Hull City 1 Swansea City 0 match report: George Boyd eases Hull fears but adds to Swansea’s
Hull hold on after late Swansea fightback to lift them to 36 points and inch closer to Premier League safety ahead of their FA Cup semi-final
Saturday 05 April 2014
Hull City set themselves up for a week focused entirely on their FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United by securing the win that has probably ensured their place in the Premier League next season, even though the mathematics do not yet say relegation is impossible.
A goal by George Boyd after 39 minutes was enough to see off a Swansea side on a down day and take Hull to 36 points in the table, nine clear of the bottom three, even though Fulham sprang a surprise by winning at Aston Villa to move them up to third from bottom.
Hull’s manager Steve Bruce is still not feeling he can rest easy. “I said all along that we needed 10 wins and that result gives everyone a lift, although that result for Fulham means there is still all to play for,” he said.
Yet given that most of the teams below Hull in the table (including Swansea) have only five or six matches left, with the exception of bottom-of-the-table Sunderland, it looks too much ground for them to make up in so little time.
Boyd, who was back in action following his three-match ban for spitting at Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, might not have played had a back injury to Tom Huddlestone not persuaded Bruce to rest his key midfielder. In the event, he seized his opportunity decisively, with Wembley places up for grabs, holding off Swansea defender Angel Rangel to make sure he was first to a Liam Rosenior cross and guiding a neat header beyond the reach of goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
The goal was well deserved on the balance of a first half in which the home side pressed Swansea consistently enough that the passing game they have continued to use so effectively under interim manager Garry Monk was well stifled.
Vorm, on the other hand, was busy, especially in the early minutes, when he made an excellent point-blank save to prevent Shane Long converting a Maynor Figueroa cross, and then had to stretch to keep out a low shot by Boyd.
As Hull maintained their momentum, only an athletic interception by Ashley Williams stopped the £6.5 million striker Nikica Jelavic connecting with a Boyd cross before a foul by Swansea’s Chico Flores on Long presented Hull with a free-kick just outside the box that Jelavic lifted over the bar.
Swansea enjoyed greater possession after the break but not enough to test Steve Harper in the Hull goal.
“It was a poor game and our defending for the goal was poor,” Monk said. “Credit to Hull for the way they played but we have to do better than that.”
Hull City (4-4-2): Harper; Rosenior, Chester, Davies, Figueroa (Koren, 75); Elmohamady, Livermore, Meyler, Boyd; Long (Aluko, 64), Jelavic (Sagbo, 90).
Swansea City (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Rangel, Chico Flores, Williams, Davies; Shelvey, Britton (Lita, 82); De Guzman (Dyer, h-t), Michu (Hernandez, 66), Routledge; Bony.
Referee: Howard Webb.
Man of the match: Boyd (Hull)
Match rating: 6/10
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