How Hull City's failure to take their chances cost them in defeat to Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion

Kamil Grosicki spurned Hull City's best chance as West Bromwich Albion won 1-0 at the KCOM Stadium. Picture: Tony Johnson
Kamil Grosicki spurned Hull City's best chance as West Bromwich Albion won 1-0 at the KCOM Stadium. Picture: Tony Johnson
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For 90 minutes, Hull City more than matched Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion at the KCOM Stadium.

For a good chunk of what was a showdown between two of the division’s form teams, the Tigers played the better football, looked the better team.

Yet, there is a reason why the Baggies sit top of the pile and Grant McCann’s men find themselves 12th in the table despite them having won three on the bounce prior to Saturday's 1-0 defeat.

On this occasion, it was a lack of a clinical edge.

That is not to say that City have suffered problems in front of goal this term. Indeed, they have scored more (23) than many of the sides above them, but it was their failure to take their chances that was to cost them against West Brom.

The difference, in the end, was a superb 25-yard strike from ex-Hull midfielder Jake Livermore, an England international as recently as 2017.

As pleasing as it was on the eye, that 29th-minute goal should however have been one which drew the visitors level, not decided the outcome of the contest.

Just five minutes earlier, following a very even start to the game, Jackson Irvine had strode through midfield before showing fine vision to send Kamil Grosicki scampering in on goal.

The Polish speedster raced towards Baggies stopper Sam Johnstone, who seemed strangely reluctant to come off his line, and looked a certainty to break the deadlock, only to stab his finish agonisingly wide of the mark when he really had to score.

Prior to that, Grady Diangana had twice gone close for West Brom at the other end, then, Matty Phillips' long-range strike drew a fine save from City custodian George Long.

From the resulting corner, the ball eventually fell for Livermore some distance from goal, and he let fly with a lovely effort that put the Midlands outfit ahead.

Despite that set-back, Hull steadied themselves and finished the opening period strongly.

Josh Bowler cut in off the right flank and stung the palms of Johnstone, before Jarrod Bowen converted from close range after the visiting goalkeeper pushed away Irvine's close-range effort, only for the home celebrations to be cut short by the raising of a linesman's flag.

City began the second half with real intent and some tenacious play by Eric Lichaj down the right led to him pulling a dangerous cross back from close to the byline, however with home players queuing up to get on the end it, the ball bounced off Kevin Stewart and into the arms of a grateful Johnstone.

Half-time substitute Tom Eaves then made a good burst down the right and find Grosicki inside the area, though on this occasion he was crowded out.

The hosts continued to press, but the Baggies defended their six-yard box well and crucially enjoyed a favourable bounce of the ball on a number of occasions.

Having weathered the storm, the visitors began to threaten themselves as the half wore on, Diangana beating both Long and the far post with a shot across the face of goal on 73 minutes.

Matheus Pereira then fired wide as the visitors sensed an opportunity to kill City off, though there was to be one last chance for McCann's side to salvage something.

With 90 minutes on the clock, a free-kick was headed back across the penalty area for the unmarked Jordy de Wijs to make himself the Hull hero, however he got his back-post volley all wrong and, as another chance went begging, any hopes of nicking a point evaporated.