Mark O’Haire’s Football Tips – Hull v DerbyStats
Hull v Derby
Hull are 1/200 shots to reach Wembley after dismantling Derby at the iPro Stadium in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final.
Hull v Derby, Tuesday 17th May 2016, 19.45, Sky Sports 2
The Tigers put in their best performance of the season as first-half goals from top scorer Abel Hernandez and a deflected strike off Derby’s Jason Shackell put the Humbersiders in a commanding position. A third from Andy Robertson deep into second-half stoppage-time has more or less sealed the tie in Hull’s favour.
Steve Bruce was understandably thrilled and even joked that so comfortable was the success that he could have played in goal with first-choice goalkeeper Allan McGregor ruled out on the morning of the match.
Hull are now well on their way to a fourth Wembley trip in eight years as they bid to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking. The Tigers’ highly-experienced XI managed the match excellently on Saturday, riding out Derby’s decent early spell, defending stubbornly whilst showing a shrewd and clinical approach when in possession.
Arguably most impressive, mind, was the Humbersiders energy and physicality in the middle of the park and their willingness to work on the flanks, eliminating Derby’s threat. Having been outnumbered, outmanoeuvred and out-thought by their opponents in both regular season contests, Bruce’s big-game performers came to the party when it mattered most.
Having splashed out £25m this season, the Rams are facing yet another campaign of disappointment and underachievement. Supporters were frustrated with Darren Wassall’s selection and substitutions but County’s failure to fire a shot-on-target until the 81st minute is arguably the most damming statistic of that first leg meeting.
The team left the field to a chorus of boos and with no team at Championship level having recovered from a two-goal first leg deficit in the play-offs, never mind a three-goal margin loss, Wembley does look unreachable for County now.
First-time manager Wassall must now attempt to lift his troops but Derby’s return of three away wins from 12 gives visiting fans little optimism that this tie can be turned around. Without George Thorne’s midfield aggression, the Rams again suffered from a soft underbelly with a careless attitude towards midfield and defensive protection.
The first goal in this reverse fixture could prove pivotal and with Hull having suffered just a solitary loss at the KC Stadium all season – coincidentally to Derby back in November – and likely to field the same XI here, a Tigers opener could have Michael Myers-like consequences for the guests.
Home teams have W14-D5-L11 in second leg play-off matches at this level, including six victories from 10 since 2010/11.
With such a commanding advantage in their favour, I’m expecting Hull to complete the job in style as they look to build momentum towards their Bank Holiday weekend trip to Wembley.
Derby do have menacing firepower worthy of grabbing a goal and their need to attack will naturally leave opportunities for the home side to break forward, hopefully resulting in an entertaining encounter on Humberside.
Bets, Bets, Bets
With that in mind, plus the fact Over 2.5 Goals has proven profitable in eight of the last 10 Championship play-off second legs – with the average goals over those 10 tussles a bulky 3.40 per-game – rather than taking the 23/20 on a home win, add Over 2.5 Goals into the mix for a 13/5 shot.
Finally, five of the past 10 Championship second legs have seen a 3-0 or 3-1 correct score bank. There seems little harm in having a throwaway quid on the two correct scores at 16/1 each for a slice of interest alongside our 13/5 main play.
Hull to win and Over 2.5 Goals (13/5)
Hull to win 3-0 (16/1)
Hull to win 3-1 (16/1)
*Prices correct at time of publication