Robinson ensures all the positives are negative
Hull City 0 Blackburn Rovers 0
Sunday 13 December 2009
Searching for positives to take from this match, Rovers manager Sam Allardyce highlighted his side's defensive competence. It was certainly true that his goalkeeper Paul Robinson had relatively little to do, and what he had to do he did very well, but the predominant impression left by the game was how poorly Hull performed in a match they badly needed to win.
Consider. With the exception of an awkward midweek trip to Bolton, City's next few games are against Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United again. On this evidence, it is hard to see them picking up points from any of those.
By the time the talismanic Jimmy Bullard returns in an estimated six to eight weeks' time, the odds are that the Tigers will be caged firmly in the bottom three.
City's best chance came early, and as their manager Phil Brown pointed out, what a difference it might have made had Craig Fagan, put through by George Boateng, not side-footed his shot too close to Robinson.
Otherwise Blackburn looked comfortable, though Robinson had to save again when a Christopher Samba slip allowed Fagan to pick out Stephen Hunt on the left side of the area. Again, the shot was weak.
Blackburn's best chances came in the second half, and all fell to the substitute Nikola Kalinic, who in the space of five minutes drove a left-foot shot into the side-netting, saw City goalkeeper Boaz Myhill smother at close range, and then shot wide from inside the six-yard box. Both sides also had penalty claims turned down, and the Hull substitute Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink headed wide as Hull finally began to press for a winner.
"It was one of those games, a scrappy game by both teams – you tend to get sucked into a way of playing against Blackburn, instead of getting the ball down and playing, the way we have been playing of late," Brown said. "If we'd got that first goal through Craig Fagan, they'd have had to come out and be less cautious, and leave gaps at the back we might have taken advantage of."
Blackburn's manager Sam Allardyce reckoned the chances his team had created should have been enough to sneak the win. "We needed to call on Robbo in the first half, when Fagan had their best chance, but when Nico came on he carved himself out three good chances, without converting any. We're lacking a cutting edge, but we're getting the defensive side right, which is very important," he said. But not great to watch.
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the match: Robinson
Match rating: 4/10
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