Hull City 1 (Brady 63)
Hull City maintained their position in the automatic promotion places with a 1-0 victory against Middlesbrough at the KC Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Robbie Brady netted the only goal of the game, firing home from a free kick just after the hour to earn a much-needed three points.
Corry Evans and Stephen Quinn came into the starting line-up as Steve Bruce made two changes to his side. Jack Hobbs (injured) and Jay Simpson were the two to make way.
The opening ten minutes brought few incidents of note, other than a Jonathan Woodgate back-header that almost fell nicely into the path of Gedo and a Sammy Ameobi shot that was easily saved by David Stockdale.
Stockdale had to react smartly in the 12th minute to prevent Mustapha Carayol’s cross sneaking in at his near post.
City’s first attempt at goal came from an 18th-minute Brady free kick, but he was well off target with his effort from the angle of the box.
Robert Koren’s turn and 20-yard shot brought a save out of Jason Steele 25 minutes in, but in reality the game was lacking any real tempo.
George Boyd went close after a quickly taken free kick allowed him to advance into the box, but his effort only found the side-netting while James Chester’s goal-bound volley was brilliantly blocked by Justin Hoyte.
City were forced into a change just before half time as Alex Bruce departed injured to be replaced by Liam Rosenior.
Half Time: Tigers 0-0 Middlesbrough
Brady had the first effort of the second half, but he was well off target once again after cutting in from the left.
Since the substitution just before the break, City were playing a 4-4-2 system with Quinn and Ahmed Elmohamady on the wings and Brady and Rosenior in the full-back roles.
City’s second change of the afternoon came on 53 minutes as Simpson replaced Gedo.
Stockdale was down smartly to save from Carayol while Evans was unfortunate to pick up a yellow card after being pulled up by the referee.
The Tigers took the lead in the 63rd minute after Quinn had been fouled just outside the area. Brady stepped up to take the free kick and what looked like the tamest of efforts bounced horribly in front of Steele and found its way into the net.
Elmohamady almost doubled the lead three minutes later when he got on the end of another Brady free kick, but he guided a header over the bar.
The goal seemed to be the spark City were looking for as Simpson went close following some determined work from Rosenior.
Simpson really should have scored on 70 minutes after Quinn picked the striker out in the six-yard box, but a fresh-air shot let the visitors off the hook.
It almost proved costly as Middlesbrough loaded the City box a minute later, but instead of using an overlap, Ishmael Miller chose to shoot and his effort was tame at Stockdale.
Chester produced a vital intervention to deny Miller a free header at goal on 74 minutes with the visitors going in search of a leveller.
Faye saw yellow for a challenge on Middlesbrough substitute Scott McDonald as the game entered the final 15 minutes.
McDonald was the next to go close as a clever near-post flick brought the best out of Stockdale. From the resulting corner, Evans cleared off the line from Bikey’s header.
Rosenior was the next man into the referee’s book for a foul on McDonald as the away team turned up the pressure.
City’s final change saw Ahmed Fathi replace Boyd.
A nervy final ten minutes followed with City not sure whether to stick or twist. Chances to counter-attack came and went, while the long balls thrown back at them by Middlesbrough were swallowed up by the defence, Faye in particular was a man-mountain.
Four minutes of added time brought a booking for Stockdale for time-wasting, but City just about made it over the line for a valuable three points.
Tigers: David Stockdale, Ahmed Elmohamady, James Chester, Abdoulaye Faye, Alex Bruce (Liam Rosenior 45), Robbie Brady, Corry Evans, Stephen Quinn, Robert Koren, George Boyd (Ahmed Fathi 80), Gedo (Jay Simpson 53).
Subs Not Used: Eldin Jakupovic, Andy Dawson, Tom Cairney, Nick Proschwitz.
Middlesbrough: Jason Steele, Justin Hoyte, Grant Leadbitter, Sammy Ameobi (Scott McDonald 68), Rhys Williams, Josh McEachran, Andy Halliday, Mustapha Carayol (Merouane Zemmma 68), Ishmael Miller, Faris Haroun, Jonathan Woodgate (Andre Bikey 46).
Subs Not Used: Jayson Leutwiler, Nicky Bailey, Lucas Jutkiewicz, Curtis Main.
Referee: Mr S. Hooper.
Attendance: 17,901 (1,086 visiting supporters)