We end August with another away trip, hoping to carry on the momentum of two wins in a week.
Date: Tuesday 30th August 2016
Opponent: Hull City (16th)
Venue: The Circle
Odds: Hull City=5/4, Draw=11/5, Exeter City=7/4
Weather: Breezy 11C
Referee: Mr Rob Mills
As we kick off, Ally McCoist (Rangers manager) is spotted in attendance. We start on the front foot and in third minute, Michel shoots from 20 yards with a curling effort, but it goes just wide. Seventeen minutes later, Federico Cenci tries his luck from further out (25 yards), but with the same result. Hull’s first chance of note comes in the 36th minute when Foley shoots from 18 yards, but it’s straight at Metodi Spasov. Although Spasov can’t hold on, we clear the rebound to safety. This seems to be just the wake up we need and two minutes later, Cenci shoots from 12 yards and it hits the inside of the post. Incredibly, it bounces out and Hull clear for a throw-in. A minute later, Cenci tests Collin, but his 20 yard effort is straight at him and little more than catching practice. With just one minute until half-time, Cenci shoots from 16 yards, but Collin is equal to it, pushing it to safety. As we try to reclaim the ball, Mr Mills blows his whistle as Michel commits a foul and finds his way into the notebook.
The first chance of note in the second half comes in the 54th minute when Dacian Varga shoots from 20 yards, but he shoots wide. Ten minutes later, Fole beats the offside trap and elects to shoot from 20 yards. He beats Spasov, but not the post and we’re able to recover and clear to safety. I make changes as we search for a goal, with Ryan Mason coming on for Michel, whilst Cenci is replaced by Will Keane. And what a change! In the 78th minute, Keane beats one. He beats two. He’s into the area! He shoots. He… blasts wide. So good until the finish. Jonny Hayes shoots from 16 yards in the 81st minute and Collin is unable to hold on to the shot. Keane reacts, but not quite as quick as Hull’s defenders who clear the ball for a throw-in. In the 90th minute, Williams hits a shot from 25 yards, forcing Spasov to tip over. The final action occurs in the third minute of stoppage time. An inswinging corner is met 10 yards out. By Barker. Spasov has no chance. Thankfully, I have men on the post and Catalin Rentea clears off the line and Mr Mills blows for full-time.
Result: Hull City 0-0 Exeter City
Man of the Match: Moutinho
Ratings: GK-Spasov (6.9); DR-Rentea (7.0); DCR-D’Avanzo (7.2); DCL-Vukovic (6.9); DL-Riccardi (7.1); MCR-Matip (7.1); MCL-Johnson (6.6); AMR-Hayes (6.9); AMC-Michel (6.8, booked, off 65); AML-Varga (6.9); ST-Cenci (6.0, off 69). Subs-Mason (6.7, on 65); Keane (6.8, on 69). Unused-Wilkinson; Karlsen; Fournier.
League Position: 10th
With some good chances and the better of the game, it’s disappointing to come away with only a point as we didn’t have our shooting boots on. However, Hull came close to taking all three points in stoppage time so it could have been much worse. A point away from home is never a bad result, but we came in on the back of two wins and were against a team below us in the table, albeit in the first few weeks of the season.
The media reveal why Ally McCoist was spotted at the match – he was watching Bradley Johnson. Thankfully for us, a fairly anonymous performance from Johnson is unlikely to get McCoist opening the Rangers chequebook, but he’s going to need to play better to remain in the starting XI.
There’s mixed news on the injury front. The good news is that Jonathan Bond returns to full training, but the bad news is that Luca D’Avanzo strains his neck whilst playing for Italy Under-19s and will be out for a week. Another centre-back out injured.
The end of month awards are made:
Player of the Month: Kenny Mulready (Bristol City)
Young Player of the Month: Jan Valkucak (Blackburn Rovers)
Manager of the Month: Brian McDermott (Huddersfield Town)
Although we don’t win any awards, Bertin Matip does come third for Young Player of the Month. In League One, Paupol Mayila (on loan at Notts County) comes 3rd in the Young Player of the Month category.
The end of August also means the end of the transfer window. Before it slams shut (as every media outlet loves to describe it), Newport County offer to loan Charlie Hollett for a month – I accept and he joins them. As always, it’s been a busy transfer window and we were the busiest team: