HULL CITY’S defeat at Birmingham City could indeed have been even more emphatic but for the brilliance of their goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Tigers’ manager Nigel Adkins was left far from happy and commented: “I will have to take a bit of time to reflect on this result.
“We certainly didn’t see this result coming. We had focused the players’ minds as we knew that it would be a tough game, as it proved to be.
“We had enjoyed two good victories and we thought we would be a threat going forward with Abel Hernandez back in the side.
“We were on the back foot from the start of game, while Allan McGregor was excellent. He kept us in game in the first half with some really good saves.
“The first half was as bad as we have played since I came in as manager. Credit to Birmingham, they deserved to win and we didn’t. We were second best and now we have two big games against Aston Villa and Wolves.”
In contrast Adkins’s opposite number Garry Monk, the former Leeds United and Middlesbrough manager, had every reason to have a wide smile on his face after this vital win over below-par Hull.
Although they remain in the bottom three, Blues’ survival prospects have greatly improved following a runaway victory that was completed in bright sunshine after long spells of the game had been played in a blizzard.
Following his first victory as Birmingham’s manager, Monk was full of admiration for the impressive attacking performance of his team that produced an outstanding victory and ended a run of seven successive league defeats.
Jota, who had previously failed to score at St Andrew’s since his record signing at the start of the season, was twice on the mark including a 12th-minute opener that set the tone for the rest of the game.
Che Adams, who also had an outstanding game, was rewarded with a 48th-minute goal while a rejuvenated Jota settled the game in the 59th minute.
Monk said: “This is a step in the right direction, but it sets a minimum standard.
“We cannot go below this standard, but I think that we can get even better.
“To get three points sends the right message to the players that the confidence level and belief is a little higher than it was before the game.
“The fact we got three points, three goals, a performance and a clean sheet made me very pleased for everyone.
“It has been a difficult season for the players as they have not been at their best, but you can now see their commitment.”
Birmingham City: Stockdale, Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin, Jota, Gardner (N’Doye 28), Kieftenbeld, Maghoma (Boga 76), Adams, Jutkiewicz (Davis 83). Unused substitutes: Roberts,Lowe,Kuszczak,Seddon.
Hull City: McGregor, Aina, Dawson, Mazuch, Clark, Larsson, Henriksen, Bowen, Irvine (Campbell 57), Wilson (Grosicki 76), Hernandez (Toral 73). Unused substitutes: Meyler, Marshall, Tomori, Hector.
Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland).