Town 0-0 Hull City
Saturday, 19th Aug 2006 18:41
Town climbed off the bottom of the Championship table with a 0-0 draw at home to Hull City. The Blues looked the likelier to score throughout with Nicky Forster and debutant Simon Walton both missing good first half chances.
As expected, new signings Simon Walton and Mark Noble came into the centre of midfield for their debuts, pushing Alex Bruce back to right-back. Jim Magilton replaced goalkeeper Shane Supple with Lewis Price, the Irishman having had an off day at Leicester last week. Also dropping out of the side was Darren Currie with Jaime Peters starting on the right with Gavin Williams on the left.
The Blues began the brighter and Nicky Forster created an opening for Alan Lee in the third minute, the former Reading man cutting in and crossing from the right, but the Irish international heading over.
Dan Harding made an important challenge on Dean Marney in the sixth minute as the midfielder ran through having beaten Jason De Vos. At the other end, Williams cut in from the left but miscued his shot well over.
The Blues continued to have the best of it but it wasn't until the 16th minute that they created a serious chance. Jaime Peters sent Forster away on the right, the striker cutting in, waiting for support and sending in a low ball which Peters put over the bar under pressure.
On 23 Hull's Andy Dawson picked up a yellow card for stopping Alan Lee from taking a quick freekick deep in the Town half.
The Tigers' first chance of the game came two minutes later after former Town trialist Ryan France got beyond the Blues' defence on the right. The former Alfreton Town man crossed towards Nick Barmby at the far post but the ex-England midfielder failed to hit the target from virtually point blank. It was a lucky escape for Town, although there was more than a hint of offside about France's break down the flank.
Fagan sent an audacious 40-yard chip over the bar on 33, then De Vos stopped a Jon Parkin shot but generously allowed the bulky striker a second go by playing the ball back to him on the edge of the box. Fortunately, a deflection sent the former Macclesfield man's second strike wide.
Richard Naylor made a crunching challenge on Parkin in the 40th minute with the Hull striker bearing down on goal on the edge of the box.
A minute later, Mark Noble sent Forster away on the right. The striker cut inside and sent in a low ball which Walton blazed over the bar. The loanee from Charlton held his head in his hands, knowing he really should have netted a debut goal.
Town were again close to scoring in the 44th minute. Alan Lee played an intelligent ball down the left for Jaime Peters who flicked the ball into Nicky Forster's path. The busy frontman found himself space inside the area to shoot but appeared to be unbalanced by a defender's slip and sent his shot over. Had Forster gone to ground, a penalty award would not have been a surprise.
While by no means a vintage performance from the Blues, the first half was certainly better than last week's dismal display at Leicester. Two, possibly three, decent chances had been created, although not taken, while Town had held possession well in periods. At the back, however, the usual unsteadiness was still evident with De Vos in particular having some perilous moments.
Gavin Williams picked up his third yellow card in successive games in the 53rd minute for a foul, although it appeared that Hull's Michael Turner had tripped over the grounded Welshman rather than Williams having made a challenge.
Jaime Peters was becoming increasingly influential on the Town right. On 56 the Canadian crossed low for Forster but his shot was blocked. The ball was cleared to Walton 20 yards out but his weak effort failed to trouble Hull keeper Boaz Myhill.
Myhill's subsequent kick immediately put his side back in trouble, Peters picking the ball up on halfway. The 19-year-old fed Williams but his chip was too high.
Craig Fagan was yellow-carded in the 63rd minute for a poor challenge on Jason De Vos, prior to the visitors' only chance of the second half. France, who spent time with the Blues in 2003 prior to joining the Tigers, crossed from the right and Marney shot straight at Lewis Price.
On 71 Danny Haynes replaced Alan Lee, who had tired as the game wore on. Five minutes later Darren Currie took over from Jaime Peters, the youngster having put in probably his best shift in a Town shirt so far.
Within a minute of coming on, a Currie corner almost led to a goal. Richard Naylor flicked the ball on to Jason De Vos at the far post but under pressure the Town skipper headed wide and afterwards required treatment for a head injury.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes the Blues were strongly pushing for a goal. Walton mis-hit a shot when in a decent position inside the box, then at the other end Harding, playing his best game since his move to Town, made an important challenge as Hull broke quickly.
With four minutes left, Fabian Wilnis took over from Alex Bruce who had put in a very accomplished display at right-back.
Late on Town had a decent shout for a penalty when a Currie corner appeared to be stopped by a Hull hand but Premiership referee Dermot Gallagher, who failed to pick up on some lengthy second half time wasting from the visitors, was unimpressed.
The Blues continued to go looking for that elusive goal, winning a series of corners in injury time but the deadlock remained unbroken.
A point and a clean sheet are at least some welcome relief for Town who are now off the bottom of the league and into 22nd position, ahead of Colchester and Sunderland.
The game was by no means a classic and neither goalkeeper was particularly tested but the Blues were the better of the two teams and probably did enough to gain the three points. Town had more of the few chances which were created but failed to take them.
Noble looked the classier of the two new loanees, although Walton made some impressive, and occasionally ferocious, tackles. Bruce was particularly noteworthy at right-back, while Peters looks like he's starting to settle into first team football and Haynes made some intelligent and powerful runs after being introduced from the bench. In goal, Lewis Price did little wrong on his first appearance of the season.
Town: Price, Bruce (Wilnis 86), Harding, Naylor, De Vos, Walton, Noble, Williams, Peters (Currie 76), Forster, Lee (Haynes 71). Unused: Supple, Bowditch. Att: 19,790.
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