Wednesday’s woeful Christmas period ended with a third successive defeat in another lacklustre home performance against Hull City this afternoon.
Not surprisingly, the 1-0 reverse sees us drop out of the congested play-off places, slipping to seventh place on 39 points and one behind Millwall, who are now in sixth.
As with the defeat against Cardiff three days earlier, it was a display that lacked any real belief, commitment, energy or intensity and, while we were hardly a potent threat in front of goal, when chances did arise we failed to take advantage.
At the other end, Hull – like Cardiff – were nothing more than average but took one of their rare opportunities when leading scorer Jarrod Bowen was allowed to break free in the box to fire home the winner just after the hour-mark.
We only managed three shots on target from 11 attempts, with Sam Winnall failing to connect properly in the penalty area early on and then Kadeem Harris seeing our only real effort of note in the first half cleared off the line by Matthew Pennington.
The introduction of the returning Steven Fletcher at half time gave us more mobility up front and Fletcher went close soon after the restart when he turned the ball against a post from Barry Bannan’s corner.
Then Harris created his own opening but fired well over when well placed before Bowen pounced to score the all-important goal.
Fletcher curled just wide from a late free kick but chances were few and far between as we completed a miserable run of three defeats over the festive period.
Such is the mediocrity of this season’s Championship that we are still in touch with those play-off places but, unless performances improve quickly, then we will surely find ourselves slipping out of real contention in the coming weeks.
Dawson, Iorfa, Lees, Börner, Fox, Harris, Bannan, Hutchinson, Reach (Murphy 64), Nuhiu (Fletcher 46), Winnall (Rhodes 59). Unused subs. Wildsmith, Lee, Pelupessy, Odubajo. Att: 24.842.