Sheffield Utd-Hull City: Blades Blunt Tame Tigers Attack

Dermot RathboneContributor IFebruary 14, 2009

Lack of quality where it really counts—in front of goal—cost Hull City the chance to finish off a dogged and determined Blades outfit. A replay is going to see the Tigers have to play three games in five days, not what the doctor ordered as they strive to beat the drop.

I have an appalling personal record following City at Bramall Lane; six attempts, one scuppered by a breakdown at Melton on the way, and I still have yet to see the Tigers triumph. Talk about a bogey ground.

After last week's magnificent draw at Chelsea, Brown took the players to Dubai for warm weather training and Andy Dawson’s mind was definitely elsewhere when his slip let in United’s overlapping fullback to get to the by-line and produce a classic cross which Greg Halford planted firmly beyond the grasp of the recalled Bo Myhill.

This galvanised the Tigers who created sustained pressure which was rewarded with a goal on 34 minutes from Kamil Zayette, the Guinean netting with a header resulting from a corner.

From then on the Premier League outfit dominated in what turned into a blood and thunder Yorkshire derby cup tie, but the visitors' failure to secure the services of a proven finisher in the transfer window may yet come to haunt them later in the season as pressure never really looked like securing a goal unless it came from a set piece.

Caleb Folan was charged with leading the line, but the big Irishman consistently failed to hold the ball up or bring others into play. The ball over the top is not an option unless the midfield are prepared to bomb on; and let’s face it, City are sadly lacking in pace at the business end.

Bullard’s absence is a worry, and it has since come out that City’s record signing travelled to the U.S. for a personal tete-a-tete with knee maestro Dr. Steadman, a far cry from the official line that the club have no real concerns about the former Fulham man’s fitness.

Some positive notes are that Anthony Gardner played the full 90, Richard Garcia provided the offensive drive in an all-action performance, and City never looked like conceding after the equaliser.

Hull City are in the sixth round draw for the first time since 1972 and lie 12th in the Premier League, so any concerns need to be seen in this context.