Adam Pearson, the new Hull City chairman, has granted the club's manager, Phil Brown a one-week stay of execution, with the home match against Stoke City on Sunday his last chance to keep his job. Brown's position at the helm of Hull, who have managed just three Premier League wins in 2009, was made more precarious still by defeat at Burnley on Saturday.
But he hid behind the perfect smokescreen provided by the performance of the referee Mike Jones, who was accused by the Hull manager of judging "four major decisions" in favour of Burnley. Jones, officiating at his first Premier League fixture since he allowed Darren Bent's controversial "beach ball" winner for Sunderland against Liverpool last month, awarded Burnley a dubious first-half penalty when Tyrone Mears tumbled under Stephen Hunt's challenge. He then disallowed Geovanni's sensational second-half free-kick before sending off the incensed Brazilian.
Graham Alexander, making his 100th appearance for Burnley, took full advantage of the 20th-minute spot-kick. The specialist blasted home the 12th penalty of his Burnley career to hand the home side a well-deserved advantage at the break. After Hull had been reduced to 10 men, Burnley were able to exploit the tiring legs of the visitors' defence and Alexander was on hand to secure the points with a fine drive from 25 yards.
Following a conversation with Brown yesterday, Pearson has promised him just one more week to prove his credentials at the KC Stadium. Pearson said: "I've spoken to Phil and told him he will still be the manager for the game against Stoke."
Pearson could not provide any more assurances for Brown, who said: "He [Pearson] has a manager that is still at the helm and willing to put his neck on the line for the cause. He also has a group of players that are doing exactly the same for their manager."
Brown was expecting a phone call this morning after urging Jones to justify his decisions, having watched them again. Brown said: "You don't want excuses or reasons, you want referees to get the big decisions right. If he's going home and thinking that he has got the major decisions right, I beg him to watch Match of the Day and ring me on Monday morning to tell me he got them all right.
"We did everything we possibly could to win that game," he added. "We did get the ball in the back of the net in a fair manner, contrary to one person's opinion."
Owen Coyle, the Burnley manager, was delighted with the win that leaves the Clarets sitting comfortably in mid-table. "There is no doubt in my mind we were the better side over the 90 minutes," he said.
Burnley (4-5-1): Jensen; Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Mears; Bikey, Jordan, Elliott, Eagles (Guerrero, 85), Fletcher (Nugent, 78); Blake (McDonald, 72). Substitutes not used: Penny (gk), Duff, Gudjonsson, Thompson.
Hull City (4-4-2): Duke; Dawson, Gardner, McShane (Mendy, 59), Zayatte; Geovanni, Hunt (Barmby, 70), Marney, Olofinjana; Vennegoor of Hesselink (Altidore, 58), Ghilas. Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Mouyokolo, Kilbane, Garcia.
Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).
Booked: Burnley Elliot; Hull Geovanni, Altidore, Mendy.
Sent off: Geovanni (69).
Man of the match: Alexander.