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Match Report: Resilient Hull City beaten at home by Southampton
Southampton did enough to see off Hull City with Jose Fonte’s second-half goal the difference between the sides on a cold Tuesday night at the KC Stadium.
Both sides made one change to their starting elevens with Steve Bruce replacing the injured Liam Rosenior with his son Alex Bruce while Mauricio Pochettino brought in Chambers at right-back at the expense of Nathaniel Clyne.
The two teams kicked off the game in relatively good mood with the home side looking to capitalize on the previous week’s 2-0 victory over relegation threatened Sunderland. Southampton meanwhile were looking for maximum points after their 2-2 home draw with Stoke City.
Hull City: Harper – McShane – Davies – Bruce – Figueroa – Elmohamady – Huddlestone – Livermore – Meyler – Jelavic – Long
Subs: Koren – Brady – Jakupovic – Boyd – Sagbo – Aluko – Quinn
Southampton: Boruc – Chambers – Fonte – Yoshida – Shaw – Lallana – Cork – Schneiderlin – Davis – Rodriguez – Lambert
Subs: Davis – Clyne – Wanyama – Ward-Prowse – Do Prado – Hooiveld – Isgrove
The visitors should have taken an early lead after great work from Adam Lallana saw his cross find Rickie Lambert in the centre of the box only for his effort to cannon back off the goal netting stanchion. The 10 minute mark saw Lambert again threaten when the England international found space only to be denied by the combined efforts of Steve Harper and Paul McShane – the latter coming off worse. The collision saw the Irish defender stretched off to be replaced by George Boyd and a reshuffle saw Ahmed Elmohamady switch to right-back after starting at right midfield.
Boyd was immediately into the action when Shane Long’s glancing header came back off the post only for Boyd to hit his shot into the ground which goalkeeper Boruc tipped over the crossbar.
The woodwork came to Hull’s rescue shortly after, when World Cup hopeful Jay Rodriguez clattered the crossbar with a sublime curling effort from range.
The two sides went into the break with Nikica Jelavic firing a shot straight at Boruc before Rodriguez found the top of the net after a Jack Cork cross, albeit from the wrong side.
Saints soon began to assert their authority on the fixture as their high pressure pressing game stifled any time on the ball which the usually reliable Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore enjoyed the previous week.
The turning point in the game came midway through the second-half when a Chambers cross found the head of Fonte which Harper saved, only for the rebound to be struck by Lallana which again the veteran was equal too. The ball fell again to Fonte who beat Harper with Figueroa seemingly clearing the danger only for the goal-line technology to give the goal, if there was any doubt Lambert found the back of the net at the fourth attempt as play continued.
Steve Bruce threw on Robbie Brady and the returning Sone Aluko in an attempt to salvage something from the game with Lambert making way for Guly.
It could have been 2-0 if it wasn’t for a superb last ditch save from Harper when Luke Shaw fizzed in a low cross which found the sliding do Prado.
With the points seemingly going the away sides, Aluko dropped deeper in search of the ball in order to stamp his mark on the game. The forward won a free-kick after a mazy run only for the set-piece to go high and wide which summed up how Hull played.
Jelavic found space behind the back-line but his fierce shot went wide from a tight angle late on and Cork could have doubled the away tally but his shot hit the woodwork with Harper left helpless.
A disappointing performance from Hull who never really had lady luck on their side with flicks and bounces going in favour of Southampton. The Saints were impressive with England trio of Lallana, Lambert and Rodriguez being a constant thorn in the City defence and deserved their victory.
The Egyptian Focus
Ahmed Elmohamady again was named in the starting team after putting in a good performance last week against his former club Sunderland. His attacking presence was somewhat stifled with the injury to Paul McShane which saw him revert to right-back. Prior to the change he had looked dangers and on a few occasions beat his man to get a cross in.