BOWEN SPOILS TERRY’S PARTY

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

OLD STAGER John Terry was up­staged by young gun Jar­rod Bowen as Villa were made to pay for wast­ing a hat­ful of first-half chances.

Lead­ing through Gabby Ag­bon­la­hor’s sev­enth-minute strike, Villa bossed the vis­i­tors for half-an-hour and cre­ated enough chances to win two games.

But hav­ing failed to twist the knife, Steve Bruce’s side ran out of gas and were forced to set­tle for a point when 20-year-old Bowen net­ted his first goal for the Tigers.

“It is no sur­prise Jar­rod scored to­day,” said Leonid Slut­sky, Hull’s ec­cen­tric new Rus­sian boss.

“He was the best striker in all the pre-sea­son matches and he re­ally de­served this. To me, age is noth­ing. What is im­por­tant are good play­ers and bad play­ers, and Jar­rod is a very good player.”

Bruce, who signed Bowen for Hull in 2014, be­grudg­ingly agreed. “I should have left him at Here­ford,” he joked. “When we brought him in he was a young­ster play­ing in a man’s league. He’s a ter­rific lad and he’s look­ing a pretty good buy for 50 grand now.”

If Bruce’s trans­fer nous was the in­ad­ver­tent ar­chi­tect of Villa’s down­fall, his side’s fin­ish­ing was more di­rectly cul­pa­ble.

“If there is an Achilles heel since I’ve been here, that’s it,” said Bruce, who was fac­ing Hull as a man­ager for the first time since leav­ing the Tigers a year ago. “We’ve had too many games where we’ve not taken our chances and been pun­ished.

“You can’t play that well in big games – and Hull were in the Premier League last year – and fail to cap­i­talise. We were close to blow­ing them away first half but we didn’t keep up our in­ten­sity.”

If Bruce’s de­par­ture en­sured last sum­mer was trau­matic for Hull, this one has hardly been a cake­walk for Slut­sky, de­spite the Rus­sian de­scrib­ing his five-week stay as “a liv­ing fairy­tale”.

The loss of six first-team main­stays fol­low­ing rel­e­ga­tion has lent the squad a tat­tered, wafer­thin ap­pear­ance. A back four con­sist­ing of three debu­tants hinted at trou­ble to come and, within seven min­utes, it had ar­rived in spades.

First Henri Lans­bury went clean through, then Ag­bon­la­hor.

PIC­TURES:Ac­tion Im­ages

WHAT A GAS! Gabby Ag­bon­la­hor cel­e­brates scor­ing Villa’s opener

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