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Hull City v Spurs, 01.02.14

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 1ST FEBRUARY, 2014
(3PM)
HULL CITY 1 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)

Hull scorer:-
Long, 12

Spurs scorer:-
Paulinho, 61

Attendance:- 24, 932

Referee:- Mr. A. Taylor
Assistants:- Mr. D. Cann & Mr. M. McDonough
Fourth official:- Mr. M. Atkinson

Teams:-
Hull (4-4-2):- Harper; Rosenior, Davies (Capt.), McShane, Figueroa; Elmohamady (sub Koren, 70), Meyler, Huddlestone, Brady (sub Boyd, 69); Jelavic (sub Sagbo, 88), Long

Subs not used:- Jakupovic; Bruce; Quinn; Fryatt

Booked:- Meyler

Spurs (4-4-2):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Vertonghen, Rose; Lennon, Bentaleb, Paulinho, Eriksen; Adebayor (sub Kane, 90), Soldado

Subs not used:- Friedel; Naughton, Kaboul; Capoue, Chadli, Sigurdsson

Booked:- Soldado (foul on Meyler)

Hull prove they are no pussycats.

Spurs’ run of consecutive away wins (five) came to an end at the KC Stadium today in cold, swirling windy conditions which made good football a rare commodity. A draw was definitely a fair result, and it could have been worse for Spurs, especially when Lloris over-committed, but Dawson came to his rescue with a clearance in front of goal, when new Hull signing Nikica Jelavic hit a goal-bound effort past the advancing keeper.

Both Steve Bruce’s high profile striker signings (the other was Shane Long) made their homedebuts, and of course Bruce had the luxury of fielding a 4-4-2, knowing that Tim Sherwood would do the same today. It was Long who put Hull into an early lead, from Jelavic’s pass.

Famously, the Hull fans (applauded by Spurs fans) don’t want to be “Hull Tigers”, rather than City. Their team proved they were no pussycats either, closing down Spurs effectively in all areas, and often being more effective when in possession.

Sherwood was able to give Vertonghen and Paulinho a start. Vertonghen took the place of Chiriches, and Paulinho took over in the middle from Dembele. Both Chiriches and Dembele were apparently injured, although that had been kept quiet by Spurs approaching this game. Younes Kaboul was one of six unused substitutes, with Harry Kane a late, late replacement for Adebayor, who had hobbled off the pitch. That’s a worry for Spurs, who are losing Defoe at the end of the month, and haven’t replaced him this week. Soldado has already been taking some flak from fans unhappy with his failure to score. There was one notable first half occasion, when he should have taken a shooting chance, but took too long and chose a weaker option.

Aaron Lennon has also been heavily criticised in early feedback after the game, and it has to be said that too often he looked “less than interested”. He was rarely to be found actually on the wing, although presumably this was part of Sherwood’s game plan.

Spurs probably suffered the worst of the wind conditions in the first half, but made a better fist of things in the second, with the wind more favourable.

There was little penetration from either side for a while, but Jelavic had an excellent first time effort go over the bar after 9 minutes, receiving a cross from the right. Spurs responded with one of the few occasions of decent one-touch football, attacking down the right-hand side through Eriksen and Lennon. Adebayor hit an excellent right footed shot which was tipped over by second choice keeper Steve Harper.

However, Hull took the lead in the 12th minute, when Jelavic lifted a ball over the Spurs defence down their left channel. Long got goal-side and with only Lloris to beat, the former West Brom striker finished admirably, and celebrated his first goal for his new club.

It was a good while for any action worthy of note to occur. Vertonghen had been sending curling balls down the left of centre for Adebayor and Soldado. Soldado won a corner after his challenge for one such ball, following which he fired well over, after Dawson’s header was presented to him. Referee Anthony Taylor gave a dodgy free kick against Spurs about 25 yards out. I say dodgy, because the Spurs player had clearly won the ball, and of course this week, we have seen Danny Rose reprieved after such a challenge in the penalty area against Man City. Huddlestone showed an interest in the kick, but Jelavic took it and the ball passed safely over the bar.

Paulinho set Soldado away with an excellent ball, and this could have been the occasion when Soldado might have scored, had he latched onto the ball earlier. We did get a corner. At the end of the half, Eriksen carried the ball down the right channel, hitting a good right footed shot over the bar.

Having criticised Bentaleb for being out of his depth against City, I would commend him for his performance today. I thought he looked the best of our midfield players, regarding quick and useful control and passing of the ball. He had one or two decent efforts on goal too.

Spurs came out of the blocks with more desire in the second half, but again there was an absence of good chances. Ten minutes into the half, Paulinho had a shot deflected into Soldado’s path, and his shot was well saved by Harper for a corner.

Spurs equalised after a foul on Bentaleb in the middle. The free kick was touched to the left to Danny Rose, who was a long way out. It looked like he was aiming a shot at goal, but his driven effort turned into a good pass for Paulinho, who made no mistake from just inside the box, hitting a powerful drive that defeated Harper.

At the other end, Shane Long, with his back to goal on the right of the area, hooked a pass to the back post, where Jelavic’s effort was picked up by Lloris. Eriksen and Paulinho worked an opening for Adebayor, but Hull cleared the danger. Then Tom Huddlestone had a snap shot go well wide of the target. Jelavic’s effort past the over-committed Lloris came after 70 minutes, but the shot was not powerful enough to defeat Michael Dawson’s recovering run to clear the ball.

Lennon had previously made a run from the right to the left of the field, and he was still on the left when Bentaleb found him with a good pass. Lennon fed the ball to the feet of Adebayor, with his back to goal, giving Eriksen a shot which was deflected and held. Following a Spurs corner after 75 minutes, Bentaleb hit a low driven shot that passed just outside Harper’s left post. Jelavic had yet another chance on goal, but Lloris made a good save.

Hull had a late free kick on the right of the Spurs area, which was driven hard across the goal by Huddlestone, passing harmlessly to the other touchline.

You can’t really argue with the result, but one point is not what either team wanted. Hull still find themselves in the wrong half of the division, only two points above the bottom three. Spurs dropped back to sixth, but they are still four points clear of Manchester United, who were beaten at Stoke today. Next Sunday’s home game against Everton promises to be another crunch game.

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