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

News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence