Hull City Reserves 0 Bury Reserves 1

As I was too much of a jessie to go to Harlepool on a cold
December night, I thought I would do my bit by giving you
a report of City res. v Bury res. last night at Boothferry,
featuring as it did two triallists, Petter Solli of Norway
and Paul McShane, of Glasgow Rangers. To keep you all in
the style to which you have become accustomed I will try
and evoke the flavour of the Prof, and apologise where it
becomes more Stuart Hall.

We approached Boothferry across the Car Park at 6.45p.m.
The sun had long since vacated his kingdom, the lambent
rings of saturn glowed coldly, Jupiter was in conjunction
with Io, Pluto was alarmingly close to Uranus, Mercury was
considerably cheaper than BT, and Venus and Mars are
alright tonight. Or something. What I did notice was that
the neon lit sign on the back of the North stand which
should proudly proclaim Boothferry Park now reads Fer Ark,
due to a majority of lights not working. A small point I
know, but it does I think give a bit of a rundown feel that
perhaps should be addressed. Surely not too expensive…?

We took up our usual seat in the Best stand (to quote Bob
Mortimer, you may know it as West.)Passionate paens of
praise have been penned concerning the Kempton, Bunkers is
the repositary of the hungry Tiger, the north stand is a
far off land of which we know little sparsely populated
with wild tribes from the hinterlands, but what of the
Best? I will try and give you a flavour of Tiger watching
in Boothferry’s own stockbroker belt…

David Lloyd dressed
as Hudson from ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ guides us respectfully
to our couches, and arranges the silken cushions against
which we recline. Mark Hately nervously proffers a tray
containing plovers eggs and the wings of Red Admiral
butterflies candied in ginger. I imperiously wave him away,
and select instead a grape from the selection that Billy
Kirkwood continues to patiently peel. As Dexter Tucker and
Lee Ellington wave ostrich feathers gently above our heads
gently stirring the sub-tropical air that is the
micro-climate found in the Best, we savour the still silence
of the Best stand, only found elsewhere in my experience in
monasteries of the Greek Orthodox church…. We turn our
attention to the pitch. Fer Ark is an emerald glistening in
the basest metal of the stygian sky, but those such as Paul
the Pie and others who have commented on light dimness would
have had more food for thought, as the middle floodights
were unlit, as we peered into the sweeping rain.

As the players entered, the first thought on Petter Solli
was that he was a giant of a man, towering over his team
mates. Then I realised that he was standing alongside Paul
Wharton, which caused a rapid reassessment. Nevertheless he
is a tall man, surprisingly being both taller and thinner
than Ian Wilkinson. Worryingly, he had shoulder length hair
apparently in a bubble perm, a sort of restrained Kevin
Keegan look. Paul McShane, shaven-headed up front, looked
superfiacially like a smaller, thinner, younger Duane Darby
(at least in poor light with bad eyes he did) Playing the
wing back sysstem now apparently discarded by the seniors,
we lined up as follows;

Thomson

Trevitt Solli Wilkinson

Morley Dickinson
Wharton Lowthorpe Quigley

Fewings McShane

So with a mid-field substantially smaller than that
regulary fielded by Mersey Street junior school, we kicked
off. Early play was indecisive, Bury missed a half-decent
chance before a good turn and pass by Fewings nearly put
McShane in. Then following good approach play, their
big number nine Darren Beckford (late of Norwich? – can’t
remember) put the ball in the net, only to be penalised for
an invisible push. Bury began to control more of the game,
being caught offside on more than one occasion before
tank-like midfielder Rigby ran strongly at our defence,
which backed off nervously and was relieved to concede a
corner. From this, a horror show goal that will be familiar
to anyone who has regularly watched the first team this
season. An innocuous delivery into the six yard box,
defenders and keeper watched it with idle interest, it
bounced in the six yard area looped gently up and the Bury
number 11, impressively overcoming surprise and a fit of
the giggles at being the recipient of such a gift, turned
it in from around four feet out.

