Hull City 3 Brentford 2: Tigers battle back to secure opening win for Adkins

Brentford scramble the ball away from Tigers' Fraizer Campbell. Picture Tony Johnson.
Brentford scramble the ball away from Tigers' Fraizer Campbell. Picture Tony Johnson.
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A DRAMATIC second-half saw Hull City start the Nigel Adkins reign with a badly-needed win to ease their plight towards the wrong end of the Championship table with a tense victory over the Bees.

A barnstorming second half full of character, conviction and quality saw Hull rally splendidly after going behind thanks to a David Meyler own goal shortly after the restart to lead 3-1, courtesy of goals from the recalled Kamil Grosicki, Seb Larsson and Jackson Irvine, his first gola for the club.

But a header from visiting captain John Egan - as Hull conceded late on in a game for the umpeenth occasion this term - set up an anxious finale.

Thankfully, Hull held out, despite eight minutes of added-on time to secure their first win in eight matches since October 21 and first on home soil since September 30.

It was a remarkable second half, but Hull found a way, deservedly.

Given Hull’s grim predicament, few will have seriously expected a free-flowing, seamless half of attacking football and so it proved in the first half.

What Hull did show was perspiration, if little inspiration and the spirit was at least there and some encouragement did belatedly arrive towards the end of the half.

It was manifested in the form of a couple of quick-fire chances to enliven the home support, with Fraizer Campbell seeing his rising shot on the turn parried over by Bees keeper Daniel Bentley after Ola Aina’s long throw was not cleared.

Moments after, a Max Clark corner found its way to captain Michael Dawson, whose goalbound downward header drew a fine one-handed reaction save from Bentley.

In the main, Hull struggled to muster the wit to compliment their effort, with the more comfort and poise shown on the ball between the thirds by Brentford, although they struggled to prise open City’s rearguard.

One decent chance was manufactured before the break with Sergi Canos seeing his well-struck low shot saved by the legs of Allan McGregor.

After a tame first half, a hive of activity arrived at the start of the second, although the first development was a kamikaze one for the hosts.

It added to theri litany of wretched defensive moments this term, with a Clark mistake letting in Neal Maupay, who spread the ball to Ollie Watkins, who beat Seb Larsson down the right before sending over a low cross which was diverted into his own net by Meyler.

It was the worst possible start to the half, but thankfully Hull didn’t let things fester and were level seven minutes later.

The ball broke for Grosicki, whose blistering strike flew past Bentley to provide some blessed relief for the Tigers and Adkins.

Brentford suddenly looked vulnerable and the hosts clearly started to fancy it with sub Jon Toral stumbling when clear on goal against his old club before more hesistant defending let in Campbell, whose downward shot was blocked by Bentley.

But not too long after, Hull had their moment, courtesy of an excellent free-kick from Larsson, which caught out Bentley at his near post with the Tigers promptly going for the jugular.

A sweet third arrived on 75 minutes and it was noteworthy moment for Irvine, who darted into the box to latch onto a lovely weighted pass from Toral before drilling the ball emphatically past Bentley.

But, as has been the hosts wont, it would not be Hull without a tense late finale which arrived after Egan headed in Watkins’ cross after McGregor initially beat away Florian Jozefzoon’s free-kick.

A lengthy amount of stoppage-time ensued with Nouhu Dicko somehow missing a glorious chance to make the game safe when Bentley saved from point-blank range, while McGregor denied Watkins right at the death.

Hull City: McGregor; Tomori, Dawson, Mazuch, Clark (Toral 51); Larsson, Meyler (Luer 83); Aina, Irvine, Grosicki; Campbell (Dicko 83). Substitutes unused: Marshall, Diomande, Batty, Clackstone.

Brentford: Bentley; Clarke, Bjelland, Egan, Barbet; Mokotjo (Yennaris 62), Woods, Sawyers (Jozefzoon 74); Watkins, Maupay, Canos (McEachran 74). Substitutes unused: Daniels, MacLeod, Chatzithedoridis, Mepham.

Referee: S Hooper (Wiltshire).

Attendance: 14,620 (607 Brentford supporters).