Hull 0 Coventry 2 – The relief

02
April
2012

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That’s it, Andrew. You punch that away day air. You punch it good.

I wasn’t at the game this week, so I can’t pretend to have any sort of insight into how things went from the football perspective. I can only speak as one of the thousands of fans at home, listening to Clive and Geoff, churning away for the entire 90 minutes and launching into euphoric spasm as Cody slammed home that goal to make it 2-0.

Really, what a magnificent result. You can feel the lift it’s given everyone.

We know Hull have been in the doldrums the last couple of weeks, but we also know that things like that rarely count for anything when we actually head off to these places. The boys have been unlucky in plenty of games away from the Ricoh, but there have been too many times when we’ve failed to approach the game with the right sort of intensity, and given teams in the poorest of form an easy route out of it.

Not on Saturday, though. It was tense – dear lord, was it tense – but the pattern I gauged was essentially frustrating Hull, whilst making sure we were always a threat ourselves on the break. I listened to Nick Barmby before the game and even though the BBC story stated that he was wary of us, what I took from the interview was him intimating that we’re pretty much a long ball side.

Sure, we have a useful and viable option to go long to big Clive when necessary. But when you’ve got players like McSheffrey, Nimely, Bigirimana, Norwood and a returning-to-form Sammy Clingan, there’s going to be more to your game than a giant hoof at every opportunity. Looking at the highlights, Norwood’s sensational ball to McDonald for the second showed our threat in that respect – picking them off swiftly as they pushed for the equaliser. We may have got lucky for the first goal, but after that, it seemed like we absorbed the pressure yet still offered an outlet on the break. We’ve often lacked that.

The enormity of this win only really sunk in yesterday as I looked through the fixtures for the upcoming weekend, and found myself getting typically carried away with the position we could potentially find ourselves in if we continue this good form for a little longer.

We’re out of the relegation zone for the first time since October, which at this stage is an achievement in itself given how chronic we appeared back at Christmas; cut adrift, and looking relegated in every sense.

This timely leap, coupled with the potential to win our next two games (we’re on a run and need to pick up points – let’s be positive), could very realistically leave a gap of 7 points between us and the relegation places come next Tuesday. Things very rarely turn out the way you expect, and I’ve no doubt it’ll deviate from that in some form, but the key thing here is we’re now in a position to force the issue ourselves.

We’re not the chasing pack anymore. There are no games in hand to worry about, and crucially, we are finishing the season playing the teams in similar danger to us. We’ve been talking of the great escape for months, but it’s down to us to see this through now, with the bonus of being able to finish off the teams around us in the process.

There are three home games remaining, all against teams in the bottom eight – Peterborough, Millwall and Doncaster. Want to know our home record against the other four from that group?

Played 4 | Won 4 | For 5 | Against 0

It’s an impeccable record against our nearest rivals at the Ricoh. We cannot become complacent or assuming, but we have to be fully confident in our professionalism and abilty to maintain the same level of performance. This is where big bad Andy Thorn comes in – it’s vital he acts quickly if he spots any signs of standards slipping, be it in matches or even training.

If we can just continue that level of home form, starting on Saturday against Peterborough, it should be enough to see us through and make the final game at Southampton that bit more bearable for all of us.

Yes, we’ll take safety in whatever form it presents itself, but after the hard work of the last six games, we’ve earned this opportunity. Let’s capture that momentum and ensure nothing is left to chance.

The excitement of Twitter

Saturday was hugely stressful, and watching the ebb and flow of the game unfold over Twitter is always an experience.

To give you a flavour of the gradual build up of tension and joyous relief (zip it), these are some words that I can barely believe came from my brain and out through my fingertips during the match:

Please be assured that these are purely expressions of joy, and are not (contrary to how they appear), signs of underlying lunacy.