Plenty of positives for Pulis
Published 23/11/2013 | 17:36
Tony Pulis watched from the stands as his new club Crystal Palace snatched just a second win of the season at Hull, breathing new life into their relegation battle.
Caretaker boss Keith Millen, who will hand over the baton to Pulis, signed off his stint with a 1-0 victory, secured when Barry Bannan converted Cameron Jerome's cut back in the 81st minute.
By then Palace were down to 10 men and seemingly hanging on to a point after Yannick Bolasie was harshly dismissed for a lunge at Jake Livermore.
They were almost pegged back in the dying seconds when Livermore saw his effort bundled off the line and Liam Rosenior clattered a post from 25 yards, but Pulis will now take the hot seat with a spring in his step.
Prior to that late drama it was a grim and forgettable outing at the KC Stadium, as notable for the home fans' protests against the proposed renaming of the club as anything that occurred on the field.
Owner Assem Allam looks set to proceed with plans to rebrand the side as Hull Tigers, but there was nothing for the locals to roar about as they turned in arguably their limpest display of the season.
Hull were incensed by referee Anthony Taylor after just two minutes when he pulled back play for a clash of heads between Paul McShane and Marouane Chamakh.
George Boyd was in a decent position to advance on goal when the whistle was blown but the lengthy attention - and twin bandages - required by both injured parties went some way to justifying Taylor's call.
Chamakh, in fact, never fully recovered and was replaced by Jerome in the 36th minute.
Boyd and Robbie Brady were taking turns to push up in search of the flick-ons provided by centre forward Yannick Sagbo, although nothing concrete came through that route in the opening stages.
At the other end, Kagisho Dikgachoi managed to get in front of McShane and into the area but his shot sailed high and wide.
Most of the best entertainment involved fan protests against the proposed name change, with a large 'WE ARE HULL CITY' banner being paraded around the stands before stewards waged an unsuccessful tug-of-war with the ring leaders.
When the message was once again unfurled, it was met with deafening approval from all four corners.
Hull attempted to draw attention back to the pitch, Tom Huddlestone and Boyd working a quick free-kick to Curtis Davies in the Palace box. The centre-half got a strong connection on his header but could not force it through a crowded area.
By the time the sides headed for the tunnel, neither had mustered a goalscoring attempt worthy of the title, although a deflected effort from Boyd at least required Julian Speroni to make a save.
Steve Bruce removed the ineffective Brady at the break, sending on Danny Graham in his place to increase Hull's attacking options.
Within seven minutes of the restart they created the best chance so far. Boyd found the run of Sagbo, but the Ivorian hesitated slightly when one on one with Speroni and saw his shot well saved.
Palace countered immediately, Bolasie looking for the advancing Dwight Gayle only for Ahmed Elmohamady to make a vital interception.
An unlikely breakthrough reared its head when Boyd tripped over the ball and then passed straight to Bolasie, but the winger screwed his shot wide of Allan McGregor's goal.
The tempo was picking up, Jerome and Robert Koren exchanging 20-yard strikes and Davies losing his footing when the ball dropped to him from a Hull corner in the 70th minute.
The latter was actually an inviting chance by the standards on offer but the home captain could not even manage a solid connection.
With 12 minutes to go, the door creaked open for Hull as Bolasie saw red sliding in on Livermore.
But incredibly it was the visitors who took the lead just three minutes later.
Hull were guilty of switching off at the back as Jerome jinked into the box and left them exposed as the striker reached the byline and rolled the ball across goal. Bannan was the man arriving to meet it and slid home to set up an unlikely success.
Hull had the numerical advantage but limited time to make it count. As it was they almost levelled twice at the end of added time - Livermore's attempt blocked on the goal-line and Rosenior's sweetly-struck follow-up rebounding off the woodwork.