Hull City 2 Blackburn Rovers 0: match report
IF EVERY promotion push needs one, Hull City may just have completed their very own defining week. Fresh from sending Derby County and Charlton Athletic away from East Yorkshire empty-handed, the Tigers completed a quick-fire treble at the KC Stadium by dominating the Championship’s supposed dark horse Blackburn Rovers last night.
Following an engrossing script with its roots again set in Egypt, second-half goals from Gedo and Ahmed Elmohamady were again the inspiration as a wonderful trilogy ended with a flourish.
City undoubtedly saved their best until last. While the previous two wins over Derby and Charlton had relied on grit and determination, the third triumph in eight days showed a returning swagger not witnessed since the festive win over Leeds United.
Blackburn, with the vilified DJ Campbell in their ranks as a second half substitute, could not muster anything close to a response. This, be certain, was a footballing procession.
This Friday Mexican night at The Black Bull, Burton Pidsea, Two...View details
Indulge with our delicious range of specially selected Mexican dishes available from 5pm to 8:30pm this Friday 21st June. Traditional evening menu also available.
Terms: Terms: Friday the 21st June only, from 5pm to 8:30pm. Offer includes two main Mexican courses. Minimum 2 people dining.
Contact: 01964 770402
Valid until: Saturday, June 22 2013
For a City side that had entered February without a win from three home games in league and cup, it is quickly turning into some march under manager Steve Bruce. Three wins within the blink of an eye.
A perfect nine has propelled the Tigers up to 62 points and with just 13 games remaining, City’s footing within the automatic promotion places has rarely looked quite so assured.
The three-point gap between City and third-placed Watford remains intact after the Hornets maintained their fine form with a win at Ipswich, but Leicester’s loss to Charlton means City’s fate is in their hands.
Not since promotion out of League One was secured as runners-up in 2004-05 have the Tigers amassed such a healthy total and City can head to Bolton this weekend with momentum spilling out at the seams.
Not even the signs of wear and tear apparent in Bruce’s squad are threatening to knock the Tigers off their path.
Paul McShane’s hamstring injury condemned him to a slowly lengthening injured list and with Alex Bruce falling back into defence, Corry Evans stepped into the holding midfield role. Robert Koren, refreshed after missing Saturday’s win over Charlton, came in for the out-of-sorts Jay Simpson.
Blackburn’s resources knew no such weaknesses and their wealth of attacking talent meant no place in the starting XI for City’s January nearly man DJ Campbell.
The visitors had sacked two managers (Steve Kean and Henning Berg) since beating the Tigers 1-0 at Ewood Park in the season’s second game but Michael Appleton’s men began in a style befitting the FA Cup conquerors of Arsenal.
A bright opening showcased Blackburn’s threats and Colin Kazim-Richards – scorer of the weekend winner at the Emirates – was particularly sharp.
The centre-forward needed no invitation to have the first attempt on goal and David Stockdale had to be quick to save the drilled shot at the second attempt.
Rovers, rigid in two banks of four, were content to see the Tigers have ample possession. The remit of the widemen was to double up on wing-backs Robbie Brady and Ahmed Elmohamady and a lack of clear chances for City inside the opening half went some to way to vindicating Appleton’s defensive tactics.
The Tigers were still able to manufacture one glorious opening from wide. A perfectly weighted pass from Stephen Quinn dissected Blackburn on their right flank but when Robbie Brady raced to the byline, his fizzed cross went begging.
Albeit without troubling their cautious guests, City’s sense of control gradually grew beyond the half hour mark and only a world-class save denied the Tigers after 35 minutes.
A whipped cross from the right-foot of Robert Koren met the head of David Melyer but, just as his effort appeared destined for the corner, the outstretched hand of Jake Kean pushed wide.
As Gedo’s follow-up from an acute angle also met the goalkeeper’s unyielding frame, Meyler slung his head skyward in disbelief. After a catalogue of near-misses in the weekend win over Charlton, fortune is currently no friend of the midfielder.
Blackburn’s lack of adventure ensured a comfortable opening half for the City defence but Bruce will have aired familiar frustrations at the break after seeing the territorial dominance go without reward.
The City boss need not have worried. Within seven minutes of the re-start the Tigers had bounced in front thanks to the man with the Midas touch.
Quinn’s perseverance from the left flank brought a burst past his man and a clipped cross, paved the way for Gedo to turn home the delicious cross inside the six-yard box. Against a Blackburn defence breached just once in five games, the Egyptian’s third goal in three games added another jewel to his goalscoring crown.
Blackburn responded by introducing the Premier League loan pair of Campbell and David Bentley, but it was City who pressed for the fixture’s second goal.
Although Kean had to be strong again to keep out Jack Hobbs’ volley from Brady’s cross, Blackburn’s impressive keeper could do nothing about the Tigers’ decisive second goal.
A deep cross from Brady missed out everyone but Elmohamady and the wing-back dispatched a sublime volley back across goal to ensure Gedo is not the only Egyptian hogging the headlines.
All that remained was for the Tigers to suffocate the final life out of their deflated visitors. Rarely has it been so easy all season.
Taunts aimed at Campbell provided sweet gratification for the home supporters but the arrival of Gedo has quickly diluted any lingering pain from the one-time target’s snub.
City have far bigger fish to fry in the closing stages of this relentless season. Gone are the days when their promotion party needed a DJ.
• Gallery: Hull City 2 Blackburn 0 in pictures