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Ten-man Hull City got their home league campaign off to a winning start with a 1-0 success over Norwich City at the KC Stadium on Saturday.
Robbie Brady's first-half penalty was the difference between the two sides, while Yannick Sagbo's red card five minutes later left Hull hanging on in the second half.
Steve Bruce made two changes from last week's defeat at Chelsea as Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore made their full debuts, in place of Danny Graham and David Meyler, who dropped to the bench. Norwich also made two changes from their previous fixture, with the injured Elliott Bennett replaced by Alex Tettey and Leroy Fer coming in for Wes Hoolahan.
The visitors had the better of the opening 10 minutes as Fer headed Steven Whittaker’s cross over before Nathan Redmond stung the palms of Allan McGregor with a fierce drive from distance.
As Hull worked their way back into the game, Sagbo released Livermore into the area with a clever back-heel, but the Tottenham loanee fired over the crossbar with his left foot.
Sagbo was again instrumental as Bruce’s side took the lead from the penalty spot on 22 minutes. Former Hull defender Michael Turner wrestled the Ivorian to the floor in the six-yard box as he tried to reach Ahmed Elmohamady's cross from the right and Brady stepped up to send John Ruddy the wrong way.
Sagbo’s eventful afternoon was soon finished, however, as he was dismissed by referee Mike Jones for an off-the-ball clash with Jonny Howson. As the hosts focused on getting to half-time with the lead, chances were at a premium. Sone Aluko curled an effort beyond Ruddy’s left-hand post, while Redmond fizzed a 25-yard free-kick just wide of goal with the last action of the half.
Howson had the first effort of note in the second half, pinching the ball from Huddlestone before his deflected drive was parried down by McGregor. Five minutes later the midfielder took aim once more, but this time his effort from distance flew over the crossbar.
Norwich continued to press, Redmond fed Van Wolfswinkel, whose neat lay-off was lashed high and wide by Tettey from the edge of the box as Norwich became frustrated. The visitors were denied by McGregor with 20 minutes to go, the Scotland goalkeeper leaping to tip Van Wolfswinkel's powerful header over the bar.Norwich continued to dominate possession in the final stages but failed to create any further chances as Hull doggedly held on for their first points of the season.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce: "We've done fantastically well to hang on and defend for our lives really. The sheer will to hang on for the result was evident for everybody. The [Norwich] goalkeeper has made a couple of saves but they didn't really create the chance that they wanted, which we're delighted about.
"We need 10 wins to make sure we stay here [in the Premier League]. We've seen glimpses today and it shows for me where the club has grown in the last 12 months. Our starting line-up today, no disrespect to the lads who started last year, is chalk and cheese, and if we can add and grow our squad, that's got to be our aim."
Norwich City manager Chris Hughton: "We've come up against a very resilient Hull team, they made it difficult for us but we needed to show more quality in the final third and with our final ball. We gave away possession far too easily at times which allowed us not to get into a rhythm in the first half.
"It's a missed opportunity. Apart from the penalty John [Ruddy] hasn't had a save to make, which for the period when they had 10 men is understandable. If it's a 0-0 scoreline then you come away happier and at least you've got something out of the game. We certainly didn't deserve to get nothing out of the game."
|01 Mar 2014||v Newcastle (H)|
|14 Dec 2013||v Stoke (H)|
|11 Feb 2014||v Southampton (H)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Man Utd (H)|
|04 Dec 2013||v Arsenal (A)|
|18 Jan 2014||v Norwich (A)|