Hull City vs Aston Villa match report: Dame N'Doye lifts Hull as Aston Villa hit drop zone

Hull City 2 Aston Villa 0

Hull climbed out of the bottom three in the Premier League table for the first time in a month as goals from Nikica Jelavic and Dame N’Doye secured only a third home victory of the season for Steve Bruce’s side.

As for Aston Villa, another defeat saw them  slip into the relegation places for the first time this season and ramped up the pressure on manager Paul Lambert.

Unlucky not to take three points against champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, when they were denied by James Milner’s extra-time equaliser, Hull were comfortable winners this time.

Senegalese international N’Doye scored his first goal for the club 16 minutes from time to snuff out any hope of a point for Lambert’s side, who have gone 10 matches without a victory in the Premier League.

The performance prompted Villa fans to vent their frustration in the shape of a “Lambert out” banner. Villa have scored only 12 goals in 25 Premier League matches this season and, after ending one  scoring drought against  Chelsea on Saturday, they have another developing, having gone almost seven and a half hours without an away goal.

Both sides had viewed the contest as the start of a critical phase in their seasons, one identified by Hull manager Bruce as likely to be the defining period for his side. 

Hull face a daunting run-in, with their final nine opponents including Chelsea and five others likely to be chasing Champions League places, if not the title. Last night’s match was the first of five opportunities to put points in the bank, followed by Queen’s Park Rangers (home), Stoke (away), Sunderland (home) and Leicester (away). 

Bruce, manager since June 2012, went so far as to describe this fixture as “arguably the biggest in my time here” while his son, central defender Alex, had called for home fans to turn the KC Stadium into a cauldron of noise.

The atmosphere, in fact, was palpably nervous during a tentative opening phase in which Villa, with out-of-touch Christian Benteke again starting on the bench and joined there for the first time by the England midfielder Tom Cleverley after a spell of unremarkable form, had much of the possession.

The mood changed in an instant, however, as the home side took a 23rd-minute lead through Jelavic, who had missed the Manchester City match with a knee injury.

 

The goal was made by N’Doye, the front man signed from Lokomotiv Moscow on deadline day, who turned Jores Okore before running towards goal and releasing  his new Croatian strike  partner to shoot home  left-footed for his seventh  goal of the season, the ball taking a deflection off the outstretched leg of defender Ciaran Clark to leave Brad Guzan powerless.

N’Doye brought plenty of physical energy to his home debut, getting in behind Villa’s backline moments after the goal but skewing his shot wide. Villa, as might have been expected after the  11-hour drought that preceded Okore’s goal against Chelsea on Saturday, did not create many opportunities, their best in the first half coming from a free kick conceded by Ahmed Elmohamady but curled wide by Ashley Westwood, albeit not by much.

Lambert made changes, sending on Benteke in place of Andreas Weimann at the start of the second half and replacing Scott Sinclair with Joe Cole just before the hour.  A Benteke header from Alan Hutton’s cross was blocked and won a corner but Hull looked confident they could defend their lead.

Jelavic gave way to Gaston Ramirez as Bruce looked to give his attack some variation and there was a new threat to Villa almost immediately as Robbie Brady fired into the side netting after a strong run down the left, followed closely by the dividend of a second goal.

Elmohamady crossed from the right, Ramirez headed back across goal and N’Doye, at the near post, tucked the ball away at the second attempt after Brad Guzan had blocked the first.

The goal condemned Villa to a seventh defeat in their poorest run of the season and left Lambert under some pressure to find quick answers if another indifferent season is not this time to end in relegation.

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