Excuses? There are none.
I read somewhere once that football is a game of mistakes, and that’s about right. Rarely is it a moment of brilliance that takes home the points and whilst it happens more frequently, well worked moves finishing in goals are few and far between. Just look at how many goals come from set-pieces and when that happens it’s usually because someone hasn’t done their job properly.
Exhibit one. Paul Scharner, nominally a centre-half and good in the air, fails to track the opposition striker properly. The extra half a yard allows Vennegoor of Hesselink enough space to get a header past Chris Kirkland. It’s not the worse mistake in the world, and you have to give the striker credit for finishing, but it’s a big “could have done better” on Mr Scharner’s copybook and gave enough reason for Bobby to take him off later on.
Exhibit two. It’s ok playing a passing game from back to front, but your centre halves really do need to know when to pass it and when to get rid, or more importantly when to just get rid. A note for Emerson Boyce, 30 yard passes along the floor into crowds of players = bad thing, letting players back you into your penalty area = bad idea, both together = almost certain goal.
I’m not going to pretend that everything was fine apart from that, it would be wrong to pretend that this performance was the same standard as last week, but it wasn’t all bad. For long swathes of this game Latics dominated both in terms of territory and possession and got themselves into plenty of good positions. They failed to capitalise on them though effectively restricting themselves to shots from around the edge of the box.
Unsurprisingly, this was much like the Wolves game. Hull defended like their privileges depended on it and although Latics kept knocking, they just weren’t getting in. I’m going against the grain here, I know, but credit has to go to the boys for keeping their composure and continuing to press using the passing game even when they were two behind. Maybe they could have put a bit more pace in it (I’m not sure though) but lumping long balls at a 10 man defence rarely bears fruit.
It was one of those tricky games to judge. The different styles on show allowed Latics to dominate possession and look all ‘pretty and stuff’ whilst Hull’s roll up the sleeves and get stuck in approach gave them the better chances. At the final whistle, both could say that they deserved something from the game, that would be right but, in the end, Latics made the mistakes and failed to take their chances, Hull didn’t and did.
I’m sure that Bobby will see ‘lessons to be learned’ in this game as much as the others, but I’m not so sure. Everybody makes mistakes, everyone misses out on opportunities, even though we all know that we shouldn’t. Every once in a while it’s simply time to hold up your hands, or get a rollocking and I reckon this is one of those times. The players might all be jetting off to other climes, but I hope it’s with some harsh words ringing in their ears.
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