The Arab and the American Find a Home at Hull City
On a warm East Yorkshire Saturday afternoon Kamel Ghilas the Algerian International striker had toiled long and hard in the sun. His tireless running and harrying or the Bolton players was almost totally fruitless, with next to no chance of a shot on goal.
However, with an hour gone of the battle of the unfashionable Premiership clubs, the fourth official holds up the substitution board for the Tigers. It reads 18 and 9, Caleb Folan off and Jozy Altidore on.
Folan had grafted hard just as Ghilas but for all his bluster and hard work his first touch is just not good enough for the lone strikers role.
BANG, Altidore's first touch is a deft chest down and a swinging right foot chip over the Bolton back line. A swift footed Ghilas latches on and with a couple of touches and smashes it past the huge Finnish goalkeeper Jussi Jääskeläinen.
In the two previous meetings between the Bolton and Hull City last season the fighting Finn had been the only thing between the Hull City and six vital Premier League points.
The introduction of Altidore by Hull City manager Phil Brown proved to be the crucial moment of the match. From a one sided match with Bolton looking like it was only a matter of time before they would walk away with the spoils from the Kingston Communication Stadium, the game was turned on it's head.
The New Jersey native breathed a new lease of life in to the Tigers and gave them the much needed strength up front. His hold up play was superb and with the extra space he created for the midfield to move forward it allowed the Tigers to go on the offensive.
For much of the game Geovanni the mercurial Brazilian had spent his time chasing the Bolton midfielder's shadows but with the extra space he was like a player reborn. He made some telling passes and runs. Not least a beautifully threaded pass for Alitdore who squandered the chance as he was dragged wide by the Bolton defense.
In another wonderful opportunity for the Tigers and Altidore, the American shot just wide of the Bolton post, leaving him holding his head in his hands in despair. Ghilas not to be left out had a beautiful shot ricochet off the crossbar that left him holding his head in his hands as well.
The Tigers ended the game in the acendancy and Gary Megson's Bolton team rueing their missed chances. Just like last season were the Tigers felt that it was only the fantastic play of Jääskeläinen, so will Bolton feel that it was the superb play of Hull City's other American, the Californian born Boaz Myhill that stopped them from gaining three valuable Premiership points.
Although, the Tigers were clearly second best for a huge chunk of the game Phil Brown will be left rubbing his hands in glee. His team were clearly a more potent force with Altidore in place of the toothless Folan.
The combined forward line of Altidore and Ghilas looks like a match made in heaven for the Hull City Gaffer. With influentiel players coming back for the Tigers in Craig Fagan and Jimmy Bullard set to return to full training in mid September things are looking rosy.
He will feel that in the remaining nine days of the transfer window he can sign a replacement for Sam Ricketts and an other striker and the team will be equipped to survive for another Premiership season.
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