Hull City 0 QPR 0: Pearson pleased after Tigers stalemate

IAN ASHBEE will go down in Tigers' folklore as the beating heart of a team which fought back from the brink of financial oblivion and through the divisions to what proved the poisoned chalice of the Premier League.

What a pity then that his departure looks like being an acrimonious one.

Ashbee handed in a transfer request on Friday much to the annoyance of manager Nigel Pearson, who obviously had him penned into his plans for the game against Championship leaders QPR.

But it is hard to blame Ashbee, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, for wanting to rejoin former Hull manager Phil Brown at bottom club Preston North End with the lure of a two-year contract in the offing.

At 34, Ashbee owes Hull nothing and, it has to be said, the club has been good to him, standing by him in troubled times.

In almost nine years at the club, Ashbee has become the most successful captain in their history, leading Hull to three promotions and battling back from career-threatening injuries which forced him to miss the majority of the 2005-06 campaign and kept him out of action for another 15 months until the start of this season.

Pearson's frustration with a player who recently clocked his 500th career appearance was understandable and the manager is still mulling over whether to accept that request ahead of tonight's transfer deadline.

Pearson said: "The biggest thing for me, what I'm disappointed about, is the timing – on a Friday morning when you're preparing for the game, I'm disappointed.

"Having said that, it's something that happens in football. The club have received a written transfer request from the player. Full stop. I'm considering what the implications are of receiving a transfer request. I don't have to divulge any more at this moment in time."

Pearson replaced Ashbee with full debutant Corry Evans, who is on loan from Manchester United and who is the younger brother of Red Devils first-teamer Jonny, and the 20-year-old did well alongside James Harper.

In fact, Hull matched the leaders man for man in a game which neither side deserved to win, such was the pre-occupation of stopping the other side from scoring.

The only threat Hull had difficulty in dealing with were the late runs into the area by right-back Bradley Orr, who twice came within a whisker of converting crosses.

QPR chief Neil Warnock claimed: "I'm really frustrated. I was surprised how Hull set the stall out – putting the bus in front of the goal. I felt we dominated the game for 80 minutes. I just thought the last 10 minutes they had a little bit."

The result was a measure of how far Hull have progressed under Pearson, whose priority was stabilising the side as they plunged out of the top flight in financial turmoil before having the slate wiped clean by wealthy new owners.

Defensively solid, Pearson has begun providing Hull with more attacking armoury and Matty Fryatt could have won it for the Tigers in stoppage time only to blaze over as the ball bobbled.

Fryatt was given immedaite backing by Pearson and defensive lynchpin Anthony Gerrard, who said of the late miss: "That's the problem and is what happens when you share a pitch with rugby lads (Hull FC). When you have 16-stone lads just smashing up and down here that's what happens to the pitch. On another day that would have been in the back of the net."

Gerrard, enjoying his season-long loan from Cardiff, formed an impenetrable guard alongside new Manchester United signing young James Chester and said of the muscular opposition: "I thought they were playing rugby too, to be honest. But they are a good side and are not top of the league for nothing but we nullified their threat really well as a team."

The player most frustrated by Hull's resilience and spirit – they also forced the best two saves of the game from Paddy Kenny – was the much-vaunted Adel Taarabt, who stunned almost everyone by signalling he wanted to be replaced in the first half.

Gerrard, who had shrugged the QPR captain off the ball and then watched him throw a fit of petulance, flouncing over to the touchline only to be met by a wall of derision when he failed to get a free-kick, had seen it all before from the young Moroccan.

"He's done that twice against me now, to be honest. He did it against Cardiff last year at Loftus Road when we were getting in the play-offs and he wasn't having his best game.

"That could be what he is like. I find it as a compliment and it gave the crowd a little boost too. It's only going to hinder him but on other days he shows what a fantastic player he is so you have to take the good with the bad with him.

"We didn't go out to maim him but we were being strong and physical because luxury players don't like the physical side.

"If you get in their face and don't give them the time to do their party pieces then inevitably they won't like it. Today we marked and marshalled him well."

Hull City: Guzan, Rosenoir, Chester, Gerrard, Dawson; Koren, Evans, harper, Stewart (Devitt 73); Fryatt, Mclean (Barmby 65). Unused substitutes: Duke, McShane, Cairney, Simpson, Belaid.

Queens Park Rangers: Kenny, Orr, Gorkss, Connolly, Hill; Routledge, Derry, Faurlin (Vaagan Moen 68), Smith (Hulse 73); Taarabt; Miller (Ephraim 85). Unused substitutes: Cherbny, Hall, Chimbonda, Shittu.

Referee: K Hill (Herts).

MATCH FOCUS

Hero: Ian Ashbee

Irrespective of the poor timing of the captain's transfer request, Ashbee will always hold a special place in the hearts of Hull City supporters. Just a shame he could not have enjoyed a 'farewell' game.

Villain: Adel Taarabt

What a talent but what a baby! No wonder Neil Warnock was saying earlier in the season that he was the only manager prepared to take a gamble on this mercurial player.

Key moment

Stoppage time: Matty Fryatt races on to Liam Rosenoir's through ball into the area but hits it over the bar.

Ref Watch

Keith Hill: The Hertfordshire official was right on top of his game.

Verdict

Hull are looking a mighty difficult team to break down but need more goals.

Next game

Hull City v Leeds United, Championship, tomorrow, 7.45.

Quote of the day

Where's your dummy gone, where's your dummy gone!

– Hull City supporters give Adel Taarabt their verdict.

Welcome to the Yorkshire Post's exciting match-day service, called Match Centre. Here you will find minute-by-minute updates, stats and team formations. Plus reports from every game in England, from the Premier League down to the Blue Square Premier.

Simply select your game from the pull down menu, then click on the 'i' information button on the right of the fixture and it will give you access to everything you need to know about your team.

So if you can't make it to a game, head for the Match Centre and we will give you the best seat in the house. Click the link below.

For the latest team news, score and commentary from your team check out our new Match Centre

For full reports read Monday's Yorkshire Post.