Hammers on top as Tigers fail to roar.
Hull City 0-2 West Ham United
Manager Nigel Pearson must have been wondering quite what happened as 2 second half goals in 8 minutes condemned his Hull City side to their 3rd home defeat of the season.
City had been the stronger of the two sides in the first half, with a mixture of slick passing football and an aerial threat from veteran striker Dele Adebola. Robert Koren twice tested visiting goalkeeper Robert Green, firstly from 25 yards with a low driven shot that Green did well to push wide and secondly a free kick from a similar distance that was straight at the onetime England international. Adebola linked well with striker partners Mclean and Fryatt to produce another effort on goal but his goal bound effort was deflected just wide.
City’s midfield trio of Koren, Evans and former Nottingham Forest player Paul McKenna had been pulling the strings, combining close range passes with cross field balls to full backs Liam Rosenior and Joe Dudgeon. Both players failed to capitalise on good positions with a poor final ball all too often breaking down promising attacking moves.
The visitors were giving a performance that football fans have been used to seeing from Sam Allardyce sides; long balls towards the head of lone striker John Carew and tough tackling in the midfield. Carew was well marshalled by Jack Hobbs and James Chester at the centre of the City defence, his only sight at goal a header that went well wide from a Julien Faubert cross. Hammers captain Kevin Nolan was booked early on after a late challenge on Koren and he angered the home fans further after an altercation with Rosenior.
The best chance of the first half came late on; Fryatt raced clear after being released by a fine pass from Koren. Green narrowed the angle and got enough on the ball to slow it down and Abdoulaye Faye completed the clearance from under his own cross bar. Half time came and the Tigers were applauded off the field after a dominant first half performance.
Allardyce made a substitution at halftime, man mountain Carew replaced by another in Carlton Cole, making his return from injury. It didn’t take long for Cole to make an impact, on 48 minutes, Sam Baldock volleyed into the roof of the net after Coles’ flick on from a corner. City looked shell-shocked after such an impressive first half display and their day got worse as the visitors doubled their lead, just 8 minutes later. Cole was again involved, Mark Noble capitalised on a misplaced pass to feed Cole who played in Jack Collison to fire low past Gulacsi in a great finish to a fine piece of passing football in front of the away fans.
This prompted City boss Pearson to introduce Manchester United loanee Robbie Brady in place of Adebola and the youngster’s first piece of action was to win a corner for his side. From the set piece, Hobbs headed back across goal where Fryatt saw his scrappy effort cleared off the line by Noble straight into Green’s grasp. The introduction of speedster Brady suddenly awoke the Hull frontline, Mclean seeing his shot from 18 yards pushed wide by Green and Fryatt having a shot blocked by James Tomkins. West Ham were quite happy to defend their 2 goal lead but by sitting back invited the home side to attack at will. Fryatt was released inside the penalty area and his shot looked to be heading into the top of the net before Green somehow managed to stick up a hand and push the ball up and away for a corner. Green wasn’t finished there, after Brady’s trickery on the right hand side, his far post cross was met by Hobbs who headed powerfully back across goal only to see the flying goalkeeper push the ball away yet again. With time ticking away, there was still time for veteran McKenna to hit a dipping volley towards the top right hand corner, Green had kept his best till last, arching his back to produce a stunning one handed save. The final whistle followed shortly after, the Hammers delighted with another 3 points to continue their pursuit of leaders Southampton whilst City were left wondering how they hadn’t got a least a point from the game.
Jack Shoemark at the KC Stadium.
Hull City: Peter Gulacsi, Liam Rosenior, James Chester, Jack Hobbs, Joe Dudgeon, Paul McKenna, Robert Koren, Corry Evans, Aaron Mclean, Matty Fryatt, Dele Adebola (Robbie Brady 62).
Subs Not Used: Adriano Basso, Paul McShane, Tom Cairney, James Harper.
West Ham United: Robert Green, Julien Faubert, Abdoulaye Faye, James Tomkins, George McCartney, Papa Bouba Diop (Freddie Sears 84), Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan, Jack Collison, Sam Baldock (Frederic Piquionne 88), John Carew (Carlton Cole 46).
Subs Not Used: Peter Kurucz, Daniel Potts.
Referee: N Miller.
Attendance: 21,756 (2591 Away)