A week from Hull

Wednesday 26th September 2012 21:17

Wood: one of a very few positives

Wood: one of a very few positives

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In the wise words of D:Ream, things can only get better for Millwall FanZoner Charlie Mahoney this season.

Lions must regain their roar

'They're from South London, they're Millwall and they will be aggressive.' Sadly, Steve Bruce's forecast only proved to be accurate on two counts after our 4-1 drubbing at the hands of his Hull City side, with the Lions putting in a performance that contained all the ferocity of a Michael Bolton album.

Kenny Jackett called for his players to quickly lick their wounds before last Tuesday's meeting with Cardiff, though the relatively short period of time leading up to the fixture did not stifle his attempts to bring in West Bromwich Albion's Chris Wood on loan. For my money, Wood is the best 20-year-old, 6' 3", New Zealand born striker that the Premier League has to offer, and I do not say that lightly.

In all seriousness, the signing came as welcome news. Supporters were well aware of the forward's ability after he'd scored a hat-trick against us while on loan at Birmingham City last season, and if anyone had dreaded facing one of the division's strongest teams on the back of a frankly disastrous result at Hull, the possibility of seeing him in action would certainly have sweetened the pill. A recent 3-1 defeat of Middlesbrough at The Den also suggested that the forthcoming tie might be a different proposition now that we were at home. Here was a chance to put things right.

incident

But any such optimism was soon extinguished. After a reasonably solid first 45 minutes came and went without much incident - an achievement in itself given that all four of Hull's goals in the previous game had been scored before half-time - things quickly descended into farce.

Our start was stagnant, Cardiff 's Peter Whittingham and Craig Noone were both allowed to score in quick succession (who knew that quality players actually pose a threat when not put under any sort of pressure?), and efforts to cut the 0-2 deficit barely seemed to bring the Bluebirds' defence out in a sweat. As a response to the debacle that had taken place at the KC Stadium, this was more Papa Lazarou than Lazarus.

The phrase 'third time lucky' had never felt like such a platitude when our misery was compounded by Brighton on Saturday. Two vintage demonstrations from the defensive comedy master class were again followed up with a largely risible excuse of a fightback; the only real positives coming in Chris Wood scoring on his full debut and Chris Taylor also showing signs of promise before being sent off in contentious fashion. On the whole, it was again difficult not to believe that we were justly punished for making the opposition's task so easy.

The spectre of three straight defeats has naturally sparked much debate amongst the Den faithful. Is Kenny Jackett right in continuing to employ a modern, passing game - something that had initially been very successful in helping us to avoid relegation last spring - over a less compromising and direct style of play? Similarly, should we revert to a traditional 4-4-2 setup in light of our current system being exploited?

These are no doubt valid questions. But I think that until we can snap out of our penchant for defensive error and re-instil exactly the kind of fight that Steve Bruce refers to, the much sought-after winning formula will remain elusive.

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