Steve Bruce felt two “horrible” decisions went against Hull but his players incurred as much of the manager’s wrath as the officials after a meek display at Preston.
An impressive Boxing Day win against Burnley was quickly forgotten at Deepdale as City slipped to a third straight Sky Bet Championship defeat on the road.
Paul Gallagher’s second-half strike secured North End a deserved 1-0 win, but Bruce felt City should have snuck a point back over the Pennines after a stoppage-time scramble.
The City boss said his players claimed the late effort was a “yard over the line”, while he felt Chuba Akpom was wrongly adjudged to be offside when scoring shortly after half-time.
“It’s over the line, yeah, but we’re clutching at straws and we needed something like that because we haven’t performed today anywhere near to the level,” Bruce said.
“We needed that little break and I have to say Chuba, when he’s gone through, is two yards onside, but we can make excuses.
“We needed a break when you’re not playing well, like we didn’t. We found it very difficult today and, to be fair, away from home it is too often that we’re not performing anywhere near the level we’re capable of.
“It is three successive defeats and if you’re going to win leagues or win titles then we’ve got to eradicate that quickly because it’s not a great trait to have.
“Unfortunately, the linesman has got a horrible decision with an offside and a horrible decision which he has got to see that (the ball crossed the line), even though he is 50 yards away.
“The reaction of all the players tells you it is over the line. They’ve got away with it.”
The officials had to be led off the pitch by stewards as Hull’s players made their anger clear, but Preston boss Simon Grayson claims they got the goal-line decision right.
“I’ve seen on the TV replays that it’s not over the line,” he said.
“John Welsh has made a great clearance and we’re fortunate because sometimes them decisions go against you.”
Preston: Pickford, Vermijl (Woods 89), Wright, Clarke, Cunningham, Gallagher (Brownhill 78), Welsh, Johnson, Reach, Keane, Garner (Hugill 90). Unused substitutes: Kilkenny, Doyle, Davies, Kirkland.
Hull: McGregor, Elmohamady, Maguire, Davies, Robertson, Livermore, Meyler (Huddlestone 46), Snodgrass, Clucas, Maloney (Diame 71), Akpom (Hernandez 63). Unused substitutes: Taylor, Jakupovic, Hayden, Diomande.
Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).
Man of the match: Paul Gallagher.