Burnley 1 Hull City 0: Bruce embarrassed in Turf Moor defeat
Ashley Barnes netted the all-important goal just after half-time to seal a first league victory for the Clarets at the 11th attempt.
For City, it was a bad day at the office with few, if any, players emerging with any credit.
Lacking ideas in attack and strangely out of sorts at the back, the Tigers, who played the final 15 minutes with ten men after Curtis Davies hobbled off, were toothless and rarely threatened the home goal.
The tone for a hugely disappointing afternoon was set in the first half when the visitors were fortunate not to fall behind against the enterprising hosts.
Steve Harper played a big part in that, with a fine reflex save to deny Danny Ings on 19 minutes. Then, as Paul McShane attempted to clear the danger, he sliced the ball towards his own goal and needed Robbie Brady to clear off the line.
Burnley threatened again five minutes later when Brady had to bravely block Scott Arfield as he latched on to an Ashley Barnes pass.
As the danger had been averted, referee Mark Clattenberg awarded a free-kick for Barnes being chopped to the ground by McShane while passing to barnes. Ings, though, could not capitalise as his free-kick was fired straight into the wall.
The Tigers had another fortunate escape seven minutes before the break when Ings attempted a 45 yard shot that bounced wide with Harper, who had moments earlier fired a free-kick straight to a Burnley defender, way out of his goal.
City rarely put Burnley under pressure, their best efforts being a Sone Aluko shot that was blocked and Paul McShane heading wide from a Tom Huddlestone cross.
The hope for the 2,000 away fans who had travelled to Lancashire was that a half-time roasting from Steve Bruce would lead to a major improvement.
Instead, Hull were just as lifeless in the opening stages of the second half and deserved fell behind on 49 minutes.
Danny Ings had a shot charged down but when the ball came to Kieran Trippier no-one in a City shirt closed the full back down. That allowed him to fire over a cross that Barnes headed past Harper.
Bruce’s response was to make three quick-fire substitutions as Hatem Ben Arfa, Gaeston Ramirez and Stephen Quinn were brought on.
The result was Hull finally rousing themselves as Stephen Quinn twice got away down the left before seeing one cross flash across goal and then another cut out by Michael Duff.
Ben Arfa then showed some neat touches but with Davies off the field injured, the best Hull could manage was an Abel Hernandez shot on the turn that flew just wide.
Bruce - whose decision to make three substitutions early in the second half backfired, with Curtis Davies subsequently having to come off injured and Hull being left with 10 men - said: “It is very rare in the two and a half years I have been at the club that I can be embarrassed and say sorry to supporters, who have travelled on an awful afternoon in their thousands.
“I can look at myself in making three substitutions before 60 minutes - it was obviously a gamble.
“But I have to tell you, we were probably better with 10 men than we were with 11, and that is a sad indictment of the first hour, where we were just nowhere near the level which has seen us stay up in the Premier League last season and have a decent start to this season.
“That performance has just eroded all we have done, because it was simply not good enough.
“We have tried to guard against it - we knew we didn’t want to be the first ones (to be beaten by Burnley).
“But to be fair, we have gifted Burnley their first win.
“We haven’t kicked a ball in the first half. We have kicked it out, we have shanked it, we’ve miscontrolled it and haven’t had any real urgency about us to get a shot on target, a cross on their goal.
“It is a pale shadow of the team I saw two weeks ago (draw 0-0 at Liverpool).
“We’ll have a good look at it. The sad thing for me now is they are all going away on international duty.”