RAMBLE | Hull City 0-1 Wednesday

RAMBLE | Hull City 0-1 Wednesday

Hull. It’s hardly a fixture you look at in June and plan around or get excited by.

I was in two minds whether I was going to go, but the way the season was going it was looking like a six pointer at the wrong end of the season.

Much like Sunderland, you’d have thought would it be a big game at the other end of the table. But this hasn’t been that season for a number of clubs.

Not least Reading either who have gone from a playoff campaign to a relegation battle.

It makes you wonder what would have happened to Huddersfield without their German penalty technique (or a dodgy Tom Lees own goal).

Anyway, this was also a different away game as it was the first away game I’ve been to without James in about two and a half years!

James does all the organising, which meant I had about six reminders on my phone to remember the tickets. For god’s sake, don’t forget them!

Thankfully I put them in my bag before setting off, which was an earlier start than I needed due to a grown-up meeting at the bank.

Thankfully that was shorter than expected, which meant I had plenty of time to stop off at Beer Central to get some beers for the journey for Kieran and myself.

Picking beers for yourself is easy (indecisiveness aside) but picking them for somebody else is always tricky, even if you have a good idea of what they like.

Thankfully Sean at Beer Central knows to leave you alone when picking beer as you go through his excellent selection. None of that, ‘can I help you’ interfering nonsense.

And even though it felt like it took me an age to pick the beers out, I still had about an hour to spare before meeting Kieran at the tap for pre-journey beers.

So, I decided to nip into Tamper Coffee for a quick cappuccino and read my book.

Coffee and Cappuccino

Only they only do table service so you can’t just go in an order a drink and sit down, you have to be seated and wait for them to come back before asking for the same drink over again.

Either way, the coffee was excellent and a few pages of the Hugh Gaitskill biography that I’m reading later and it was time to head for the tap.

What away day doesn’t start with double shot coffee and a bit of Labour Party history?

Anyway, it was time for a beer!

Although I had to fight my way an army of police who were for the Sheffield United game, the arriving Millwall fans, the departing Wednesday fans and the arriving Bolton fans who were en-route to Barnsley.

Thankfully Kieran turned up about the same time as I did and the tap was very quiet.

Clearly quality beer isn’t on Millwall fans’ agenda most of which were in The Howard (I wouldn’t be seen dead in there personally) but each to their own.

Anyway, beers in and we got the two big chairs in the back room and settled in.

As mentioned we were minus our normal away day companion and organiser in James who was off to Hamburg for a St Pauli game. Kieran FaceTimed him, and there he was with a beer in Hamburg joining us for a beer in Sheffield.

Hamburg calling

We started chatting and it was just like he was here as normal.

This is also a good omen as the last time few times that James has been out of the country, Wednesday have won!

A win today and it might be time to contact the Home Office and have him barred from re-entering the country! Although this would mean having organise my own away days again.

James went and Kieran and I started to putting the world to rights. Everything from the latest cinema releases to Marvel vs DC and the current crisis in Syria.

With the beer and conversation flowing so was time and it occurred to me that I’d not yet heard from Mark about the time he was appearing to pick us up for the trip to East Yorkshire (or Lincolnshire or Humberside or whatever they’ve decided to call it this week).

Anyway, I was just starting to plan what time we’d need to get a train for should Mark do a no show for whatever reason – not that I was expecting it – but it’s good to be prepared. Then as I was checking times he said he was five minutes away!

 

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

 

Soon enough he appeared and were off!

Time to start on the Beer Central selection – starting with an excellent Pineapple Gose from Wild Weather. Anything by Wild Weather is always worthwhile and this was no exception.

Plus, they have some of the coolest cans out there – again this was no exception.

Another solid choice

Even the weather was starting to look on the bright side with a rare appearance from sun, last seen in October. Perhaps this would be a worthwhile trip after all?

The beer was starting to take its effect on my bladder. This is the drawback to going in the car.

Beer plus potentially long periods without access to a toilet is not the best combination. Thankfully Kieran was in the same boat and was more prepared to speak up and half way there we stopped off a petrol station.

The relief when you really have to go is quite something, isn’t it?

Mark was also offering sandwiches (something that is always part of the Mark lift experience).

Mark: “Jon, do you want salmon?”

Me: “I don’t mind.”

“Yeah but you like salmon, don’t you”

“Yeah, what have you got?”

“Salmon or… salmon…”

Salmon it is then! Anyway, we were back en route and it wasn’t long until the Humber Bridge was in sight and we were basically there.

 

TO ‘ULL AND BACK

 

There wasn’t even any parking drama as we stumbled across a cheap car park within about ten minutes’ walk of the ground. Perfect.

Welcome to Hull

Parked up and a case of the follow the crowd to the ground.

By now the sun was out and the weather was glorious. It was hardly warm but compared to the weather recently it might as well be 40 degrees.

And we were in the ground in time for another beer and even watch the players warm up – this is almost unknown for us.

It was still fairly quiet when we got to our seats but it slowly filled up by kick off.

Although we’d manged to get a row with a load of ‘ultras’ next to the Hull ‘ultras’.

And by ultras what I mean is seventeen-year olds who think they’re part of a bad Danny Dyer film.

By kick off there must have been fifty of us squeezed in. Some of us are actually here for football.

 

THE MATCH

 

I’d missed news of Joao and Nuhiu’s injuries so it was a surprise find they were both out of the squad, with Jordan Rhodes coming back with support from Fessi in the number ten role.

