Matt Hancock on I'm A Celebrity or Hull City in the Championship - who has the worst defence

IT is not only Matt Hancock who is searching for 'a bit of forgiveness.'

Statistically, Hull City's defence is the worst in the EFL and the numbers make for sorry reading. Yes, City may not forgive or forget referee Gavin Ward for his part in their seventh home defeat in their last eight Championship matches, but in many ways, it is a convenient excuse.If they are truly going to get back in supporters' good books, they must start helping themselves.The facts are this. Unforgivably, City have conceded 20 goals in 11 home outings and 39 in 21 matches thus far in the Championship in 2022-23 and are currently on course to ship eighty-plus goals this season if things don't improve, which will only mean one thing in May.The free-kick leading up to Reading's winning goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time was very debatable as was the failure to show Jeff Hendrick a red card for a questionable challenge on Ryan Woods on 40 minutes.Yet in the final analysis, there was no conjecture about both of City's concessions from set-plays. Both were rank bad in terms of a lack of concentration.City failed to attend to Yakou Meite at the back post for Reading's equaliser and then did not deal with Royals substitute Andy Carroll when the danger was so clear and obvious at the death. That was the story.A free-kick on the left from former Tigers winger Tom Ince was only ever going to travel in one direction. The head of Carroll. He soared high in the air and powered a header towards goal. Amid the consternation, Ryan Longman diverted the ball into his own net and that was that.Two scrappy goals on a scrappy day which had, admittedly, started off with promise in Liam Rosenior's first home game in charge. It was an illusion, sadly.More's the pity as, for the most part, Reading looked every inch a side who had lost six of their previous eight matches and were without an away win since September 17. An opening goal from Jacob Greaves - who scored his first ever home goal for his hometown club - reinforced that fact.A warning had arrived when Tobias Figueiredo was denied a goal by the splendid reactions of Royals keeper Bouzanis. It was not heeded with Greaves powering in a downward header from Jean-Michael Seri's outswinging corner early on.City had the game where they wanted against a Reading side who had got flogged by four goals on their previous two visits to Yorkshire this season.But the hosts got slack on this occasion and did not go for the throat when the ragged Royals looked there for the taking and paid the price.It ensured that any pleasure derived from his milestone goal for the club from a Cottingham lad in Greaves was pretty minimal.He said: "I was buzzing to score the first goal. But it is so disappointing - from controlling the game so completely in the second half."We dominated and I think the referee has ruined the game in my opinion in giving the foul (for the second goal). We have won the ball. We should probably defend it better but unfortunately, Longy has scored an 'og' and sometimes that happens in football."When you have players like Carroll who is notorious for winning headers and is aggressive, you have to stand up to that and win the first ball. If we don't, we have to clear the second ball and he has headed it into a nothing area really and Longy has headed it in. We have got to do better.Elements of play through the thirds from City certainly passed muster. Yet in the Championship, games are won and lost in both boxes. It is not a division where idealism reigns in particular.The decision not to dismiss Hendrick was a big moment, undeniably. Another episode earlier in the half was even more meaningful.Bouzanis totally missed a routine clearance and an empty net beckoned for the foraging Regan Slater. He delayed slightly and it proved fatal. Reading regrouped and the chance was gone.Not long after, they were level. City did not concede a home goal in the opening half-hour for the first time since September, but there was no cause for celebration. Reading equalised after 32 minutes. Old habits die hard.A nothing game transpired on the restart. It looked highly likely that a one moment of quality or a lapse in concentration would decide it. So it proved.Hull City: Baxter; Christie (Coyle 59), Figueiredo, Jones, Greaves; Woods (Tufan 59), Seri; Docherty, Slater, Longman; Pelkas (Sinik 60). Unused substitutes: Ingram, Elder, McLoughlin, Smith.Reading: Bouzanis; Yiadom, Holmes, Mbengue, Baba; Fornah (Loum 60), Hendrick; Ince, Meite (Carroll 71), Hoilett; Long (Joao 71). Unused substitutes: Boyce-Clarke, Ejaria, Guinness-Walker, Abbey.