Hull City 0 Millwall 1: Tigers' sleepwalk towards League One continues

Hull City are a long way from being relegated yet, but the alarm bells must be ringing loud in East Yorkshire following the nature of Saturday's defeat to Millwall.
Hull City remain in the Championship's bottom-three following a 1-0 home loss to Millwall. Picture: Getty ImagesHull City remain in the Championship's bottom-three following a 1-0 home loss to Millwall. Picture: Getty Images
Hull City remain in the Championship's bottom-three following a 1-0 home loss to Millwall. Picture: Getty Images

The Tigers remain inside the Championship drop zone as a result of their 1-0 loss, but are still just a single point from safety with three games left to play.

Their form - one win in 17 league outings - is however wretched, and Grant McCann's men just don't look as if they have the technical or mental capacity to arrest their staggering slide from play-off contenders to a side now floundering in the bottom-three.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Their timid performance against Millwall only adds to the growing suspicion that the Tigers just aren't good enough to stay in the second tier.

Tigers skipper Jordy De Wijs challenges Millwall's Jed Wallace.Tigers skipper Jordy De Wijs challenges Millwall's Jed Wallace.
Tigers skipper Jordy De Wijs challenges Millwall's Jed Wallace.

They desperately needed three points, yet lacked any real urgency until the final quarter of an hour, and when they finally started to motor, just didn't have enough quality in the final third to ever really open the Lions up. Everything they did just appeared a bit hopeful.

The visitors played well during the first 45, but, the longer the afternoon went on, the more it seemed they were there for the taking.

A team with any real conviction about what it was trying to do would surely have been able to salvage a point. In all honesty, Hull never looked like doing that.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Their overall performance wasn't awful, and in isolation, it could be written off as merely a bad day at the office.

The problem is, the Tigers are "fighting for their lives" according to their head coach, though you would never know it based on Saturday's showing.

At this moment in time, they are sleep walking into League One, and it's difficult to see how they stop the rot.

Something has to change. In fact, plenty of things have to change, one of them being the recently-acquired habit of conceding first - and doing it as early in the game as possible.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

City hadn't managed a clean-sheet in their previous 16 league outings, yet any hopes of a much-needed defensive shut-out against Millwall were extinguished with just two minutes on the clock.

Having conspired to concede inside the opening five minutes in two of their last three matches, the hosts were again left chasing the game when Ryan Leonard was afforded time and space to stroll infield from the left and place a stunning long-range strike into the top corner.

The Tigers could however have been level soon afterwards.

A quick bit of thinking by goalkeeper George Long saw him release Josh Bowler, who skinned Millwall's last man, but was then denied one-on-one by Bartosz Bialkowski.

Play immediately switched to the other end, and Billy Mitchell met a pull-back from the left, only to clear the cross-bar when he really ought to have scored.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hull's Mallik Wilks then burst into the Lions' area and forced another good stop out of Bialkowski, before Jordy De Wijs saw a header from Bowler's cross cleared off the line by Alex Pearce.

And, although City could justifiably claim that they'd created enough to have been level by the 25-minute-mark, in truth they were fortunate not to be dead and buried before half-time.

First, Sam Hutchinson directed a close-range header from Jed Wallace's corner narrowly past the post, while Mason Bennett beat the home offside trap to go clean through, but made a mess of the finish.

Long then came to the rescue with a fine instinctive save to deny both Leonard and Millwall a second on 44 minutes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The second period began with visiting striker Tom Bradshaw scooping an effort over the top, though City played with more intent after the break than they had done during the opening 45.

They struggled to create anything resembling a clear-cut chance, however, with desperation creeping into their play as they tried to up the ante in the final quarter of an hour.

Eventually, an opening did arrive, the ball dropping to an unmarked Keane Lewis-Potter just outside the six-yard box, though the youngster fluffed his lines and his miss-hit finish trickled into the arms of a grateful Bialkowski.

Hull: Long; Burke, MacDonald (Tafazolli 81), De Wijs, Elder; Da Silva Lopes, Stewart (Batty 61), Honeyman; Wilks, Eaves (Magennis 61), Bowler (Lewis-Potter 69). Unused substitutes: Ingram, McLoughlin, Pennington, Toral, Scott.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Millwall: Bialkowski; Mitchell (Williams 83), Hutchinson, Pearce, Cooper, Ferguson (M Wallace 84); J Wallace (Thompson 90), Woods, Leonard; Bennett (Skalak 66), Bradshaw (Smith 90). Unused substitutes: Steele, Molumby, Mahoney, Muller.

Referee: M Donohue (Manchester).

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.