Hull City vs West Ham match report: Enner Valencia stars as honours shared at the KC Stadium

Hull City 2 West Ham 2

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The Independent Online

Full debuts do not come more dramatic than those of Abel Hernandez and Enner Valencia, although Valencia left his manager, Sam Allardyce, with his head in his hands when his 94th-minute header was deflected over the Hull crossbar by the chest of defender Michael Dawson.

He had earlier had the West Ham manager punching the air in delight.

Hernandez took just 39 minutes to show a glimpse of the talent for which Hull’s manager, Steve Bruce, paid Palermo £9.5m, outjumping James Tomkins to power a cross beyond Adrian. The Uruguay striker had trained only once with his new team-mates. It did not show. He smashed a 25-yard shot off the crossbar in the closing stages of the first half.

That seemed to inspire Valencia, who, five minutes into the second half, hit a more vicious shot with little backlift to announce his own arrival in the Premier League on his full debut, following his £12m move. Allan McGregor in the Hull goal could do nothing about it.

Hull would have a second lead – given to them by another debutant in Mo Diamé –  cancelled out through an own goal that clipped the heel of defender Curtis Davies.

What chances there had been in the first half went the way of the visitors. Stewart Downing produced a fine run in the 13th minute that ended with Diafra Sakho firing well over. Downing then shot over the crossbar after a link-up with Aaron Cresswell and in the 35th minute West Ham were denied by a fine save from McGregor.

Valencia crossed to the far post from the West Ham right and Dawson inadvertently hooked an attempted clearance off the body of Sakho goalwards, only to see McGregor save acrobatically with his left hand.

Then came Hernandez.

Ahmed Elmohamady crossed from deep and the Uruguay striker leapt powerfully to crash a fine header into the corner of Adrian’s goal. Bruce punched the air in delight. Hernandez took the acclaim of his new team-mates and within five minutes almost added another.

This time he let fly for glory with a left-footed shot from 25 yards. Adrian was again beaten, but this time the crossbar came to his rescue, deflecting the ball back into the path of Nikica Jelavic, who was in an offside position when the initial shot was fired as he headed in the rebound.

Valencia, however, would not be overshadowed on his own full Premier League debut and responded with a wonder strike five minutes into the second half.

There looked little danger as Dawson shadowed the forward 10 yards from the edge of his penalty area. However, that small piece of space was enough for Valencia to tee the ball up and crack a vicious, rising shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar.

Diamé would not be outdone. In the 65th minute a dreadful throw from Cresswell failed to reach Cheikhou Kouyate and Diamé was on to it. The former West Ham midfielder ran at Tomkins and teed up a fine, right-foot finish into the corner of the goal.

Again, West Ham would not wilt and within three minutes were level. Sakho took a pass from Downing on the Hull left and drilled a low shot that beat McGregor and clipped the heel of the despairing Davies on its way in.

Allardyce’s men almost took the lead with 15 minutes left, when a looping Sakho header was tipped away by McGregor. Adrian reacted smartly to deny a low Robbie Brady shot late on for the visitors. But it was a night for the new goalscorers, not the goalkeepers.

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