Friday, 17 July 2015

North Ferriby United 1 Hull City 2

Pre-season games are many things but rarely physical and rarely eventful. As it turned out, the annual “show piece” occasion at Church Road between North Ferriby United and Hull City was both.

Allan McGregor's first half view!

The big story before kick-off surrounded Robbie Brady who was absent with a transfer to Norwich City now seemingly close.

City lined up 4-4-2: McGregor; Chester, Dawson, Davies, Robertson; Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Meyler, Jahraldo-Martin; Aluko, Jelavic.

The Tigers obviously fancied strolling through their first warm-up game of the summer but were surprised by the physical approach of the home side who were
more intent on impressing than just gaining fitness. There were several tasty challenges and a number of niggly fouls that had tempers fraying throughout – peaking with a spot of handbags after Danny Hone chopped Sone Aluko in half and left him needing prolonged treatment.

To make things worse Hone, who would surely have seen red in a competitive game, headed Ferriby in front from a very disputed corner [1-0]. The City marking was poor – probably due to the resentment over the decision. You don’t want to bleat over meaningless friendlies but the officials did appear to have won their spots in a pre-game raffle.

City enjoyed the majority of the possession but failed to turn it into real chances. Ever heard that story before?

The home keeper Nicklin denied Aluko and Robertson from close range – the latter after a fantastic ball from Tom Huddlestone to release him – but didn’t have a great deal to do.

We know all about the senior City players and there wasn’t much to report on most of them. Jelavic was incredibly quite. Aluko looked bright but finished poorly. Robertson and McGregor went too long, too often.

Calaum Jahraldo-Martin impressed again as he did a year ago. He’s diminutive, very quick and exciting but there’s no visible end product. So that’s £49m in the bag, right?

Half time: North Ferriby United 1 Hull City 0

2nd half City: Jakupovic; Chester (Lenihan), Maguire, Bruce, Robertson; Elmohamady (Townsend), Dixon, Meyler (Clark), Jahraldo-Martin; Aluko, Luer.

The young substitutes brought a vibrancy to the Tigers that had been missing before the break and showed similar levels of desire to our hosts.

Most impressive was the lively Greg Luer who showed a great turn of pace and impressive movement to create several chances for himself and gave Nicklin (and replacement Nicholson) a testing time in the Ferriby goal.

Luer would grab the City equaliser when he followed up after Aluko’s free-kick hit the bar and then the goal line. Before the dozy linesman could make any decision – Luer headed in the rebound [1-1]. The free-kick came from a really petty foul on Elmo that got the punishment it deserved.

It was one way traffic in the second half with Elmo having a far greater effect on the game and Dixon and Clark passing the ball neatly in midfield. Max Clark was a solid left-back but he makes a very composed and athletic midfielder. If he doesn’t make it from our academy to the first team – I don’t know who ever will?

Several City corners added to the temperature on the field with pushing and shoving from defence and attack and cries of “Ref” here and there. From a deep Matty Dixon delivery, Alex Bruce thumped a header over Nicklin [1-2]. He enjoyed the moment too as he big smile attested.

Bruce Jr. wasn’t so happy a few minutes later when he appeared to hit out at a defender during the standard jockeying that precedes most corners. The Ref didn’t show him the red card because he didn’t have one but he did order him off. Those “You are the Ref” fans will know that the red card isn’t necessary in law - it just lets the crowd know what’s going on. Or who’s going off.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, City continued to dominate and only a miraculous save from Nicholson denied Luer a second goal. The keeper initially made a mess of a through ball but as Luer slid the ball towards the empty net, he somehow got back to boot the ball off the line.

Full time: North Ferriby United 1 Hull City 2

All in all it was an enjoyable if feisty affair at Church Road to kick off another season that is sure to be hectic. The depleted City squad meant that several young players got an opportunity to shine and in Clark, Jahraldo-Martin and Luer, we might finally have a chance of seeing some of our own progessing into the first team. Actually we bought two of them but we’ll gloss over that.

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