Away day blues that are likely to drag Hull City back down to the Championship

Hull City's Tom Huddlestone (left) and Everton's Tom Davies (right) battle for the ball. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.

Hull City's Tom Huddlestone (left) and Everton's Tom Davies (right) battle for the ball. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.

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IT was a day of historical significance as Hull City crumbled to their second heaviest defeat of the season on Merseyside.

Romelu Lukaku, thanks to a stoppage-time double, became the first Everton striker to break through the 20 league goal barrier in a season since Gary Lineker more than three decades ago.

In the process, the Belgian matched Bob Latchford’s feat of scoring in seven consecutive home matches – a streak that has helped Ronald Koeman’s side claim a maximum 18 points in front of their own fans since the turn of the year.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the Sheffield United Academy product who joined the Toffees for £1.5m last August, also claimed his own slice of personal history by netting in the Premier League for the first time but, for Marco Silva’s Tigers, there was only one statistic that mattered.

Defeat at Goodison Park means City have taken a solitary point from their last 13 away games. It is a shocking run and one that stretches all the way back to September, when a 5-1 hammering on the other side of Stanley Park against Liverpool exposed a frailty on the road that, with each passing trip, looks increasingly like dragging Hull back to the Championship.

Nine of those 13 away games have also seen the Yorkshire club fail to score and Curtis Davies, back in defence after a six-game absence through injury, knows this cannot continue if relegation is to be avoided.

“We have to get points away,” said the 32-year-old about a run-in that features trips to Manchester City, Stoke City, Southampton and Crystal Palace.

“It is not like our home form has been like that of Burnley (who have claimed 29 points at Turf Moor but only three on the road).

“We haven’t got the best home league record. It is half-decent but we have to do more away from home. We have to pick up points, here and there.

“There are a lot of games coming where we think we can get something but the sooner we do that the better. Everton was always going to be tough but, if approached right, we thought it was a game we could get something from.

Hull City's Tom Huddlestone (second right) is surrounded after being sent off at Goodison Park. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.

Hull City's Tom Huddlestone (second right) is surrounded after being sent off at Goodison Park. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.

“Unfortunately, towards the end of the game it all went to pot.”

Hull’s afternoon did, indeed, fall apart in the closing stages. Down to 10 men following Tom Huddlestone’s 73rd-minute dismissal and already trailing to Calvert-Lewin’s opener, the Tigers proceeded to concede three more times to slump to their third heaviest loss of the campaign.

Enner Valencia netted the first of those goals just six minutes after Huddlestone had gone but it was Lukaku who inflicted the two stoppage-time blows that mean Hull now have significantly the worst goal difference in the top flight.

Koeman admitted afterwards that the final score flattered his side. That, though, was scant consolation for the 1,400 or so Hull fans making the trip home along the M62 on Saturday night.

There are a lot of games coming where we think we can get something but the sooner we do that the better.

Hull City’s Curtis Davies.

Those supporters had witnessed a decent contest, at least up until Huddlestone’s dismissal for what referee Paul Tierney adjudged to have been recklessness on the part of the City captain when diving into a 50-50 challenge with Idrissa Gana Gueye.

As the howls from the locals filled the air on a wet and windy afternoon, Tierney clearly felt the need to act and immediately reached for his red card.

“It was too harsh,” said Koeman. “It is a yellow, not a red.” Silva was of the same mind, though the Portuguese did stress City will view video footage before deciding whether to appeal or not.

Up to that point, Hull had very much been in the game. Just a minute earlier, Andrew Robertson had been presented with an excellent chance when Omar Elabdellaoui’s cross from the right found the full-back unmarked and 10 yards from goal. His shot hit the side-netting but City’s ability to carve out opportunities – Sam Clucas and Lazar Markovic were both culpable of failing to capitalise in the first half – suggested there was a way back into proceedings.

Those hopes ended the moment Hull went down to 10 men, as Valencia exchanged passes with Lukaku before firing in to double a lead given to Everton on eight minutes by Calvert-Lewin’s accomplished finish following neat approach play between Ross Barkley and Tom Davies.

Further punishment came in stoppage time courtesy of Lukaku. First, he latched on to Valencia’s through ball to beat Eldin Jakupovic. Then, a woeful back-pass by Elabdellaoui presented Lukaku with a chance he was never going to pass up to move clear at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.

Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his side's third goal against Hull City. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.

Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his side's third goal against Hull City. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.

The last Everton player to reach the 20-goal milestone headed to Barcelona a few weeks later.

Judging by his questioning of Everton’s ambitions last week when rejecting a new contract, Lukaku clearly fancies a move of a similar ilk.

Just where Hull will be heading this summer remains to be seen but if this wretched away form continues then the Championship seems a likely destination.

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