Peter Swan: Hull City must learn to be ruthless to win automatic promotion
HAVING comfortably beaten Huddersfield Town 2-0 at the KC, Hull City should have learned a few invaluable lessons.
Playing against a side who they allowed to look better than they were, City should really have done more to kill off their rivals.
As it was, the Tigers allowed them to have a foothold in the game for far too long, but fortunately it did not end up proving costly.
Make no mistake, Huddersfield are not a good side and they had to resort to pumping it long in the end because they could not play it through midfield, as City were just far too strong in that department.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
They had no real threat in attack, either, which you would have expected with the players they’ve got like Jermaine Beckford and James Vaughan.
But until David Meyler’s goal made it 2-0 in the dying stages, City allowed Huddersfield to believe they could snatch a draw.
Considering the number of chances City made, especially from crosses into the penalty box, that should never have been the case.
On reflection, if City had scored again in the first half it would have gone on to be a 4-0 or 5-0 win. But after dominating the first ten minutes, they took their foot off the pedal and it wasn’t the most exciting game to watch because of it.
Realistically, the result was never in doubt and City were never in any real danger, but they need to learn how to kill teams off. Otherwise, better teams will make them pay for their missed chances.
It’s a risky strategy to leave a side like Huddersfield in the game because you could have seen them nicking a goal. They’d have been delighted if they did and that shows how fine a line you are treading in this division. The difference between winning and losing is usually defined by your ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
The number of balls City get into the box is frightening. But it just goes to show they need someone who has the experience and who can get into good positions to bang a few of the opportunities away.
With the January transfer window on the horizon, City have to be in the market for a striker. An experienced Premier League striker who is at the wrong end of their career and wants to finish by scoring some goals would fit the bill perfectly.
In the meantime, City would benefit massively from a few clever runs from their current forwards.
On Saturday, there were too many times when Robert Koren, who was my man-of-the-match, and Jay Simpson made similar runs. But what they need to do is get across the defender to the near post to put away some of the crosses Ahmed Elmohamady is firing into the box.
Simpson was lively, but he needs to vary his runs if he wants to get back on the goal trail. He miss-hit a few shots which came his way at the weekend, as the ball always seemed to be behind him, even though he played well. It was his hard work which eventually set up David Meyler for the second goal and I’m sure a goal will come his way soon if he keeps working hard.
Another positive was Jack Hobbs getting the first full 90 minutes under his belt since his cruciate injury.
The more minutes he can play, the better. And it’s a good job he is fit again after Alex Bruce’s moment of madness after the full-time whistle.
You can understand why Bruce reacted to an elbow from Alan Lee in an earlier off-the-ball incident, but he needed to show more restraint and discipline. Lee might have made a meal of it, but Bruce left referee Howard Webb with no choice but to show him a red card.
Picking up a suspension at this stage of the season is not ideal, with games coming thick and fast in the festive season, so it’s a good job City have Hobbs fit and Abdoulaye Faye waiting in the wings.