Hull City 0 - West Bromwich Albion 1
Albion stay top thanks to a solitary Jake Livermore goal at his old club Hull City - but it was a beauty. Conor Townsend remained at left back with Nathan Ferguson suspended and Kieran Gibbs still injured, and Hal Robson-Kanu replaced Charlie Austin up front. Both sides were on good runs of form, with Hull having beaten Forest, Derby and Fulham before this game and Albion having lost just once in fifteen this season.
The goal came just before the half hour mark when Matt Phillips took a short corner and Matheus Pereira fed the ball to Livermore, who took a touch before blasting it just inside the right hand post.
Albion lead the Championship by two points from Preston and Leeds.
A good win (the first one at Hull for nearly 12 years) and probably gets more merit than the one on Monday against a poor Stoke side.
Should have finished them off in the second half with a number of chances falling to people like Diangana and Pereira who all shot wide.
Sawyers and Livermore were both commanding and now give us a double suspension challenge against Sheff Wed. Also the last time Livermore had a long time off he came back 2 stone heavier!
Another huge win for us away from home. I thought we dominated enough in spells to deserve it but were very lucky with 2 or 3 big chances that Hull should've converted.
HRK came in for Austin but otherwise it was same old same old.
Hull were not afraid to have a right go at us with high energy and committing players forward - they had a couple of useful players - but in the first half after a 20 minutes of cagey football we began to control possession and pull them all over the place.
Livermore's early booking was a problem but he made up for it with a thunderous striker to put us into the lead and, apart from a moment where our midfield and right side went AWOL and Hull really should've scored, it was our lack of quality from good situations that cost us.
We worked it well wide but Hull we set for the deep crosses we put in and neither Diagana, Phillips or Furlong were able to get to the byline in order to cut low passes back - Dianga wasting the one time we really managed this by shooting horribly wide when HRK had a tap-in on.
We had a big let off thanks to a great save from SJ following some really careless possession and the linesman's flag saved us for the rebound.
Second half was far more of a ding-dong. We started really slowly and I don't know whether Sawyers was worried about a booking too much but he lost way too many 60-40s in his favour in the first 10 minutes, didn't cover well enough and it gave Hull momentum from which they probably should've equalised.
Bilic changed it early bringing on Krov for Phillips and moving Pereira wide and that settled us on the ball more and once again we should've scored from some well created opportunities - Diagana just steering wide the best of them.
We looked comfortable but there was still time for a real scare in the last 5 minutes with Sawyers getting the second booking and Hull missing another really good chance. Our seemingly new found steel and fortune got us over the line.
Overall there were some fantastic moments again. We carved them open with some great football but were just that centre-forward with pace away from making it count; this is no criticism of HRK who played to his strengths all game and put in a Rondon-esque shift in terms of running, chasing them down and leading the press. We just had that same lack of someone who can win the 10 yard sprint in the corridor between centre backs and keeper when balls are played through.
Sheffield Wednesday at home now becomes our toughest game of the season with our first choice pairing out. I think Krov can do the Sawyers role if he has some muscle and energy alongside him; perhaps moving Semi in there with Hegazi at the back? It would be a big game though and I don't think Brunt has the legs for it now. Perhaps this is Harper's opportunity if he can play with discipline?
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