RUTH­LESS ABEL IS HAT-TRICK HERO

Slut­sky’s de­lighted as Tigers im­press

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ricky Charlesworth

LEONID SLUT­SKY was de­lighted with his first win as Hull boss but knows his squad could change be­tween now and the end of Au­gust.

Abel Her­nan­dez was the star of the show af­ter net­ting a hattrick for Slut­sky’s side against a plucky Brew­ers side.

Slut­sky, tak­ing charge of his first home game, was happy with the win but knows City need to strengthen their ranks be­fore the trans­fer win­dow closes later this month.

He is also keen to ward off clubs cir­cling around his star play­ers, in­clud­ing Kamil Grosicki and Sam Clu­cas.

“We played some un­be­liev­able foot­ball today,” said the Rus­sian. “We con­tinue build­ing and grow­ing as a team, but we don’t have a lot of time to build.

“I was very ner­vous today as it was my first game here. But the sup­port we got was un­be­liev­able.

“The sup­port helped our team, es­pe­cially dur­ing a 20minute pe­riod which was re­ally dif­fi­cult for us.

“I thank the fans for that and hope­fully that con­tin­ues for all our home matches.

“We started well, scored and then had lots of chances. Ob­vi­ously, play­ing against ten men is eas­ier but over­all we must be happy.”

The last time Tigers’ fans flocked to the KCOM Sta­dium was back in May when they wit­nessed their team bow out of the Premier League in em­barass­ing fash­ion, los­ing 7-1 to Tot­ten­ham.

But they started ex­cel­lently here and it wasn’t long be­fore the City faith­ful were toasting the open­ing goal. Markus Hen­rik­sen smacked an ef­fort against the bar and it was Uruguayan hit­man Her­nan­dez who was quick­est to re­act as he nod­ded in the re­bound to make it 1-0.

Shortly af­ter, the bright Clu­cas tried his luck from dis­tance but could only sting the gloves of Al­bion stop­per Stephen By­wa­ter.

Al­lan McGre­gor then had to be at his sharpest in the Hull goal to deny Tom Nay­lor, who looked des­tined to score when he planted a header goal­wards.

But there was noth­ing the Scot­tish stop­per could do about Jack­son Irvine’s ef­fort that drew Bur­ton level shortly af­ter. Irvine curled home a sumptu- ous ef­fort that curled into the top cor­ner to re­store par­ity.

But the Aus­tralian soon turned from hero to zero within five min­utes when he was sent off for a sec­ond book­ing for a foul on Jarred Bowen.

And if wasn’t long be­fore the nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage took its toll on the Brew­ers as Hull re­gained the lead on 51 min­utes. Grosicki rose to meet Ola Aina’s pre­cise cross and glanced his header be­yond By­wa­ter.

It was 3-1 a minute later when Her­nan­dez net­ted his sec­ond of the af­ter­noon as he fired be­yond By­wa­ter on 54 min­utes.

And the former Udi­nese striker sealed his hat-trick on 68 min­utes when he slot­ted home in style.

It was his sec­ond tre­ble in a City shirt – his last came in a 6-0 ham­mer­ing of Charl­ton in Jan­uary 2016.

Al­bion chief Nigel Clough said: “There were sev­eral turn­ing points in the game today and the red card was the most im­por­tant one.

“Their first goal was off­side and then Lu­cas Akins was on­side and his goal ruled out.

“We then thought Jack­son’s sec­ond yel­low card was harsh so if you fac­tor in those three, it was very dif­fi­cult for us.”

PIC: Ac­tion Im­ages

THREE’N’EASY: Abel Her­nan­dez cel­e­brates with Fra­zier Camp­bell

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