Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Heads (we win)

Hull City 1 - 4 Newcastle Utd

A magnificent away performance, including scoring four away from home for the first time this season, was sadly overshadowed by one rush of blood to the head of the Silver Fox.

However, before we get on to the negative, full credit should first be given to what was a brilliant away performance. Deprived of Sideshow Bob due to a family bereavement, Mike Williamson was this time partnered by MYM, with Paul Dummett continuing at left back in the absence of the injured Santon. Further forward, Loic Remy was partnered by Luuk de Jong, with Papiss Cisse dropping to the bench.

After an early Goofy miss, it was Hull who were on the front foot first with manager's son Alex Bruce drawing an outstanding double save from Tim Krul. Having gathered the ball at the second attempt, our Dutch custodian launched the ball forward and after a swift succession of passes the ball was fed to Mathieu Debuchy charging down the right. He cut the ball back to Moussa Sissoko who slammed the ball into the back of the net.

The home side came back, with both Nikica Jelavic and Ahmed Elmohamady heading wide when unchallenged and well placed. However, with half time looming, Maynor Figueroa's underhit back-pass allowed Remy to nip in and take the ball round home 'keeper (and shit Steve Harper) Allan McGregor and slot into the empty net.

Doubtless suitably inspired by the prospect of getting back into the fresh air having spent 15 minutes in a confined space with Ol' Cauliflower Face, Hull pulled a goal back when Curtis Davis rose highest to nod home Tom Huddlestone's free-kick beyond Tim Krul's flapping leap.

However, rather than let the home side press for an equaliser, we continued to play well, with Mini V performing particularly adeptly in midfield alongside Mr T.

Goofy it was who proved the catalyst for the next goal, with his long-range shot being spilled by McGregor straight into the path of the onrushing Sissoko, who calmly notched his second.

At which point things took a turn for the surreal.

In short, the ball squirmed out for a home throw in right in front of our technical area. Hull player David Meyler ran after the ball and shoved the Silver Fox out of his way with both hands, before collecting the ball. Pardew reacted strongly to the shove and walked towards Meyler, and effectively appeared to attempt to push him back, using his forehead instead of his hands. At which point, Meyler pushed Pardew again and embarked on a prolonged bout of finger-pointing and appeared to be suggesting that the two carry on their tete-a-tete outside.

The upshot of all this saw Meyler booked and the Silver Fox banished from the touchline.

With the Silver Fox now watching from the stands, Dan Gosling drove into the box before slipping and nocking the ball into the path of Dummett. His shot was deflected away but fell to Mini V at the back post who scored his first Premier League goal for the club, capping an outstanding display from the Dutchman.

However, it's a result which will be remembered for Pardew's moment of madness rather than anything any of our players did on the pitch.

Within hours the club had issued a statement confirming that the Silver Fox had been fined £100,000 and issued with a formal written warning. With the FA also paying close attention, the consequences for the club, and the Silver Fox in particular, look to become even worse.

While there is clearly no excusing Pardew for his actions, at the same time the mass hysteria which seemed to engulf certain elements of the media would suggest to anyone who hadn't seen it that the head butt was on a par with Zidane v Materazzi in the World Cup final, rather than a rather pathetic coming together between a man in his fifties who should know better and a Premier League footballer who shouldn't have pushed him in the first place. However, regardless of the shove, Pardew simply should not have responded. Whatever apology he issued afterwards will never remove the stain that this incident places on his CV going forward.  He's been heavily fined by the club (who frankly were never going to sack a man who has guided a club making profit to eighth in the table) and will undoubtedly be heavily sanctioned by the FA.

A dark mark against what should have been a real cause for celebration.

A Hull fan's perspective: Amber Nectar

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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