Cham­pi­onship lead­ers Hull City were held 1-1 at Bris­tol City

Scot on tar­get af­ter City sur­prise

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Richard Latham

SHAUNMALONEY’S 73rd­minute equaliser came as a huge re­lief ad­mit­ted Steve Bruce.

The Hull boss had elected to leave out Uruguayan top scorer Abel Her­nan­dez fol­low­ing the in­ter­na­tional break and saw his team fail to make the most of dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion.

Bris­tol cap­i­talised to take a firsthalf lead through Kieran Agard. But when Bruce sent on Maloney as a 61st-minute re­place­ment for Chuba Akpom, the Tigers fi­nally found their teeth.

Twelve min­utes later the sub­sti­tute burst onto a Mo­hamed Di­ame flick fol­low­ing a long clear­ance from goal­keeper Al­lan McGre­gor and, with City wrongly ap­peal­ing for off­side, found the roof of the net with an em­phatic fin­ish.

Bruce ad­mit­ted: “We de­cided to let Her­nan­dez get a bit of ex­tra sun on his back and if we had lost I would have left my­self open.

“But he faces 16-hour flights back and forth to Uruguay and we hope that fresh­en­ing him up will mean he is lively against Derby next week.”

Bruce had warned his high­fly­ers to ex­pect a tough bat­tle against op­po­nents he deemed to be in a false po­si­tion. And Bris­tol didn’t dis­ap­point.

The Hull boss added: “An away point is never bad, but I wasn’t happy with our first-half per­for­mance be­cause we gave the ball away too cheaply and con­ceded too many free-kicks, which in­vited pres­sure. That is what led to their goal.

“I be­lieve Bris­tol City will be com­fort­able in the Cham­pi­onship by the end of the sea­son.

“I knew a Steve Cot­ter­ill team would be pos­i­tive, but in the sec­ond half we were more like our­selves and played with a bit of pur­pose.

“I feel I’m talk­ing like a cricket cap­tain, but I was sorry we lost the toss and had to play with the sun in our faces in the first half be­cause it was very dif­fi­cult.”

Both teams had to con­tend with a swirling wind and lively pitch. Agard put Bris­tol in front on 39 min­utes af­ter An­drew Robertson brought down El­liott Ben­nett to con­cede one of the free-kicks that in­fu­ri­ated Bruce.

Luke Free­man’s in­swing­ing cross caused havoc and Bris­tol ap­pealed for hand­ball be­fore Agard pounced on the loose ball to net with a left-footed shot on the turn. It was the first Cham­pi­onship goal Hull had con­ceded in 551 min­utes, but they re­sponded well and might have been level by the break as Jake Livermore’s shot was bril­liantly di­verted over his own cross­bar by Ben­nett be­fore Maloney pounced.

Cot­ter­ill said: “Be­fore the game I was tip­ping Hull for pro­mo­tion and noth­ing I saw changed my mind. They have a great spirit about them at the mo­ment, which com­bined with the qual­ity of their play­ers prob­a­bly makes them an even bet­ter team than they were in the Premier League last sea­son.

“We knew it would be a huge test for us and we came through it well. We scored against Hull, which no one had done for a while and stopped their win­ning run. While we didn’t de­serve to win, we didn’t de­serve to lose ei­ther. Both teams de­serve credit be­cause those con­di­tions are the worst you can face as a player.

“Our goal­keeper didn’t have many saves to make, which was pleas­ing, and we can take a lot from the game go­ing for­ward.”

Jonathan Kod­jia wasted Bris­tol’s best early chance when vol­ley­ing wide, but for most of the game the home side’s trump card was their com­mit­ted de­fend­ing.

Aden Flint was out­stand­ing at the back for the hosts, a per­for­mance matched by Hull cen­tre-back Harry Maguire in a match nei­ther side de­served to lose.

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

A-OK: Bris­tol City’s Kieran Agard opens the scor­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.