James Chestney reports on City’s stumbling progress into the third round of the League Cup.
A ninth minute strike from academy graduate Greg Luer sent the Tigers into Round 3 of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday and a home tie with Premier League side Swansea City.
If you want to look back on this game you may have trouble finding it as it was quickly, thank goodness, entered into the annals of history.
It was awful.
City were on top, as they should be, in the opening minutes and went in front when Luer was on the end of an Abel Hernandez pass to slide the ball home. It was the young striker’s second goal in as many cup appearances and maybe he should start knocking on the manager’s door.
Steve Bruce made nine changes for this game against Rochdale who, although lower league opposition, were still tough. After the goal you would have thought the Tigers, with plenty of experience on the pitch, would have gone on to score more. Hernadez did send a 20 yard shot sailing over the bar, but that was it for the first half.
(Talking of the bar, it may have been a better place to be for the rest of the game as it was played at the pace of a pre-season friendly. The only real highlight of the game – one which put a smile on Tigers fans’ faces – was the return of Mohammed Diame. He looked lively all through his sixty minutes showing and was always a nuisance for the ‘Dale defence.)
The second half somewhat mirrored the first as a shot from Sam Clucas went close and a scuffed chance went over the bar from Hernandez, although it was similar to the one he scored from at Charlton.
As the game went on Rochdale did try to build some pressure which ensured Eldin Jakupovic had quite a few saves to make.
The game livened up later on with the introduction of Ahmed Elmohamady, Moses Odubajo and Calaum Jahraldo-Martin but even they couldn’t add to the tally. The relief was felt by all around the KC when referee Mark Haywood blew his whistle to bring proceedings to a close of what was a rather drab encounter.
Next stop will be the visit of Preston North End to the KC Stadium on Saturday and with Diame back and Luer in great form it will be a tough choice for Steve Bruce as to who to leave out.
MOM: David Meyler