Nottingham Forest 1 Hull City 2: McShane magic earns Tigers valuable win
PAUL McShane scored his first Hull City goal in almost four years to seal an excellent 2-1 win for the Tigers at Nottingham Forest this afternoon.
McShane pounced on Robert Koren's corner with 21 minutes remaining to net his first strike in a City shirt since scoring in a 2-2 draw at Liverpool in December 2008.
The defender was an unlikely hero for the Tigers and his close-range effort was the defining moment of a tight encounter at the City Ground.
Although City had taken a lead through Robert Koren's penalty, Billy Sharp followed suit from the spot to cancel out the advantage late in the first half.
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The Tigers' 11th win of the season cements their position in the Championship play-off places and lifts them within three points of second placed Cardiff.
City, with Aaron Mclean replacing the injured Sone Aluko in attack, undoubtedly had the better of a first half low on clear-cut chances.
Although neither side could claim outright dominance in a disjointed spectacle, the visitors had the first real opening after 27 minutes.
Corry Evans' right-foot shot found its way through a packed penalty area but not past Elliott Ward covering on the line. From the loose ball David Meyler came close again when firing his shot into the side netting,
The Tigers grew in confidence and a tidy move down the right channel would bring the opener.
Meyler's run in behind the Forest defence was halted by a clumsy challenge from Simon Gillett and, on the advice of an assistant, referee Gavin Ward pointed to the spot,
Koren, who had missed a dreadful chance in the 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace in midweek, would not be found wanting from sending Lee Camp the wrong way from 12 yards.
City's stranglehold on the game appeared tight in the closing stages of the first period, but they were guilty of gifting Forest an equaliser from nothing.
A tangle of legs between Robbie Brady and Sharp brought another avoidable penalty and the former Doncaster striker accepted the invitation to level things up from the spot two minutes before the break.
The swing in momentum helped Forest start the second half brightly with Adlene Guedioura curling a decent effort wide of the target, while Andy Reid also flashed one over from 20 yards out.
However, City's resolute defence withstood all that was sent their way and set the platform to retake the lead in the 69th minute.
A Koren corner from the left wing was somehow allowed to travel across the six yard box and McShane was on hand to turn in at the back post. Forest protested for a handball but McShane did not care a jot as he celebrated in front of 1,740 travelling fans.
It proved to be the telling blow to sink a fragile Forest side as the Tigers dug deep to record a third consecutive victory at the City Ground. A David Stockdale save over the bar to deny Sharp was as close as the home side came.
Watford, who continued their excellent run of recent form with an emphatic win over Barsnley today, will be next in the Tigers sights at Vicarage Road.