Hull still daring to dream of life at the top
West Bromwich 0 Hull City 3
Monday 27 October 2008
This just is not meant to be happening. A club which had never before played in the top flight of English football, and more often than not found itself marooned in the game's lowest divisions, continues to drive a wedge between the long-established big four.
It won't last – it surely can't – but for as long it takes Hull City and their supporters to awake from this dream, what a ball they are having. When Wimbledon were assaulting the senses and bloodying noses a decade or two ago, it was in a game much less governed by money than the one Hull are thriving in so spectacularly.
This is late October 2008, though, and such is the pedestal Hull have built with six wins and two draws from nine games, including four away victories, that they are looking down on Arsenal and Manchester United. What is more, they are making friends. Theirs is not Jurassic football, designed to rough up opponents. It is organisation, industry and flair combined and it is producing quite extraordinary results.
West Bromwich Albion, six points and two places better off than Hull in last season's Championship, were ultimately picked off ruthlessly. Albion gave plenty to the spectacle and could easily have been ahead by the interval. It said much for the second half, though, that they were increasingly restricted to shooting from distance.
Hull were unprepared for this soaraway start, of course, but Phil Brown revealed in the afterglow of a fourth straight victory and third successive clean sheet that a bonus structure was put in place in the event of a top-four finish. More realistically, Hull's manager said: "This was a lot more difficult than the previous three games because everybody's expectancy level has gone up. But they're a good conscientious group of players and they know what it feels like to win games. We turned the tide in the second half."
Hull carried a genuine attacking threat all afternoon and exploited Albion's set-piece vulnerability through their impressive on-loan Guinea international defender Kamil Zayatte just after half-time. Then Marlon King cleverly fashioned an unfamiliar headed goal for Geovanni, finished emphatically himself seven minutes later sealing Hull's biggest Premier League triumph – and one that temporarily put them level on points with the leaders.
Goals: Zayatte (48) 0-1; Geovanni (63) 0-2 ; King (70) 0-3
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Carson; Zuiverloon, Donk, Olsson, Robinson; Koren (Brunt, 79), Morrison (Moore, 79), Valero, Greening; Bednar, Miller (MacDonald, 79). Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Hoefkens, Cech, Barnett.
Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; McShane, Turner, Zayatte, Dawson (Ricketts, 11); Geovanni (Garcia, 77), Marney, Ashbee (Hughes, 75), Boateng; King, Cousin. Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Mendy, Halmosi, Folan.
Referee: L Probert (Gloucestershire).
Booked: West Bromwich: Miller
Hull: Ricketts, Ashbee.
Man of the match: King.
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