Hull City 1 Cardiff City 1: Tigers held at KC Stadium

Hull City's Danny Graham (left) and Cardiff City's Steven Caulker.

Hull City's Danny Graham (left) and Cardiff City's Steven Caulker.

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THE TIGERS’ hope of securing back-to-back home wins in the Premier League for the first time were dashed - courtesy of Peter Whittingham’s 59th-minute leveller for the visitors, which ensured it finished honours even.

Steve Bruce’s side, who beat Norwich City in their last outing in East Yorkshire, despite playing with ten men for just over an hour, had the chances to win it, most notably through striker Danny Graham, but his goal drought extended to 21 matches as he drew a blank again.

Earlier, City finished a patchy first half strongly and they were rewarded five minutes before the break when Curtis Davies showed the instincts of a striker to nod the hosts into the lead.

The action started when Joe Lewis, playing his first-ever game in the top-flight in place of injured Cardiff custodian David Marshall, got a good hand to parry Tom Huddlestone’s low shot.

From the resulting corner from Robbie Brady, the ball found its way on the right to club record signing Huddlestone, with the former Spurs man’s excellent cross headed home by the alert Davies, while the Red Dragons backline dithered.

Prior to that, the major moment of note arrived in the seventh minute when a man in desperate need of a goal in Graham spurning a heaven-sent opportunity.

The Geordie, playing for his third club of 2013 and without a goal in open play since New Year’s Day, was presented with the kind of opportunity that most forwards dream about.

But he inexplicably fired the rebound over from close range with the goal gaping after Lewis could only parry Sone Aluko’s shot invitingly into his path.

A striker who enjoyed a goal-laden return at Hull in Cardiff frontman Fraizer Campbell, given plenty of stick by the home supporters, then almost followed up his goal in the dramatic 2-2 final-day draw on the last day of the 2012-13 regular season with another to silence the Tigers fans again.

His deflected low shot whistled just wide after half-appeals for a penalty were turned down after Kim Bo-Kyung fell under pressure from James Chester.

In the twentieth minute, Campbell then picked up a yellow card after a reckless challenge from behind on Chester - to the considerable pleasure of fans who serenaded him back in the promotion season of 2007-08.

Neat and tidy in midfield, Cardiff enjoyed plenty of territory and possession in the first half hour without creating many clear-cut chances.

Aluko, taking to the surroundings of the Premier League ever so well, then fired high into the side-netting after a brief moment of home threat before hitting an effort wide.

That was the prelude to Davies’ goal intervention, which provided the hosts with some tangible reward towards the end of the first half.

Ten minutes after the restart, only a telling block from Andrew Taylor prevented a goalbound shot from Robbie Koren from flying into the net after a clever free-kick routine involving Huddlestone.

But shortly before the hour mark, Cardiff restored parity with the Tigers’ defence guilty of switching off for a split second.

The beneficiary was Whittingham, who clinically finished from close range after ghosting into the box, unchallenged, following Don Cowie’s cross.

A few minutes later, more poor home marking should have seen the visitors take the lead with Aron Gunnarsson, in splendid isolation, heading wide from point-blank range following a good run and cross from Kevin Theophile-Catherine.

Energised by their leveller, Cardiff enjoyed a sustained spell in charge, but just couldn’t forge a breakthrough.

In the final ten minutes, both sides had chances to win it, with Graham’s shot diverted just wide by Stephen Caulker before an offside flag ruled out a close-range effort from Aluko after a centre from sub Stephen Quinn.

Whittingham then saw a free-kick saved comfortably by McGregor before Graham rose well to head Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross straight at Lewis - unfortunately it just wasn’t the North-Easterner’s day.

Hull: McGregor, Elmohamady, Chester, Davies, Figueroa; Koren, Livermore, Huddlestone, Brady (Quinn 67); Graham, Aluko. Substitutes not used: Jakupovic, McShane, Bruce, Rosenior, Meyler, Boyd.

Cardiff: Lewis; Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Taylor; Cowie (Mutch 89), Medel, Gunnarsson, Bo-Kyung (Maynard 46), Whittingham; Campbell (Gestede 65). Substitutes not used: Moore, Hudson, Odemwingie, Noone.

Referee: R Madley (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 21,949 (1,268 Cardiff fans).

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