North End get out of jail after patchy display against Hull
Louis Moult spared North End`s blushes with a late equaliser at the KCOM Stadium after a very patchy performance from a young North End side.
Injury and suspension meant four changes from the team that started against Wigan and the naivety of some of the young lads almost cost us defeat in this bottom of the table clash.
It wasn’t a classic by any means but North End had a couple of good spells in the game, particularly early on, but our goal led somewhat of a charmed life and this was a point gained for all money and we should quickly move on to next week.
North End brought some of the problems on themselves losing the ball in key areas and I am sure the manager will be relieved to be able to call on some of his more experienced players for the two home games coming up.
North End started with the 4-2-3-1 formation which has served us well over Alex Neil`s time and in the opening exchanges we were in the ascendancy with the Tigers looking a very nervous outfit, with the nervousness manifesting itself into the home support. North End had three good chances early on in the game with Browne, Nmecha and Davies all threatening the Hull goal.
However for the remaining 30 minutes it was all Hull with the home side hitting the post, the bar, Maxwell making an excellent diving save in the six yard box and Hull missing a chance when it looked easier to score. North End had lost the midfield and looked nervous in possession which probably led to the countless times we lost the ball in the centre of the park.
No changes for North End at half-time but the pattern of the game remained, broadly the same. Hull were dominating possession but it seemed like one of those days when the home team wouldn’t score no matter how hard they tried. Maxwell saved brilliantly to his left and defenders just seemed to get blocks in at the last minute as North End looked like they were happy to hold on for a point.
Neil brought on Gallagher, Robinson and Moult at various points in the second half and the experience seemed to be telling so it was ironic that Hull scored when we had got back on top of the game. Storey, allegedly, fouling Martin in the box and Bowen made no mistake from the spot.
It looked all over for North End but the team moved up two gears after going behind and when a Fisher cross from the right found Moult the striker controlled, turned beautifully and struck the ball home much to the delight of the near 1,400 North End fans in the away end.
A game to forget in many ways for Alex Neil and his boys but a priceless point that moves us out of the bottom three at least until Tuesday evening. I thought North End missed some experience on the pitch and while the younger players gave 100% throughout the game they just tended to panic a little and lose the ball.
Gallagher made a huge difference to proceedings when he was introduced and it showed that there is no substitute for experience in times of need. North End have now gone three games without defeat and a win on Wednesday against Brentford would make it eight points out of 12.
Perhaps it is a good time to be playing the Bees having just changed manager but we will have to be much better than Saturday if our climb up the league table is to continue.
The trip to Hull and back wasn’t far off from being hellish but in the end we somehow managed to snatch a vital away point at the death despite what i thought was in general an off-colour performance against a very poor home side.
We began well and looked the dominant side during the opening exchanges but despite a first league start this season for Sean Maguire we lacked a cutting edge up front and by half-time were a tad fortunate to still be level having been saved twice by the post and by the rank bad finishing of bottom of the table Hull who failed to take the chances they created.
We had won our last three league matches against the Tigers but never really looked like winning this one especially in the second half as they suddenly began to roar and have us on the back foot for most of the half.
We improved slightly attacking wise when we introduced Paul Gallagher and Callum Robinson into the fray but still created very little in terms of clear cut chances.
I was disappointed with the performance of Manchester City loanees Lukas Nmecha and Brandon Barker who at times looked lost and I feel that they could take up to a season to adapt to the tough demands of Championship football .
Personally speaking I would have preferred to have seen our own players Tom Barkhuizen and Connor Simpson occupy those positions on the pitch in order to gain experience and develop their game which I feel would be of a better long term benefit to North End .
Hull's continued pressure finally paid off when they took the lead five minutes from time albeit due to a contentious penalty decision. All seemed lost but then up popped substitute Louis Moult to save the day with his goal having the travelling fans bouncing around and feeling just grrreat at the home of the Tigers!