HULL CITY’S poor recent form against Stoke City continued with defeat in a dour game at the Britannia.
Peter Crouch settled matters in the favour of the Potters, who on the balance of chances created did just enough to deserve all three points with it taking until stoppage time at the end of the contest for the visitors to force a corner.
Crouch’s second half winner, which came just 61 seconds after the former England striker had come off the bench, means the Tigers have won just one of their last 12 meetings with Stoke.
That solitary triumph rarely looked like being improved on, with Steve Bruce’s men putting in a below par performance against a home side that were barely much better.
It meant another frustrating day on the road for the 1,287 City fans who made the trip to the Potteries.
The only consolation was that none of the teams below Hull in the table were able to take advantage, with Sunderland, Burnley and Aston Villa all losing.
In keeping with recent trends in meetings between these two sides at the Britannia, the game started slowly.
Stoke did have the better of possession but threatened only fitfully in a poor first half.
The Potters did, though, have a shout for a penalty turned down when Phil Bardsley went down under a challenge from Sone Aluko while trying to meet a corner from Victor Moses but replays showed the City man got the ball.
That came on 31 minutes and moments later Stephen Ireland mis-cued an inviting volley to allow Allan McGregor a simple save.
Apart from those two efforts and a Bardsley flicked header that was going wide before being cleared by Jake Livermore on the back pist, Stoke rarely threatened the visitors’ goal.
It was a similar tale at the other end with Hull, without top scorer Nikica Jelavic with a knee injury that was rested as a precaution with Tuesday’s meeting with Sunderland in mind, struggling to make inroads.
City did, though, have one chance when Sone Aluko wriggled free of Phillipp Wollscheid only to then poke a shot wide with just Asmir Begovic to beat.
The second half saw Stoke start in a much more positive manner with Charlie Adam, off the bench in place of Stephen Ireland, twice going close with long distance efforts.
It should have been a warning to City but, instead, Adams was given sufficient time and space to look up just inside the visitors’ half before sending over a cross for Peter Crouch.
The beanpole striker had only been on 61 seconds but he finished superbly with a header that gave McGregor no chance.
Hull rarely threatened to peg back the hosts,.even if it did take a Phil Bardsley challenge to prevent Paul McShane having a shot on goal after Michael Dawson had flicked Huddlestone’s cross into his path.