Bullard puts finger on City's problems

Manchester City 1 Hull City 1: Hull penalty condemns Hughes' men to a record seventh successive draw despite return of Robinho to powerful attack

Robinho returned and did what he does, bringing City fans to their feet after his 75-minute comeback. But their applause for the Brazilian's first appearance in almost three months was eclipsed twice in the final minutes, first by the clashing of seat-backs generated by a substantial early exodus, then by the boos that marked a club record run of seven consecutive draws.

Hull, meanwhile, were celebrating the continuation of a dramatic upturn in the fortunes of their manager, Phil Brown, who seemed about to lose his job a month ago but has since supervised a four-match unbeaten run and revisited the scene of last season's most notable team-talk to claim a first away point for three months.

It came thanks to Jimmy Bullard's conversion of an 82nd-minute penalty, to which the Hull players reacted by mocking their manager in a re-enactment of the on-field dressing-down he gave them after they had leaked four first-half goals here on Boxing Day last season.

Brown has been trying to forget that moment, and ducked out of his pre-match press briefing to avoid another round of embarrassing questions on the subject. But he could not help but see the funny side as the Hull players sat in a circle as Bullard pretended to be their finger-wagging boss.

"I couldn't speak to them this time because I was laughing so much," Brown said, his readiness to appreciate their humour much improved after two wins and two draws in Hull's last four games. Given that he credits those players with keeping him in a job, his warmth towards them is understandable. "We are beginning to see the spirit of this group coming through, and the reason I'm here is down to the players' support for me."

Mark Hughes, by contrast, will have found smiling rather more difficult as he locked himself away with his team after a seventh consecutive draw left City's prospects of a meaningful challenge for a top-four place looking the stuff of fantasy.

For all that Robinho's first match since August in a City shirt raised expectations again, the collective efforts of a team set up to banish a frustrating sequence with a vibrant and successful performance amounted to no more than a few flashes of promise. Robinho had not forgotten how to confuse an opponent and there were moments when Hull looked mightily tormented, not least when City's five key attackers – Robinho, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Steven Ireland and Shaun Wright-Phillips – combined in one glorious move after half an hour. The shot on the end of it, by Wright-Phillips, flashed wide.

But it was a move all too rare, at least in terms of end product. Tevez created problems whenever he had the ball but too often the home crowd's hopes were deflated by a stray final pass.

When City did score, in first-half stoppage time, they had some good fortune to thank as another attempt from Wright-Phillips, which Matt Duke appeared to have covered, went in off the head of the defender Anthony Gardner.

Hughes took issue with the penalty award that enabled Hull to claim their equaliser but conceded that his side are still falling short of what he is asking of them. "I didn't think it was a penalty," he said. "The referee first seemed to give it for handball against Joleon Lescott when he certainly did not handle it.

"Then he said it was for a foul by Kolo Touré on Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, but I felt that was harsh. It was just a coming-together really. But having said that, there are times when we look like a strong unit and other times when we can still look like a team brought together very quickly."

But Hughes, who left out his tired England midfielder Gareth Barry "to protect him" from injury, rejected suggestions he is under pressure: "We are frustrated by the run of draws but we are still in the mix at the top end of the Premiership and it will be only a matter of time before the draws turn into wins, and I believe the owners understand where we are."

Attendance: 46,382

Referee: Lee Probert

Man of the match: Tevez

Match rating: 5/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
tech
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
Extras
indybest
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor