Tony Mowbray may bristle when statistics are thrown in his direction but the comparisons from last season are inescapable for West Bromwich Albion and this time he can only hope it does not end in a similar outcome.
It was a late stumble that denied Albion a place in the Championship's top two in the last campaign after they had looked set to make the Premier League at a canter. And while one win in five league games is not enough to concern the Albion manager yet, the warning signs are there and he can ill afford their charge for promotion to continue to falter. While they were irresistible in the FA Cup at Coventry the previous weekend, this was the equivalent of an afternoon in the dentist's chair as they were frustrated by an excellent Hull defence.
The winner was scored by Caleb Folan, the Hull forward with an A level in art and photography, who now has designs on a return to the top flight after Phil Brown's side extended their run to just one defeat in their last 12 matches. He said: "Nobody expects us to be this high up. We've had great backing from the chairman and there are big expectations. I certainly want another crack at the Premier League."
Fraizer Campbell set the tone for a excruciating afternoon for the home side with an excellent 29th-minute opener after being given the freedom of Sandwell by Martin Albrechtsen. Roman Bednar nodded in his 15th of the season to equalise, but Folan capitalised on a wimpish challenge by Zoltan Gera to drive a low shot past Dean Kiely and stun the Hawthorns into silence.
Mowbray said: " I am interested in performances and generally they have not been too bad. If the performance level is right, then the results will follow."
Goals: Campbell (29) 0-1; Bednar (42) 1-1; Folan (82) 1-2.
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Kiely; Hoefkens, Barnett, Albrechtsen, Robinson; Gera, Koren, Greening (Teixeira, 72), Morrison; Bednar (Miller, 61), Phillips (Moore, 61). Substitutes not used: Pele, Brunt.
Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Ricketts, Turner, Brown, Dawson; Garcia (France, 69), Ashbee, Okocha (Marney, 71), Pedersen; Folan, Campbell (Walton, 83). Substitutes not used: Tyler (gk), Bridges.
Referee: S Tanner (Somerset).
Booked: West Bromwich Morrison, Miller; Hull City Folan, Garcia, Turner, Dawson.
Man of the match: Turner.
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