Hull 1-0 Bolton - Poor but 3 points nonetheless
Hull city struggled this afternoon against a very poor Bolton team, obviously lacking in confidence. City went into the game having taken just 1 point from 9 and their own lack of confidence showed.
City brought back Michael Dawson and his ability and leadership stood out like a beacon for all to see. Unfortunately he was injured again late in the second half and had to go off. David Meyler replaced the ineffectual Huddlestone and provided some much needed grit in midfield.
Akpom lead the line alongside Diame and provided the one bright spot in a dour struggle, slotting the ball home at lightning speed after a shot by Diame was parried. Diame was sluggish and poor for most of the game and should have been replaced much earlier. We had a 20 minute cameo by Snodgrass with one free kick which almost knocked a Bolton player out. Diamande came on for a few minutes but apart from one header in front of goal when surrounded by 2 Bolton players did have long enough to shine.
When I saw Maguire warming up near the end I thought Steve Bruce had heeded my plea to try him up front (remember when Terry Dolan converted Peter Swan from centre half to centre forward). Sadly it was because of the injury to Dawson but I still think the experiment is worth trying at some future date. Maguire, incidentally was very unlucky to lose his place after some very good performances.
City are clearly lacking in confidence and it needs all Bruce's managerial skills to lift them.
Diame needs a rest of at least a couple of games and it has to be said playing him as a striker just hasn't worked. Let's hope Diamande comes into the reckoning soon and Snodgrass continues to progress. The player I feel most sorry got is Maloney who must have thought he would get into the side more regularly.
I think most people in the ground were astounded by the referee who was inconsistent, whistle happy and infuriating for most of the game. He gave fouls which were clearly not, when players won the ball and missed 2 elbows in the face, one to Akpom which clearly infuriated him. The linesman(sorry assistant referee) on the west stand side in the second half gave 3 offsides which even in the south stand we could see were not. He also moved about 10 metres up and down in the whole of the second half never reaching the halfway line or the goal line. I just hope the referee assessor saw all this and marks both referee and his assistant accordingly. I know the weather was atrocious but that is no reason for the referee to be so poor.
Still 3 points is 3 points and with everyone else around them drawing City pushed above Derby on goal difference and drew closer to Brighton and Middlesbrough.
Please please please Steve get yourself a big centre forward in the January sales, Wood from Leeds would do nicely. If wages are a problem then let one or two (Aluko & Taylor) go out on loan.
Tony Atkin, 12/12/15