Match report: Hull City 1 Liverpool 0

April 29, 2015

Harry Drew reports on a very nice evening’s work, thank you very much.

In spite of City’s perilous position just one point above the drop zone and the daunting task of Liverpool ahead, there were stirrings of optimism around the KC before Tuesday night’s crucial fixture.  In the ground there was a slightly unusual atmosphere with many Liverpool fans staying away in protest at City’s extortionate ticket prices for ‘Category A’ fixtures.  As Mark noted in the preview, Liverpool were firm favourites but City, buoyed by a priceless weekend victory at Crystal Palace, clearly smelt blood. They were right to.

Dame N’Doye, following an exceptional performance on Saturday, went close just a few minutes in with a close-range header. His presence up front is somewhat abating the effect of Nikica Jelavic being on the injury list, and he is perhaps the consistent goal scorer City have been seeking for some time. He was unable to get on the score sheet in this game; rather, the goal was to come from a more unexpected source.

After a City corner had found its way out to Elmohamady, the Egyptian delivered one of his trademark crosses and none other than Michael Dawson stuck his head on the ball to put City one up. His first goal for the club was celebrated as you might expect – clenched fists, unalloyed passion. While some lazy defending from Mario Balotelli kept Dawson onside, there was still much to do with the header, which nestled perfectly in the bottom corner.

In truth City were on top in the first half and probably should have scored before Dawson netted. Robbie Brady, an outstanding performer recently, caused havoc with a cross from the left but neither Livermore nor N’Doye could convert.  With anti-Allam sentiment on the terraces as strong as ever, the theory that this was negatively impacting on the players was falling flat on its face (if it ever had any credence.)

Liverpool did have their moments. Steve Harper had to be sharp to keep out Coutinho, and Glen Johnson’s cross somehow managed to miss everybody with seconds to go before half time.  Unusually, City’s luck was in. The Reds were enjoying possession but their attacking threat was on the whole being nullified by a resilient City defence.

This theme continued into the second half.  That the likes of Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho were getting nowhere near Steve Harper’s goal is testament to City’s defensive display.  Everyone was playing their part but James Chester has to get a special mention, on two occasions making world-class tackles to prevent Sterling causing problems for City. You always felt Liverpool would get chances but they never really came – Harper saved well from a Henderson volley, but otherwise the away team hardly threatened.

If anything City should have got a second.  Tom Huddlestone’s volley went fizzing wide of the post and McShane almost got on the end of a corner after Chester flicked the ball on at the near post.  In the end these near misses wouldn’t matter, City seeing out the game to secure rare successive Premier League wins.  A look at the updated table tells you everything about the importance of these three points.  Undoubtedly, work still has to be done, but a widespread doom and gloom outlook has been overturned in a matter of days.

Harry Drew @hdrew95