Hull City 0 Bristol City 0 match report: Steve Bruce admits ‘nerves’ have stalled Hull rise


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The Independent Football

Attention: There is an unclaimed lottery ticket in Hull area.

Just how many more chances Steve Bruce will get to dig it out from the back of the sofa and cash it in could depend on other would-be claimants.

Bruce and his boys might well be celebrating securing their £100m jackpot at 5pm today, but it will be thanks in no small part to the failings of their rivals.

If Watford lose at home to Blackburn Rovers and Crystal Palace fail to beat Leicester City, the bounty that comes with promotion to the Premier League will go to East Yorkshire for the second time in five seasons.

But there is no mistake that a dismal draw at against an already-relegated Bristol City side is a chance missed.

A chance to erase Palace from the reckoning and put Gianfranco Zola’s men under immense pressure to win on Saturday.

Bruce, who steered Birmingham City to automatic promotion in 2002 and 2007, said: “The nerves and the occasion got to us a little bit and we got wrapped up in it.

“The expectation made us forget how to play our usual, passing game.  No matter what we did, it wasn’t enough. We didn’t handle the situation very well.

“But, you don’t know - it could be the point that gets us over the line. It’s still in our hands, we’re still in a wonderful position and it puts pressure on our rivals.”

Hull had the manner of a weary, wheezing long-distance runner, stumbling towards the finish line.

They were defeated on home soil by Watford three weeks ago and lost to struggling Wolves on Tuesday night when a golden chance beckoned.

This was another missed opportunity and an enthusiastic start quickly descended into an erratic, error-strewn tangle.

Matty Fryatt, making his first start in 356 days owing to an Achilles injury, set the tone,  taking too long over a chance so that it was cleared to safety.

Stephen Quinn next of the squanderers, lashing a shot over the bar from 18 yards after Brady’s low cross hit a defender and fell kindly to the Irish midfielder in the 37 minute

Two minutes later, Quinn turned provider, crossing from the left with his right foot to find Gedo, whose header on the run flashed over the bar.

The Robins, without an away win since December 8, were playing for pride, after Tuesday’s defeat by Birmingham City condemned Sean O’Driscoll’s side to League One football next season.

They emerged with credit, enjoying the best of the second half as Hull lost their way.

In the 59 minute, excellent footwork from the impressive Albert Adomah created a shooting chance but his left-foot effort from 18 yards was straight at Stockdale before Defender Richard Foster fizzed a low shot just wide of the post from 20 yards.

A stunning stoppage-time save from Tom Heaton to deny David Meyler’s first-time shot from 12 yards just about summed up Hull’s situation – tantalisingly close but not there yet.

Bristol City manager Sean O’Driscoll said: “Hull are a good, fluid passing team and will be worthy of a place in the Premier League.

“It’s a credit to them both to keep that up all season and be where they are.

“It’s something for us to aspire to.

“To come here and restrict them to one real chance at their home ground is an achievement for us.”

Hull City (3-5-2): Stockdale; Chester (Rosenior, 86), Faye, Hobbs; Elmohamady, Meyler, Boyd, Quinn, Brady; Gedo (Simpson, 67), Fryatt (Proschwitz, 67). Substitutes not used: Jakupovic (gk), McShane, Fathi, Cairney.

Bristol City (3-5-2): Heaton; Moloney, Bates, Nyatanga; Foster, Kilkenny, Kelly, Adomah (Anderson, 86), Cunningham; Baldock (Howard, 90), Davies (Burns, 90). Substitutes not used: Gerken (gk), M Wilson, Carey, Ajala.

Referee M Oliver (Northumberland).