Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Bowing out

Tuesday 20th March
Football LeagueChampionship
Hull City 0 Southampton 2

Saturday 24th March
CML Challenge Cup Quarter Final
Easington United 0 Dronfield Town 4

Well it was good while it lasted. 
As we exited the KC Stadium having seen City come up short against the Championship leaders, many people were already writing off the season: “Should’ve bought a striker”, “should’ve at least brought one in on loan”, “too much pretty passing but nothing going forrad”, “no Plan B”.
Four days later, I was hearing the same tone of discontent as I helped pack things away at Low Farm.  And they were not only from the Tigers contingent among our followers (City having gone down 2-1 at former boss Nigel Pearson’s Leicester) but also from those making reference to a cup exit for the locals that for many appeared to signal the end of our season.
Personally, I couldn’t get too downhearted about the Tigers’ midweek reverse.  Although frustrated by a second half that was effectively killed by a second Saints goal on 59mins, there were still enough glimpses of the sort of football Barmby’s young side are capable of.  And had Robbie Brady not passed up a glorious chance from Josh King’s pass just before the break we may well have seen a different outcome.
It’s the second City defeat I’ve seen this season but, as with the Derby game, it wasn’t one that left me feeling particularly down.  Unlike, it must be said, our weekend defeat by Dronfield.
I blame it on those amber shorts at home...
 Despite the win at Thorne, which arrested our poor recent league run, we all knew a special effort would be required if we were to progress to a first CML cup semi-final.  Dronfield belied the two close games we’d already had with them to look a class apart in terms of form.  Indeed they arrived at Low Farm having lost just once in 15 games.  In addition, the previous weekend had seen them put four past Thoresby in a comprehensive victory watched by a “Bonanza Ground Hop” crowd of 276.  Impressive stuff.

The backlog of home games at County League level meant we had a double-header on at the Farm.  On the pitch across the ditch, the Stiffs entertained Park Athletic in a game they had to win to maintain their lingering hopes of preserving Premier Division status.
The 2pm kick-off meant many of the Farm Faithful could get to see the first half before trailing back across the bridge for the “main feature”. 
Unfortunately, they were to be somewhat disappointed by what they saw.
A rare piece of action in the Dronfield came to nowt
A first half goal for the visitors still left things nicely poised at the break.  Sadly, a second one just five minutes into the second period prompted something of a stroll in the sun for team from north Derbyshire.
Those of a strong constitution can read the full details of our exit here.  Others may want to move swiftly on to the next post!

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