Two points lost as Hull City held 1-1 at Peterborough United
HULL City missed their chance to reclaim second spot in the Championship as they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at strugglers Peterborough this afternoon.
The Tigers looked on course for a first league victory of 2013 when Robert Koren's corner found its way into the net shortly after the half-hour mark, but a mediocre second-half effort was punished when Grant McCann's 79th-minute penalty rescued Posh a point.
A return of just two points from a possible nine has now undone some of City's brilliant work in December and leaves them in need of a reaction when facing back-to-back away games in the league at Millwall and Brighton early next month.
Bruce made key changes as he attempted to guide the Tigers back into the automatic promotion places 24 hours after Leicester had stolen a march with a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.
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Paul McShane and Alex Bruce were both restored to a three-man defence at the expense of Abdoulaye Faye and Jack Hobbs, while Corry Evans made way in midfield to see both Jay Simpson and Nick Proschwitz start. Less surprisingly, David Stockdale was recalled after returning on loan from Fulham.
Both sides took their time to warm to the challenge on a bitterly cold afternoon but once City had quelled the early enthusiasm of their hosts, they looked the more likely scorers.
Koren and Robbie Brady both tried their luck from distance as City began to stamp their mark. Proschwitz, keen to build on his midweek strike at Leyton Orient, also came close when nodding wide Brady's excellent right-foot cross.
The Tigers found the opener their gradual improvements had warranted 13 minutes before the break. Koren's low corner from the left flank appeared a waste but a wild swing from defender Joe Newell at the near post deceived Bobby Olejnik and sent the ball into the net.
Although Peterborough responded with a low shot wide from Jaanai Gordon, the Tigers turned around at the break comfortably holding their advantage.
Stockdale remained largely untested as the game entered its final quarter, but City's inability to grab a second left the contest resting on a knife-edge.
The withdrawal of Simpson, with the striker replaced by midfielder Evans, saw the Tigers adopt a more cautious approach and sloppy use of possession allowed Peterborough a route back in.
Gordon should have done better when getting in behind James Chester and shooting wide, but Posh were eventually level with 11 minutes remaining.
Tommy Rowe's run into the box was dangerous and Chester could not resist the challenge that brought an inevitable penalty. McCann, a second half substitute for the home side, made no mistake from 12 yards.
Proschwitz had a half-chance to restore the Tigers' lead late on but Steve Bruce will have been a frustrated man when leaving London Road with just a point.