Hull City 2 Leicester City 1
Report by Colin Murrant
The first day of the new season is always full of hope and aspirations for supporters of all clubs, by final whistle a sense of realism has set in for many.
So Friday night I treated myself to a recording of SKY News rolling report of the celebrations at Vicky Park and let those tears flood my eyes just one more time. I went to bed with renewed anticipation.
What a way to start the new season. Going as Champions to Hull who managed to scrape through the play-offs having had a poor finish to the regular season. Furthermore, the Tigers were now manager less, had only 13 fit out-field players, no new signings, and a crowd that were baying for blood and wanting rid of their owner Assem Allam.
What happened overnight I do not know, but I woke slightly apprehensive about the fixture. It almost seemed too easy for a nailed on Leicester win but I knew nothing is certain in football, especially the Premier League.
The situation Hull were in being written off as relegation certainties was exactly what City had faced 18 months earlier. Was it going to create a siege mentality akin to that which saw our amazing relegation fight. On the journey up the negative feeling did not improve, so much so that I avoided offering my contribution to the predict the score competition: the others in the car of course offered City wins.
The City fans were in good voice as Hull kicked off and after 2 minutes the first real chance came when Demarai Gray went on a run down the left, cut inside and unleashed a shot that looped up off a defender and just cleared the crossbar. Perhaps my fears were unwarranted.
Hull then came more into the game and it was clear that Leicester were not at their best as tackles were missed and passes went astray. Danny Simpson was giving away free kicks and it seemed inevitable he would get a booking eventually but Christian Fuchs beat him to the yellow card for his first foul of the match on Robert Snodgrass who was becoming increasingly influential down the Hull right wing.
All the good chances were coming The Foxes way however and Jamie Vardy could have had a first half hat-trick but he is clearly not fully match fit or at his sharpest. The first chance he produced an air-shot following a good run and pull back from Musa. There then followed missed chances from set ups my Musa again and then Fuchs.
As the half drew to a conclusion some shoddy tackling and passing kept the pressure on City. Two corners resulted, the second, in time added on, leading to the opening goal for Hull. As the corner came in Morgan was beaten to the header at the near post and Schmeichel scrambled to the far post to make a great save. The ball however popped up and it appeared both Abel Hernandez and Adama Diomande, in attempting bicycle kicks, connected at the same time and the ball ended up in the net in the far corner.
The second half started in incredible fashion and a loose pass from Hull gave Gray the opportunity to run at goal. Huddlestone attempted a tackle and only succeeded in catching Gray’s heel. Mike Dean pointed to the spot (although the initial contact looked outside the box) and after 15 seconds of the second half City had the opportunity to get on level terms.
To groans in the way end, remembering misses against Bournemouth and Villa, Mahrez picked the ball up to take the spot kick. To Riyad’s credit he had to wait a couple of minutes for treatment to Gray before he coolly slotted the ball down the middle to bring the scores level.
This should have been the catalyst City needed and indeed they did begin to control the match better without causing the Hull keeper many problems. Then in the 55th minute disaster struck. Kasper threw the ball out towards Gray near the half way line, possession was lost the ball was whipped into the Leicester penalty area, half cleared by Simpson but only to Snodgrass who drove the ball into the net.
Chances were few and far after that and the match was scrappy, Okazaki offered some energy when he came on but there were no chances of merit to talk about. 5 minutes of added time gave some hope but nothing materialised. You could sense that neither the team nor the fans felt City would get back into the match. The final whistle blew and Hull were worthy winners by showing some of the Leicester graft and spirit of 15/16.
On the way home we wondered how we could spend £15m on Mendy and he had not played, only to learn he was at his child’s birth. We discussed how we missed Kante, how unsure Morgan and the rest of the defence were without Huth. We looked for positives in Musa’s pace, Gray’s positiveness. We discussed whether Mahrez’s body language was good, how long it would be before Vardy was back to his best.
In my opinion the players are not fully fit, certainly not match fit. Those who mocked the friendlies at Lincoln, Rotherham et al last year might want to reconsider given the horrendous itinerary afforded us by the International Champion’s Cup as well as the Community Shield. In most of those matches we were also chasing possession and I believe you need some easier matches where you gain confidence in your team play, passing, goal scoring and Winning.
Next week I promise myself a Friday night of the recording of Andrea Bocelli at the KP, Vardy’s 11 in a row, more tears, more hope, more confidence. Bring on Robert Huth, bring on Mendy, bring on two new signings, bring on Arsenal, bring on our first 3 points of the season. #ForeverFearless
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Ulloa 83), Hernandez, Morgan, Fuchs, Mahrez, King (Amartey 68), Drinkwater, Gray (Okazaki 68), Musa, Vardy. Subs not used: Chilwell, Albrighton, Kapustka, Zieler
Hull City: Jakupovic, Elmohamady, Livermore, Davies, Robertson, Meyler, Huddlestone, Clucas, Snodgrass, Hernandez, Diomande. Subs not used: Kuciak, Maloney, Tymon, Bowen, Luer, Olley, Clackstone
Attendance: 21,037 Referee: Mike Dean
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation