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Sunderland AFC v hull (A)...
LINES FROM LONDON: EXILES BLOG

It’s difficult to raise much interest in this game I have to say. We’re seven points behind Boro with four games to go and while it’s possible we could overtake them, it’s highly unlikely. It feels highly unlikely that we could even get a goal. Hull have done very well at home in 2017 and I wish we had found a hidden gem like Marco Silva last pre-season. The prospect of Moyes staying is a decidedly gloomy one.

Hull still have to fight to stay above Swansea so they’re going to be pulling out all the stops and given our porous defence, they’re very likely to score today. Catts and others are injured and will probably miss the game while Seb will surely return after suspension. It doesn’t really matter to me as by and large it’s like swapping one load of journeymen for another. Once again I hope we’ll field a few of the younger players and give them some experience but that wouldn’t go down well with other struggling sides. Match prediction: 2-0 to them.

Honeyman was starting and I like what I’ve seen of him. Palace lost 5-0 in the early game and that would have given Hull further impetus, and they play Palace next weekend. I got the match online and we were playing 4-3-3. In the opening minute Borini had a speculative lob that wasn’t far over and two minutes later Honeyman headed narrowly wide from a Jones cross. In Hull’s first serious attempt Clucas had a decent low shot on target but Pickford dealt with it easily. We were defending okay and despite Hull’s greater possession, they couldn’t make much penetration. Grosicki was looking pretty handy down the left and was giving Jones the runaround at times. Our fans were in good voice and after expressing their disapproval of the home fans’ level of support they broke out into, “You’re going down with Sunderland.”

Honeyman was taking all the set-pieces so I hoped he could do better than the rest of his teammates had done all season. Around the twentieth minute Clucas forced Pickford into a great save and then Maguire shot just wide as Hull stepped up the pressure. At the half-hour mark it was still goalless and it had been fairly even but Hull were soon 2-0 up on yellow cards. There were plenty of anxious-looking faces among the Hull fans. For the remainder of the half Hull started to turn the screw with Niasse and Hernandez getting the ball upfront more and I wondered if we could manage to get to the break without conceding. Dead on the end of the forty-fifth minute we got an effort on target for the first time but it was more like a pass from Anichebe. It was 0-0 at the break.

Five minutes into the second-half Pickford hit a lowish goal-kick straight up the middle to Defoe and he managed a shot but goalie Jakupovic saved. Almost immediately Hull had a golden chance to take the lead but N’Diaye fluffed it from close range. Honeyman set up Defoe with a nifty header but strong defending by Robertson forced him to shoot wide. The Hull fans had started to make a racket at last just before Pickford had to make a great save from a Markovic header, tipping it over for a corner. By the hour-mark it was really going end to end with both teams creating chances.

We had a one man advantage for a short while as Hull waited for Huddlestone to replace the injured Markovic. In the sixty-ninth minute we took the lead. Honeyman was applauded by our fans before he took a corner on the right and his kick was nodded across the box by O’Shea and headed in by Jones. Hull were in trouble and had to go for it but Niasse missed a good chance when he shot wide and then Pickford made a great point blank save from Hernandez. We made our first change in the seventy-eighth minute when we brought on Seb for Honeyman for his two hundred appearance for us. Elmo took a yellow for the team when he brought Anichebe down as he powered down the left and Seb put the resultant free-kick on target but it was punched away.

Hull brought on attacking midfielder Evandro for Elmo and were really going to go for it in the remaining five minutes or so. There were four more minutes of stoppage-time and next thing we were two-up. Borini was fouled on the right and when the kick came over Defoe, who looked offside but let’s not worry about a trifle like that, forced it home from close range. It ended 2-0.

As soon as the real pressure was off we put in a decent performance like this and we deserved the win, and our first double of the season. Now, if only we could have played Hull every week...

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