It was also a relief to see us revert back to three at back after the Loftus Road debacle.

I don’t know how many times we have to play a flat back four this season to realise it doesn’t work with this group of players?

Nuhiu and Joao missed out but this duo both started (Image: The Star)

The game was very open with Hull looking like a side in form – Nigel Adkins has got them into a much better unit than they were earlier in the season.

Having said that, we were looking likely and the plan was clearly to get the ball into wide positions and get balls to Rhodes.

And then that’s exactly what happened when Reach found space and got a ball into Rhodes.

When you see Rhodes get a free header in the box, even for his recent form, it still excites and we’d have been celebrating the opening goal but for a good save from McGregor.

There have been times this season when we haven’t looked like getting a shot on target, let alone scoring but we had at least three shots on target in the first fifteen minutes (even if one was a cross turned shot from Bannan).

And he really is the key. It’s no coincidence that there’s a direct correlation between Wednesday winning football matches and him playing.

I used to think that Fessi was the key to our creativity and Hutch was the key to our stability but these are much less than the impact to our attack that Bannan brings.

He’s one of those players that makes things happen, takes risks and we get a lot more reward (even if he’s not directly involved). We are a significantly better side when he is on the pitch.

Then after some good pressure, the ball came to Hunt in acres of space on the right and delivered straight to Rhodes who headed the ball straight into the corner!!!! GET THE CHUFF IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cue pandemonium – arms everywhere – COME ON!

Rhodes nods Wednesday in front (Image – SWFC Facebook)

This just proved that if you feed and provide to Rhodes that he will score.

This was the Rhodes that we were so excited about last January – class IS permanent.

Once into the lead we controlled the game a lot better and Hull were starting to look one dimensional. We really needed to see out to half time.

 

HT: HULL 0-1 WEDNESDAY

 

And there wasn’t really much of note and I wasn’t too worried when I went down for half time beers.

In fact, I got half way down and stood in the concourse as we were attacking. Corner. I’ll stay for this, I thought, the queue won’t be that bad. By the time I got in the queue there wasn’t much of the half left.

The queue wasn’t too bad either.

Well not at first. It wasn’t long but it wasn’t moving.

It was painful.

Do you try a different queue? Will it be just as bad?

Do I give up

It wasn’t moving at all.

Slowly but surely, we edged forward. I’ve waited this long, I knew we’d miss the start of the half but they have screens.

Finally, I get to the front and despite a queuing system it’s like a normal bar with everybody fighting for the attention of the very very slow staff. Finally – two Guinness, please, I ask. This better be worth it …

I noticed they were checking tickets to get back your seats too so the mini crush of seventeen-year-old wannabe Danny Dyers had gone. Right then Wednesday, let’s finish this off.

 

SECOND HALF

 

Hunt was clearly having a good game and nearly setup Rhodes for a second but could only get a corner out of it. At least we were still attacking… for now.

Naturally as the half we were sitting deeper and deeper. I know these things are natural but it always makes me very very nervous.

Sadly, Hunt’s good game was cut short by his blocking of a very powerful shot in a very sensitive area.

Hunt celebrating with Rhodes, long before his injury (Image: The Star)

Mark said straight away that he’d been hit in a place that should never be hit. He’ll be fine, once he comes around he’ll run it off.

But he never looked fit afterwards, which made me wonder if more serious damage was done – on came Palmer to finish the job off.

That was one of a number of stoppages.

I just knew they’d be at least five minutes added – probably six just because we’re winning.

Time to keep it together…

From here too I was in full panic. The deeper our line, the more convinced I was that we’d concede a heart-breaking equaliser.

We thought before that a point would be a decent result – that can be tempting fate when you end up in situations like this.

The fact is that I was panicking and were actually defending brilliantly.

Lees has been magnificent since he came back and the likes of Venaccio and Pelupessy have been getting better with each game. A lot should be said for Thorniley too who looks solid and very comfortable on the ball (he’s not a left back though).

Then randomly the game was stopped by a squirrel on the pitch! It appeared from the tunnel and went straight down the touchline, disappearing somewhere after an age.

So, it was no shock when there was eight (8) minutes added on. Although it seemed like I was the only one in the away end that was surprised.

Then they had a free kick, swung it in and there were two Hull players miles ahead of the rest and the ball was in. SHIT.

The home crowd WENT UP. FUCK.

Wait.

The linesman. He’s not moved. There is hope! His flag was down but he hadn’t returned to the halfway line. Come on, rule it out!

Keep that flag down…

Mark was convinced they were offside. Thinking back, they were miles ahead of everybody else.

But it felt like they’d have a chat and the referee would point to the centre-spot and the home crowd would go up again.

Then the referee was raising his arm up and he blew the whistle. Urgh he we go – he’s going to give th… HE POINTS to the six-yard box!! AND THE FLAG IS UP! THE FLAG IS UP!!!!!! GET IN.

That was the win there and then. We played the eight minutes out and that was that.

 

FULL TIME: HULL 0-1 WEDNESDAY

 

We are officially safe – season over and bullet dodged!

Celebratory refreshment

We got back to the car park and you could see fans trying to get the attention of passing police cars. It seemed that some cars had been smashed in.

It was nervy getting back to Mark’s but thankfully we’d been spared. Apparently, the cars that were smashed in had Wednesday gear on show … it just goes to show not to show colours on away days which is a real shame.

We were on way back, safety guaranteed and a celebratory sandwich and bottle of Plum Porter!

Onto 2018/19…

JP
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @jpowls

Images: author, unless stated.


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