ABEL HERNANDEZ took his goal tally to four in six games but it wasn’t enough to earn Hull City all three points.
Instead, Jordan Rhodes netted a dramatic stoppage time equaliser to ensure Blackburn Rovers returned back along the M62 with a hard-fought point.
The Lancashire club had arrived at the KC Stadium with the pressure on manager Gary Bowyer after a disappointing start to the season.
A safety-first approach, therefore, was to be expected and for much of the proceedings this was a low-key encounter.
However, once Rhodes had restored parity, both sides had a chance to win it as Hope Akpan was denied by Allan McGregor before Curtis Davies headed wide a gilt-edged chance at the other end.
It meant honours ended even in front of 16.486 fans, who had thought the contest had been settled in controversial circumstances.
Moment before City had broken at speed for Hernandez to tap in an Ahmed Elmohamady cross, Rovers felt Davies had foulled Rhodes when the striker was through on goal.
Had referee Anthony Haines given the foul that Rovers demanded, Davies would have been on his way after receiving a yellow card inside the opening minute.
Instead, the Tyne & Wear official waved play on - and the Tigers took due advantage to snatch what - until Rhodes’ late intervention - looked like being the winner.
The late drama was in stark contrast to a first half that only spluttered into life. Two mistakes by Curtis Davies book-ended those opening 45 minutes and the City defender was fortunate to get away with both.
The first came inside the opening minute as Tom Lawrence dispossessed the Tigers man before being tugged back, an offence that earned Davies a yellow card.
An identical repeat just before the break ended with Jordan Rhodes seeing his header turned behind by Allan McGregor.
In between these basic errors by the one-time Hull captain, the home side were marginally the better side but had nothing to show for it.
Abel Hernandez was denied by Jason Steele after taking the ball off Grant Hanley, while Ahmed Elmohamady also brought a flying save from the Rovers goalkeeper.
Otherwise, the closest Bruce’s men came to a goal came on 33 minutes when Davies’ overhead kick bounced narrowly wide after Mohamed Diame had returned the ball to the penalty area.
Hull did most of what little pressing was done by either side in the early period of the second half, too, as Tom Huddlestone had a long range effort saved and Diame wasted a great opening when mis-cueing a volley.
As the game entered the final quarter, Grant Hanley headed narrowly wide from a Craig Conway free-kick for Rovers before the game’s defining moment arrived on 73 minutes.
As Rhodes went down under pressure from Davies, City broke quickly as Rovers appealed in vain for a free-kick and what, surely, would have been a red card for the defender.
Akpom spread the ball wide to Elmohamady and he scampered away down the right before drilling an inviting cross beyond two defenders, allowing Hernandez the simple task of tapping in at the back post.
Shaun Maloney should then have wrapped up the points when presented with a headed chance by Moses Odubajo’s left footed cross but he headed wide.
Rhodes had a chance to make the Scot pay but he slipped when presented with a late volley. That, though, wasn’t the end of his involvement as the former Huddersfield man headed in a stoppage time equaliser Conway.
McGregor then denied Akpan with a point-blank save before Davies somehow headed wide with the goal at his mercy after being picked out by David Meyler’s cushioned header.
Hull manager Steve Bruce has told his players they must start performing to the best of their ability after watching them surrender a late goal.
“Too many (of my players) are not playing well enough to what we know they are capable of,” said Bruce.
“We urgently players to start performing the way we know they can. It has been a difficult (transfer window) with not knowing who was staying and who was going.
“It wasn’t until we added Maloney and Livermore that we added that bit of quality the game needed.”
Bruce bemoaned the late Blackburn equaliser which saw Rhodes escape his marker at a corner.
“It’s what football is and the difficult one is two giants of centre backs who my centre backs have to pick up and we’re left with a full-back picking him (Rhodes) up.
“I don’t think we deserved to lose it but we will get better. We will perform better.”
Hull City: McGregor; Odubajo, Dawson, Davies, Robertson (Livermore 64); Elmohamady. Huddlestone, Diame (Maloney 59), Clucas; Akpom, Hernandez (Meyler 87). Substitutes (not used): Jakupovic, Meyler, Maguire, Hayden, Aluko.
Blackburn Rovers: Steele: Steele; Henley, Hanley, Duffy, Olsson; Conway, Evans, Guthrie (Akpan 7), Marshall (Spurr 82), Lawrence (Delfouneso 78); Rhodes. Substitutes (not used): Raya, Williamson, O’Sullivan, Lenihan.
Hull: McGregor, Odubajo, Dawson, Davies, Robertson, Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Diame, Clucas, Akpom, Hernandez. Subs: Livermore,
Meyler, Maguire, Maloney, Jakupovic, Hayden, Aluko.
Blackburn: Steele, Henley, Hanley, Duffy, Olsson, Marshall, Guthrie, Evans, Conway, Lawrence, Rhodes. Subs: Spurr, Delfouneso, Williamson, O’Sullivan, Akpan, Lenihan, Raya.
Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)
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