Hull City 1-2 Mansfield Town | Pre-Season Friendly | Saturday 24th July 2021 | KCOM Stadium
From being awarded City of Culture status (yes, really!) in 2017, to Del Boy’s diamond smuggling capers in Fools and Horses, Hull has a fair few things to shout about – but on Saturday 24th July, two weeks before the 2021-22 season begins, Hull won’t want to shout about their 2-1 pre-season defeat at the hands of the Stags!
Striker Danny Johnson especially made the eyes of Stags fan widen at the prospect of things to come, whilst the positive counter attacking football made the £1.50 supporters had to pay for the privilege of crossing the Humber Bridge, worth it!
Johnson took both of his goals well, one from the penalty spot in the first half, the other a towering header in front of the Stags faithful in the second, and perhaps should have had more – but again he showed his quality on and off the ball as he continued to form a partnership with Oli Hawkins, with the pacey Rhys Oates in support.
Rather concerning was a lack of defensive cover for Clough who was forced to start Rawson, who played a good 65-70 minutes against Alfreton the previous night, with Elliott Hewitt forced to miss out with a bug. Clough had no defender on the bench other than James Clarke who’d played the full 90 the previous evening, and in the second half – played centre forward Bowery alongside Perch at the back.
The gaffer himself said we could do with, and are indeed speaking too, another defender for cover – I like to look of youngster Cooper who played against Alfreton, but would like to see his develop him rather than have him sat around as fourth or fifth choice, so let’s see if we can get someone else in, maybe even at the other end of the scale who can cover centre back, holding midfield and perhaps even full back.
As I’m sure I’ll talk about at length when the Podcast returns next week, I’m concerned that we have no permanent goalkeeper (that isn’t transfer listed) – and that on loan Manchester United man Nathan Bishop is yet to join us and form bonds with the back line. However, that opens the door for George Shelvey, the Nottingham Forest youngster was excellent between the sticks yesterday with a number of steady stops in the first half, and a tremendous double in the second. It’s not the quality, it’s worry that both could potentially be recalled in January and leave us without a paddle on that infamous creak!
I was impressed with our fluid counter attacking against Alfreton, and again yesterday – it’s obviously a big part of how Clough wishes to set-up – and with players like Quinn stretching the game, it can be very effective.
It’ll be interesting to see what Charsley and Lapslie can influence that as well going forwards when they return from knocks and if Sinclair and Law can continue to break in and impact – both are fantastic talents and will add real grit to our intentions to go out and hurt teams.
Coventry City are the visitors to the One Call Stadium on Tuesday as we return home for the first time since February 2020, a brand new squad, a brand new manager, a brand new style and a brand new journey – I hope we put in a similar display on what’s going to be a very emotional night!
The results don’t matter in pre-season, and Clough will continue to assess as he also has three other games after Coventry before the season starts – Nottingham Forest U23s behind closed doors on Saturday at the RH, plus a trip to Basford on Wednesday and Buxton too.
The latter was mentioned by Clough post Hull, and wasn’t part of the original pre-season schedule – a little googling tells me it’s Tuesday 3rd August, kick-off TBC and is billed as a Stags XI.
It’s all starting to come together, and it’s beautiful!
STAGS:  George Shelvey,  Kellan Gordon ( James Clarke 90+1),  Farrend Rawson ( Jordan Bowery HT),  James Perch,  Stephen McLaughlin ( Ryan Burke 88),  George Maris,  Ollie Clarke ©,  Stephen Quinn,  Rhys Oates ( Tyrese Sinclair 88),  Danny Johnson (Nathan Caine 91)  Oli Hawkins. UNUSED SUBS: Marek Stech
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