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Match Report: West Brom 1-1 Hull City
An 86th minute Matej Vydra goal gave managerless West Brom a share of the points in a 1-1 draw with Hull City at The Hawthorns.
West Brom had to deal with the upheaval following the sacking of Steve Clarke after the sides 1-0 away defeat at Cardiff City. The loss was the fourth consecutive for the side with their last win coming at the beginning of November in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, Hull City were on a run of two consecutive draws with the latest the 0-0 draw at the KC Stadium against Stoke City.
Caretaker Baggies boss Keith Downing made three changes to the side he is looking after on an interim basis. He was boosted by the return of goalkeeper Ben Foster to the starting eleven who had been out of action since August due to a foot injury – with former Hull player Boaz Myhill dropping to the bench. James Morrison and Scott Sinclair came into the side at the expense of Morgan Amalfitano and Claudio Yacob. Steve Bruce named the same starting eleven for a second consecutive week but there was no place on the bench for Robbie Brady who was replaced by Matty Fryatt.
West Brom: Foster – Jones – McAuley – Olssen – Ridgewell – Morrison – Brunt – Mulumbu – Sessegnon – Long – Sinclair
Subs: Myhill – Yacob – Lugano – Amalfitano – Vydra – Gera – Berahino
Hull City: McGregor – Figueroa – Chester – Bruce – Davies – Elmohamady – Livermore – Huddlestone – Meyler – Sagbo – Graham
Subs: Harper – Rosenior – Koren – Fryatt – McShane – Boyd – Faye
Both sides were trying to win the midfield battle but in truth the opening 20 minutes passed with little or no action to speak about. With Steve Bruce opting to play the 3-5-2 formation again, which served him so well in the Championship, the extra man in midfield made for a congested middle of the park.
After a drab opening the game sprung into life in the 28th minute when Tom Huddlestone dispossessed James Morrison, who wanted a penalty for said challenge. The ball was cleared up field to Danny Graham who did superbly well to hold up the play allowing Jake Livermore to support the striker. A perfectly weighted ball by Graham allowed Livermore to slot under the advancing Ben Foster to give the away side the lead.
David Meyler had a shot deflected high into the air but the thankful Foster saw it travel wide of his goal and out for a corner before the midfielder was booked for a challenge on Youssouf Mulumbu in the centre of the field.
The best chance of the half for West Brom came when James Morrison saw the ball sit up invitingly in the box only for the midfielder to slice the ball so far wide it went nearer the corner flag than the goal.
The half-time interval brought about boos from the home support with the ineffectual West Brom attack hardly testing Allan McGregor in the Hull goal.
West Brom brought off Scott Sinclair at the break and replaced him with top scorer Saido Berahino and the change looked to be paying dividends with the home side moving the pass around with more conviction.
The Baggies had a chance out of nothing early in the second-half when a Hull City clearance deflected into the path of Stephane Sessegnon but his powerful first-time volley was beaten away by McGregor.
Shane Long, who Hull so nearly signed in the summer transfer window, then tried to get in on the act but his attempted shot into the top left corner after cutting inside of Huddlestone travelled well wide. The home side had a further chance when Gareth McAuley had a far post header comfortably saved following a Christ Brunt corner as West Brom pushed for a leveller. West Brom were getting a lot of joy on the right flank but their lack of quality in the final third will have been a cause for concern.
Foster was then called upon in the 67th minute with a fine double save, first denying Huddlestone, after being fed by Yannick Sagbo into the box, then Elmohamady from the rebound.
The Tigers were in for a nervy final fifteen minutes as the team was sitting deeper and deeper inviting more pressure onto their goal. Their nerves could have been eased had Graham latched onto a short back pass from the Baggies defence but Foster was alert to the danger.
The levelly duly arrived in the 85th minute after a neat passage of play between Long and Gera saw Vydra calmly slotted the ball past McGregor.
Huddlestone then smashed in a shot from a free-kick seeing the ball drift narrowly wide of the top right corner as the teams settled for a share of the spoils.
Jamie Barwick is a 21-year-old Sports Journalism graduate and a fan of Hull City, covering the Tigers on KingFut.com.