Hull City 2 Huddersfield 0: Tigers march on but Bruce red card sours third straight win
HULL City marked the 10th birthday of the KC Stadium with a comfortable victory as goals from Robert Koren and David Meyler earned a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town this afternoon.
Koren's eighth-minute strike gave the Tigers an early lead they rarely looked like surrendering against their visitors from West Yorkshire, before Meyler's second goal in two games put the Yorkshire derby beyond any doubt in stoppage time.
City's third consecutive win, and 13th of the season, continued a perfect run through December and keeps them firmly in the race for the Championship's automatic promotion places.
The only dampener on an otherwise joyous afternoon was a straight red card to Alex Bruce after the full-time whistle when clashing with Huddersfield forward Alan Lee.
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City boss Steve Bruce called Lee "a cheat" for his role in the incident when appearing to elbow the Tigers defender, who retaliated with a shove on the Terriers' frontman.
In the first meeting of the two sides for almost eight years, City made an electric start to the lunchtime contest.
A magnificent cross-field pass from Robbie Brady picked out Ahmed Elmohamady but when he skinned his defender, a delicious low cross went unconverted.
The let-off for Huddersfield lasted all of 60 seconds. More bright play orchestrated by Brady set Stephen Quinn free down the left flank and his inch-perfect cross was swept home by Koren six yards out.
Huddersfield were struggling to live with City's invention inside the opening quarter but eventually found a rhythm of their own as the first half wore on.
Lee Novak's overhead kick into the side netting was a warning side of the visitors increasing threat against a City defence including Jack Hobbs, revelling in his first start for eight months after knee surgery in the spring.
It was Hobbs who should have doubled City's advantage just before the break. Brady's free-kick from the left was almost unplayable for the Terriers' defensive line, but the Tigers' returning defender could not direct his header goalbound.
Although City began the second period with the lively Brady working goalkeeper Alex Smithies with a low drive from the corner of the penalty area, Huddersfield's travelling supporters began to sense a route back into the game.
The Terriers' improvements made for an uncomfortable passage of play only for City's resilience made them a tough nut to crack.
The typically dangerous advances from Elmohamady offered the Tigers several opportunities to kill off their visitors. A pull-back shanked wide from Jay Simpson was just one of the chances to go begging.
Meyler almost put the icing on the cake when shooting against the crossbar but deep in stoppage time the Irishman got his reward for an imposing performance when converting Simpson's unselfish cross.
It could prove to be the final act of his loan move should Sunderland choose to activate a recall clause next week but Meyler could at least sign off on a high.
Howard Webb's final whistle followed soon after but a sweet afternoon for City was soured when Alex Bruce was shown a straight red card for retaliating to an apparent elbow from Lee. The defender will now miss the final three fixtures of 2012 unless the Tigers can win an appeal.