Hull City U23’s battled hard to recover the game against Queens Park Rangers U23’s at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, but ultimately left themselves with too much to do as McCauley Snelgrove, Harry Lovick and Josh Hinds’s goals failed to prevent a 3-4 defeat away from home in their first Professional Development League game of the season.
Story of the match
Despite starting the game brighter than the hosts, the young Tigers found themselves 0-3 down at the break. A mixture of hesitant defending and good fortune for QPR saw them go 0-3 in front without City really troubling the Rangers defence. They did start to get a foothold in the game as half time drew near, but Andy Dawson’s men had an awful lot to do as the half time whistle went to restore any pride in the shirt.
Whatever was said at half time worked, however. City came out of the blocks the second half a completely different team, and it was McCauley Snelgrove who got them back in it. Good advantage from the referee saw a chance for the young forward, who made no mistake from ten yards as his shot hit the post and rolled in to make it 1-3 to QPR.
City’s tactics in the second half was clearly to hassle and get at the Rangers players more, and this worked. Bansal-McNulty saw red for an off the ball incident and it was Harry Lovick who was proving to be the irritant to Rangers - his physical approach was something they just couldn’t live with, and it was a different game when the home side were reduced to ten men.
It was Lovick who scored the next goal, and what a beauty it was. The ball came to him on the edge of the area and his strike went right into the top corner, giving the keeper no chance - and now with the score at 2-3, the wind was in Hull City’s sails.
Lovick and Olly Green were crucial to everything going forward, and it was the latter who combined with Jake Leake to almost prise open the Rangers defence before the ball was cleared for a corner.
Soon after though, the comeback was on. A corner was cleared and Lovick put a cross in that the Rangers keeper could only punch to Olly Green. He could have had a shot himself, but he whipped a cross in back post and after a couple of ricochets, the ball fell to striker Josh Hinds who slammed the ball home to make it 3-3.
City were dominant in the second half but a soft free kick for Rangers gave them their only real opportunity of the period - and unfortunately for the away side, Duke-McKenna made no mistake from the edge of the area as his shot alluded Harvey Cartwright in the City goal.
Rangers tried to slow the game down after that, and Hinds as well as Lovick got involved in a skirmish that ended up with the latter being booked for his troubles - and the score finished 3-4 in favour of the Hoops.
Takeaways from the game
Slow start costs City
Although they started the opening stages brightly, the first half cost the young Tigers the game. Static defending and hesitant play made the Hoops seem superior - and the away side struggled for a foothold in the game until half time.
Game of two halves
As soon as City came out and got in Rangers’ faces, the home side started to crumble. The midfield of Lovick, Green and Snelgrove were crucial to this - breaking up play and leaving the occasional foot in to upset the home side. It almost worked, and based on the second half, the young Tigers deserved a point.
Green, Lovick, Snelgrove, Leake, Smith and Hinds especially proved that they deserve a shot in the first team based on the second half display, and will give Andy Dawson much to build on for the next couple of U23 fixtures.