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Match Report: Hull City 1-0 West Ham
A Robbie Brady first-half penalty was enough to give Hull City a 1-0 victory over West Ham at the KC Stadium.
The result marked back-to-back Premier League wins for the Tigers, seeing them climb up to the seventh in the table, whilst Sam Allardyce’s side suffered their third defeat in the league seeing them slip to 16th – precariously above the relegation zone.
Hull City went into the game having secured a safe passage into the next round of the cup with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town. In the league, the Tigers were riding high on confidence after coming twice from behind to beat Newcastle United 3-2 at St James’ Park.
The visitors also progressed in the cup in a thrilling 3-2 home win over Premier League Cardiff City, whilst last time out in the league they were on the end of a 3-2 loss at home to Everton.
Steve Bruce again had seen his troops hit by injury with the news that central defender James Chester would be out of action for a number of weeks. Stephen Quinn lost his place in the starting eleven and had to settle for a place on the subs bench. Liam Rosenior, who played the unfamiliar left-back role against Newcastle switched to his more favourable right-back position with Elmohamady pushing into the right flank of the midfield. The returning Maynor Figueroa adopted the left-back position with former Hammers player Abdoulaye Faye replacing Chester in the heart of defence.
West Ham made just the one change from the Everton game with James Tomkins replacing James Collins who dropped onto the subs bench. The Hammers again had Mark Noble at their disposal after serving a one match ban in in the cup after being shown a red card last time in the league.
Hull City: McGregor – Rosenior – Davies – Faye – Figueroa – Elmohamady – Huddlestone – Livermore – Elmohamady – Aluko – Graham
Subs: Harper – Bruce – McShane – Meyler – Boyd – Quinn – Sagbo
West Ham: Jaaskelainen – Reid – Tomkins – Rat – O’Brien – Nolan – Jarvis – Morrison – Noble – Diame – Maiga
Subs: Adrian – Collins – Demel – Taylor – Downing – Vaz Te – Petric
Hull started the game brightly with Sone Aluko, buoyed by his stunning volley against Newcastle, looking every inch a Premier League player.
The tone of the game was set as early as the eighth minute when Kevin Nolan lunged in on Rosenior near the centre circle earning himself a yellow card.
This had the billing of a scrappy 0-0 draw but that looked to change when Hull City were awarded a 12th minute penalty after Robbie Brady was brought down in the box by Joey O’Brien. Elmohamady received the ball on the right touchline before whipping in a cross before O’Brien was adjudged to have pulled Brady down under minimal contact with referee Kevin Friend pointing to the spot.
Brady picked himself up and sent Jussi Jaaskelainen the wrong way despite West Ham’s protests at the decision. The goal was his third in the league and fourth in all competitions for the Republic of Ireland international.
Going a goal down sparked the away side into action and they were almost level in the 23rd minute when Tomkins rose highest from a corner, only for Elmohamady to be on the post to chest the ball clear with McGregor beaten – goal-line technology confirmed that the ball didn’t cross the line.
West Ham pushed for the leveller and had a chance when Mohamed Diame met a Matt Jarvis cross only for his header to sail wide.
Aluko then had a free-kick 30-yards out smartly saved to Jaaskelainen’s left before the Tigers had two glorious chances to extend their advantage.
From a Hull corner swung in by Brady, Curtis Davies directed his header goal-bound only for Maiga to get back to hack a clearance into the air before dropping onto the crossbar and out for another corner. Again Brady crossed in an inviting ball only for Jaaskelainen to come to the rescue to palm an Elmohamady header onto the post.
The half-time interval came with Hull leading 1-0 and again West Ham seemed to be struggling to penetrate with their lacklustre strike force.
In the 53rd minute McGregor had to be alert when Maiga’s powerful shot stung his palms, it proved to be his last involvement and he was replaced by Mladen Petric – much to the delight of the travelling support.
Aluko did find the net in the second-half only for celebrations to be cut short after the assistant held up his flag for an offside decision.
The midfield combination of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore looked impressive against the physical Diame and Kevin Nolan.
Hull again struck the woodwork after good work from Danny Graham who controlled a Huddlestone pass before teeing the ball up for Livermore who struck a vicious low shot from range, only for the Hammers’ keeper to get his fingertips on the ball to push it onto the post.
The West Ham introductions of Stewart Downing and Ricardo Vaz Te seemed to open up the game more as Allardyce threw everything at the Hull defence.
The second controversial moment occurred fifteen minutes from time when Livermore appeared to use his arm to clear a cross with Kevin Friend waving away the furious protests from Hammers’ fans and players.
But it was Hull who held on for all three points securing their second successive win in the Premier League– a feat not achieved since October 2008. Before kick-off this had all the makings of a dire 0-0 draw but it was far from boring with plenty of goal-mouth action from both sides. Hull were unfortunate not to find a second having struck the woodwork three times whilst West Ham will feel aggrieved with the referring performance.
Jamie Barwick is a 21-year-old Sports Journalism graduate and a fan of Hull City, covering the Tigers on KingFut.com.