HULL CITY were the architects of their own downfall as a late strike from Saido Berahino condemned Steve Bruce’s men to defeat.
A dreary game was meandering to a goalless draw when the Tigers committing footballing suicide when Ahmed Elmohamady touched a ball back to Allan McGregor that the goalkeeper was on his way to collect.
The Scot had little option but to collect the back pass and from the resulting free-kick, Saido Berahino fired in what proved to be the winner.
It was a dreadful way to lose and capped a miserable afternoon that saw Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez limp out of the action to add to City’s injury woes.
The first half was, in hindsight, a more entertaining affair than the 45 minutes that followed. At the time, however, it felt to be a tame contest with most incidents of note centreing on England prospect Berahino.
First, the Albion man exchanged passes with Stephane Sessegnon inside Hull territory to create an opening that he should have done better with than poke wide.
Then, after Hull had failed to clear the danger, Berahino drilled a low shot that Allan McGregor did well to hold on to at full stretch.
Berahino also curled a shot into the gloves of Allan McGregor but it was Brown Ibeye who missed the best chance when he dragged a shot wide after being played clear of the City defence.
West Brom had one major let-off in the opening 45 minutes when Robbie Brady, after muscling Joleon Lescott off the ball, brought a flying save from Ben Foster.
The best Hull could offer in the first half, otherwise, were a couple of long-range efforts by Jake Livermore and Maynor Figueroa from 25 yards, while Abel Hernandez curled a shot over from distance.
David Meyler also put a decent cross in just before the break but Foster beat Tom Ince to the ball.
With Jelavic and Hernandez both forced out of the action before the break through injury, City understandably carried less threat in the second half.
There was, though, no excuse for Albion’s lack of urgency up front. Berahino did drag a shot wide following a poor header by Stephen Quinn and Gareth McAuley headed wide from a Chris Baird free-kick.
But, otherwise, there was precious little to worry the Tigers until Elmohamady inexplicably touched the ball back to Allan McGregor when the goalkeeper was on his way to collect.
Referee Neil Swarbrick rightly gave a free-kick and, from eight yards out, Berahino fired in following a touch from Victor Anichebe.
After that 78th minute opener, City huffed and puffed but never looked like getting back into the contest.
On the error, Hull boss Steve Bruce said: “The game looked like it had 0-0 written all over it and we were so comfortable defensively that it is a frustration to lose the game with a misunderstanding like we have.
“It is cruel on us, but that is the nature of it if you make mistakes like that at this level - and it is one of those comical ones.
“He (Elmohamady) doesn’t need to touch it, and you could say the goalkeeper doesn’t need to come out for it. It is that split-second where there is a lack of communication, and unfortunately we have been punished.”
Hull suffered a double setback in the first half as frontmen Nikica Jelavic (knee) and Abel Hernandez (groin) were forced off having joined the club’s already-lengthy injury list.
Bruce - whose side slipped to 17th, above the drop zone on goal difference alone - said: “Jelavic hurt the knee that was operated on two months ago. It is not like him to come off, so there’s something wrong.
“He felt it a bit yesterday, but wanted to play. We do fear it is something niggling away - we just hope it’s not a recurrence of the previous injury.”