BRUCE’S BOYS BACK ON TRACK
HULL CITY ......1 MIDDLESBRO’..0
HULL manager Steve Bruce pointed to the resilience of his side after Robbie Brady’s free-kick ensured they returned to winning ways following the loss to promotion rivals Watford on Tuesday.
Brady embarrassed Jason Steele with a left-footed strike that the Middlesbrough goalkeeper should have saved 17 minutes into the second half of a scrappy encounter.
“After the disappointment of Tuesday it took us until half time to get going, but we showed some resilience and determination,” Bruce said.
“It wasn’t pretty at all, but if you look at all the top teams, over the last few weeks, they have all wobbled.
“At the moment we are win one, lose one, but whether it will be enough we’ll have to see.
“The goal looks to me like it hit a divot, but we needed a break. It has put us in a strong position and it’s in our hands with five to play.
“We have people carrying knocks and hopefully we can get a few back from injury.”
Bruce said that Gedo and Alex Bruce sustained injuries, with the latter likely to be sidelined for at least three weeks, but he praised the performance of veteran Abdoulaye Faye in defence.
“Big Abdoulaye’s performance at the back was fantastic,” Bruce added. “It’s a long time since I’ve seen as good a performance at centre-back.
“He’s been there and done it worn the T-shirt.”
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray was left to bemoan familiar failings as his side slumped to a sixth consecutive game without a win.
“I thought we were probably the better team on the day and created the better chances, but again it is a case of us not scoring a goal, and that has been a problem for us over the past few weeks,” Mowbray said.
“It was a tight game and was not a great spectacle. Apart from the goal I genuinely cannot remember our goalkeeper making a real save.
“Given their position in the table I presume Hull have usually played better, but perhaps they were a bit anxious.
“But it’s disappointing because we could easily have won it. We had an effort cleared off the line and their goalkeeper made some good saves.
“Jason (Steele) is disappointed with the goal. I don’t know if it’s bounced awkwardly, but it looked like it was straight at him. That’s football and that’s the way it’s going for us at the moment.”
Middlesbrough started brightly with Sammy Ameobi testing David Stockdale with a low drive from distance.
At the other end, Hull’s George Boyd then fired into the side-netting after a quicklytaken free-kick, but Ishmael Miller rifled a deflected shot just over as the visitors continued to look more dangerous.
Middlesbrough forward Miller then just failed to keep his header down after losing his marker in the six-yard box.
However, with the game seemingly drifting towards a goalless stalemate on a bobbly playing surface, Brady curled home a left-footed free-kick from 25 yards, with Steele beaten by the bounce.
Hull should have made the points safe, but substitute Jay Simpson scuffed his shot from point-blank range after excellent work by Stephen Quinn on the right.
The hosts invited pressure from the dispirited visitors, though, and ended up hanging on for the win.
James Chester’s aerial intervention denied Miller, and moments late Stockdale produced a fine reflex save to keep out McDonald’s back-heel.
MATCH WINNER: Robbie Brady scores the winning goal for Hull
HEADS UP: Hull’s Stephen Quinn and Justin Hoyte