Post by Premier League News on Feb 10, 2015 22:06:31 GMT
Hull 2 - 0 Aston Villa
Hull: Nikica Jelavic 22, Dame N'Doye 74
Hull City clambered out of the relegation zone and consigned Paul Lambert to a half-century of Premier League defeats as Aston Villa manager in the process.
This was Lambert’s 101st match and few will have been flatter as his side were sucked into the bottom three by a team winning for only the third time in 18 attempts themselves. Only Mick McCarthy, with Sunderland, has tasted more reverses in bringing up a century.
Hull handed a first start to their one January addition, Dame N’Doye, the £3m purchase from Lokomotiv Moscow, in their attempt to improve the Premier League’s poorest home record. The Senegal international made a good first impression, bringing the best out of Nikica Jelavic, who was recalled after a knee injury.
Indeed, it was the pair’s link-up that led to Steve Bruce’s side taking the lead midway through the opening period. Running at the visiting defence, N’Doye produced a cunning disguise pass that the Croat Jelavic took in his stride and dispatched past Brad Guzan via a looping deflection.
The portents for victory appeared good given the Croat’s record – he found the net in each of Hull’s past three victories – combined with Villa’s impotence away from home. Although they halted the Premier League’s fourth longest goal drought when Jores Okore broke a sequence which spanned a minute shy of 11 hours against Chelsea at the weekend, the visitors had not scored away from Villa Park for seven.
Their first-half efforts here all lacked direction, as was the case when their impish Spanish midfielder Carles Gil dragged wide just before Hull’s opening goal and when Ashley Westwood clipped a 36th-minute free-kick over the wall, or power on the only occasion they did manage an effort on target when Allan McGregor saved a tepid glancing header from Gabby Agbonlahor.
Hull were not much better, although N’Doye did add menace to their attacking forays. As early as the fourth minute, he followed an intelligent lay-off in the buildup by surging into the area to meet Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross, only to be beaten to the ball by Guzan’s fists.
N’Doye turned provider 60 seconds later but his scoop over the top of the Hull defence was well read by Guzan, who rushed out of his area to hack clear with Jelavic bearing down on him.
Hull’s other two efforts before the interval both came from their new recruit. First when, with a dozen minutes on the clock, Hull dispossessed their opponents high up the pitch only for his shot from the edge of the area to be gathered comfortably by Guzan; then, immediately after Jelavic’s goal, when his header from Elmohamady’s cross sailed wide.
Villa fielded a full debutant of their own in Scott Sinclair, whose berth on the left side of midfield meant Tom Cleverley was omitted when eligible for the first time since arriving from Manchester United in the summer. Trailing at the break, however, they reshaped for the second period with Christian Benteke adding beef to their central attack at the expense of the largely anonymous Andreas Weimann.
The Midlands club pressed in a bid at least to emulate the weekend achievements of Premier League champions Manchester City, who denied Hull a shock victory courtesy of James Milner’s 92nd-minute equaliser. Hull had failed to score in 12 of their previous 16 matches when David Meyler nudged them in front at the Etihad and once again they sat on a slender advantage.
It meant Villa dominated in both possession and territory while Hull appeared content to launch counterattacks. It was a tactic that almost reaped a return just shy of the hour when Jelavic was hauled down on the edge of the area by Agbonlahor. But Robbie Brady’s free-kick failed to locate a chink in Villa’s defensive wall and Jelavic mishit the rebound.
With Villa not seriously threatening any improvement to a woeful return of six goals in their last 20 Premier League road trips, Hull killed off the game for a rare win against their biggest bogey team. Typically, it was N’Doye whose debut effort ended a sequence of nine defeats and a draw when he forced home a loose ball from a 72nd-minute free-kick, after Guzan had blocked his initial effort at the base of his post. It was met by the unfurling of a “Lambert Out” banner in the away end and sighs of relief around the rest of the stadium.