a more positive note, I’ve come away from this match recognising David Martin for the genuine entertainer that he is – his walkabout in the first-half was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in years topped only by the sheepish grin he had on his face when the danger had passed.  The fact that he did it again in the second-half, albeit less dramatically, makes him all the more special.  With him and Jimmy Bullard together in the squad, we’re looking good for the season :-).

Things I noticed this week:

  • The hill up to the away carpark is looking tatty – I have no idea why this is relevant
  • Something really upset my stomach this weekend, and I’ve got the pre-kickoff pasty as a prime suspect
  • Robinson needs to learn to shut up about referees – they’re hardly going to be looking to give us the benefit of the doubt in any situation if he’s off calling them all bastards at the end of each match
  • David Martin is a comedy genius
  • I love the Walsall accent
  • The guys in the programme aren’t as funny when they’re not taking the piss out of us

We should be looking to pick up points in matches like these, but a much improved Walsall side deserved the points.  Bring on Yeovil.