City attempted to respond to the reverse, the diminutive
mid-field playing some attractive football at times, but
typically being out-muscled by their couterparts, and
service to the front two was poor. Dickinson, marooned in
space on the left flank made an impressive run into the
area al a Gregor and appeared to be pulled down, no penalty
from a ref who had up to then been fussy in the extreme
about physical contact of any sort, as a good girl ought to
be. Moments later McShane went down again in the box, again
no pen for what appeared to be a more dubious claim. Apart
from a good Fewings run and shot from distance, that was
about it. Half-time saw us still trailling, early
impressions of our new boys being that Solli was
accomplished on the ground but was having a rough time from
the muscular Mr Beckford, McShane had had few opportunities
but appeared to have a decent first touch and ran
enthusiastically.

At Half-time I enjoyed a massage from the chairmans former
sister-in-law Chris Evert clad only in Jeff Radcliffe’s
bobble hat (Ms Evert that is, I was wrapped in perfumed
tiger-striped soft towelling) and sipped a Mint Julep
whilst musing on what the second forty five would bring.

Now moving towrds the deserted Bunkers, City had
intriguingly altered to 4-4-2, with Trevitt moving to left
back, Solli partnering Wilkinson in the middle, Ben Morley
at right back. Defensively this appeared to give us beter
balance, up front we achieved little. In rain which might
be described by a word similar to persistent, Bury
continued to sweep forwards. Wilkinson had to head off the
line from Thompson’s half stop, Thompson raced off his line
well to defy their number 10, and then more comfortably
collected a Beckford attempted chip. As the rain abated
somewhat we appeared to take fresh heart, and a good shot
by Quigley on the turn was comfortably saved by their
keeper. Then good work by Fewings and Wharton released
McShane, a clear run on the keeper, he rounded the keeper
and……. he falls over his feet and the defence gets back
to clear with the goal, as they say, at his mercy. Oh
dear. Wharton, increasingly influential had a good shot
well saved, and then a route one Thomson clearance was
flicked on, McShane was again one on one with the keeper,
he rounds him and…
he falls over his feet and the defence gets back to clear
with the goal, as they say , at his mercy. Oh dearie dearie
me. A carbon-copy cock-up of his previous effort. It was
little surprise when 5 minutes from the end he was
substituted, a dejected young man, for Michael Blythe.

In the dying seconds Blythe failed to get in a shot when
one on one, although he was probably not expecting a pass
as Paul Wharton in an even better position lost his nerve
and squared instead of shooting. And so it finished

City res. 0 Bury res, 1

Impressions, particularly in the second half Solli looked
good, comfortable and commanding in defence and he brought
the ball forward intelligently in the exact manner that
none of our other central defenders do. He also warmed the
Bury keeper’s hand with a heavy drive from 35 yards, and he
looks like he could be an asset. As for McShane, obviously
early, don’t want to be too harsh, but I couldn’t see any
thing better than we already have. One bad miss is
unfortunate, but two looks like carelessness, and he
appears to lack both pace and physical presence. I hope I’m
proved wrong.

As for the others, not much that you don’t already know.
The mid-field was clever but ineffectual. Wharton is
particularly infuriating in this regard, he has quick feet
and can pass, but too often turns away from the action and
plays the safe pass. Fewings was industrious (well he was!)
and also played with some skill back in a central strikers
role, and was probably our best performer on the night, but
we all know what he can and can’t do at the senior level.
Ben Morley looks a tidy right back, Thomson was solid after
the goal, and Trevitt….well you all know what Trevitt’s
like.

In summary, good to see that we are trying to play football
at all levels of the club, but I think on this showing
there is worryingly little competition for the senior
squad. As we left the ampitheatre that is Boothferry,
musing upon this crazy business that we call football, I
could only smile a secret smile, and think to myself
God I’m cold!

Mark