Matty Fryatt’s second half goal was enough to give Hull City a 1-0 victory over the Blues at Portman Road. Town had the better of a first period in which ex-Hull defender Damien Delaney had hit the bar, but the Tigers improved after the break with Fryatt making the most of a defensive lapse with 14 minutes remaining.
Town boss Paul Jewell left new signing Keith Andrews, a former Hull player, on the bench, choosing to stick with last week’s side which beat Bristol City 3-0, with the exception of Tommy Smith replacing Ívar Ingimarsson, who is out with a thigh injury, on the right side of central defence.The Blues had the better of the early exchanges but with neither side particularly threatening. On nine Smith diverted a corner over under pressure after the second of two Town corners from the right.Former Blues loanee Liam Rosenior created an opportunity for Matty Fryatt on the edge of the area on 12 but the ex-Leicester man somehow managed miskick the ball in completely the opposite direction.An impressive Mark Kennedy run on 14 ended with the former Republic of Ireland international laying the ball across the six-yard box from the right but no one was there to add the final touch.After Tigers midfielder Paul McKenna had been lucky to avoid a yellow card for clattering into Lee Bowyer after the ball had gone, the Blues went close to going in front. Bowyer sent in a deep cross from the right and Martin just failed to get a touch at the far post, the winger, who had already swapped flanks from right to left, possibly not seeing the ball as it appeared from behind Rosenior at pace.
Left-back Aaron Cresswell went close to an extraordinary first goal for the Blues on 23. Spotting keeper Peter Gulacsi off his line, the former Tranmere man unleashed a dipping effort from 45 yards on the left, the ball nestling in the sidenetting. Moments later, Martin had a go from around half the distance, but went narrowly over.On 28 Hull’s left-sided on-loan Manchester United midfielder Robbie Brady broke through the middle and hit a low shot which Stockdale stopped without fuss.A minute later, Bowyer forced Gulacsi into a sharp save down to his left just inside the post after the former Leeds man had been found on the edge of the box by Cresswell. From the corner, Delaney headed wide.The former Hull City defender, who had been a doubt with an ankle injury, headed over again on 31, then Smith went even closer from another corner soon after with the Blues continuing to look the more threatening side.Hull were inches from a goal in the 38th minute when Corry Evans flicked on Tom Cairney’s corner on the right and Fryatt scuffed wide at the far post.Kennedy made another strong run into the box in the 43rd minute, his stabbed shot deflecting off Hull skipper Jack Hobbs and wrongfooting Gulacsi, who did well to get back across to save down to his right.
A minute later, from what was Town’s seventh corner, Delaney headed off the bar and over. The Blues were continuing to have the better of it as the game moved into injury time, a Martin cross flying across the area and somehow managing to avoid everyone.Blues boss Paul Jewell will have been happy enough with the first half display, the Blues having been on top against a hardly adventurous Hull side and creating a number of opportunities, both from longer distances via Cresswell and Martin, and Delaney and Smith’s closer efforts from corners. Hull had really only had the one opportunity when Fryatt failed to get enough on the near post corner.
David Stockdale made the first save of the second half, coming out to block Fryatt as he closed in on goal from the right.
A minute later, Robert Koren, who scored the goal which was the difference between the two sides at the KC Stadium last season, hit a 25-yard strike which Stockdale did well to push behind for a corner to his left. Soon after, a Town corner was semi-cleared to Bowyer on the edge of the area but his shot looped over.
Hull had started the second half the stronger side with the Blues unable to keep hold of the ball and bring the likes of Martin, Emmanuel-Thomas and Chopra into the game.
On 63 Hobbs headed Cairney’s freekick from just inside the Town half straight at Stockdale when if it had been a foot either side, the Tigers captain would have scored.
New loanee from Blackburn Keith Andrews replaced Mark Kennedy on 65 to make his debut for the Blues. Moments later Koren shot straight at Stockdale, prior to Emmanuel-Thomas sending a low ball into the six-yard box but too close to Gulacsi.
Chopra hit a 25-yard effort straight at Gulacsi on 69, prior to Josh Carson replacing the quiet Jay Emmanuel-Thomas wide on the right. Five minutes later, Leadbitter’s low shot flew wide.
The visitors went ahead in the 76th minute when the Blues were caught short at the back after Delaney and Cresswell pushed forward before Martin lost the ball on the edge of the Hull area. Hobbs played a long clearance towards Fryatt, who was left with only Smith to beat, which he did before slipping the ball past Stockdale.
Blues boss Jewell immediately switched to 4-4-2 with Nathan Ellington taking over from Bowyer and joining Chopra up front. Soon after, Town weren’t far away from an equaliser when Edwards crossed from the left and Martin headed goalwards but without the necessary power to beat Gulacsi.
On 86 Cairney was booked for an ugly challenge on Carson but Cresswell ‘s freekick flew straight into Gulacsi’s arms. Town were huffing and puffing but failing to create anything of note in front of goal.
As the game moved into injury time, Cresswell unleashed a fearsome 25-yarder which only just flew over.
Smith headed over from a corner, but the Blues weren’t really looking like getting back on terms and Gulacsi wasn’t seriously tested again before referee Danny McDrmid blew his whistle.
A disappointing second half in which Hull had been on top from the off, keeping the ball far better than Town and taking one of the game’s rare serious chances when it came.
Town, who had created enough chances before the break to have won it, never got going after the break with Martin, Emmanuel-Thomas and Chopra peripheral figures for the most part.
Aside from another impressive display from Cresswell, there were few positives for Jewell to take from a second 45 minutes little different to Tuesday’s defeat to Northampton.