It’s now three defeats in a row for Hull City after they were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham Hotspur at the KC Stadium on Sunday.
But where there was some solace in being beaten by a very good Southampton side three weeks ago and stinging criticism for simply not turning up at Burnley before the international break, there were certainly mitigating circumstances behind this latest loss.
A much better performance saw the Tigers dominate the opening 45 minutes and they really should have held more than the one-goal lead given to them by Jake Livermore’s early strike. However, the game turned on the soft dismissal of Gaston Ramirez early in the second half and Spurs hit back, with Christian Eriksen’s last-minute winner eventually breaking the home side’s resolve.
It was a City side that showed six changes to the one that lost at Burnley with Allan McGregor, Michael Dawson and Nikica Jelavic all returning from injury and Ramirez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Andrew Robertson coming into the team.
It was a fairly tepid opening few minutes with McGregor making a simple save from Roberto Soldado, but the game came to life on eight minutes as the Tigers hit the front.
Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross from the right was cleared out of the box by Federico Fazio with the ball landing at the feet of Livermore. The midfielder took a touch before driving a low shot into the net from 20 yards. There was no celebration from Livermore out of respect for the club that schooled him, but his team-mates and the home crowd lapped it up.
It was the signal for a fine 45 minutes from the home team, although McGregor was called into action again, this time to keep out Erik Lamela’s effort.
The failure of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to deal with Tom Huddlestone’s long ball forward almost cost his side with Ramirez running out of space to take advantage, before the Tigers spurned two good chances to double their lead in the space of a few seconds.
First Jelavic advanced down the right to the byeline before cutting the ball back for Robbie Brady to unleash a right-footed strike which was brilliantly kept out by Lloris, with the keeper diving to his left to push the ball away. City kept the attack alive with the ball again coming in from the right and finding Ramirez on the angle of the box. His left-footed shot brought another good save out of Lloris, with Ben Arfa smashing the rebound over the bar when he really should have found the target.
It was a let-off for Spurs and one that they almost made the most of when Erkisen’s shot whistled just wide via a deflection.
Half Time: Hull City 1-0 Spurs
The game turned five minutes into the second half when Ramirez was dismissed for an incident seen by the assistant referee, a straight red produced for a supposed act of violent conduct by the Uruguayan on Jan Vertonghen.
Either way, it signalled the end of City as an attacking force and the chances of them holding out for the win looked slim as Fazio and Soldado missed good chances in the moments after.
The equaliser came just after the hour following a foul by Curtis Davies on Soldado. Eriksen took charge of the free kick 25 yards out and when his effort came back off the upright, an unfortunate deflection off McGregor sent the ball into Harry Kane’s path and he applied the finish.
Soldado and Kane both missed golden chances as Spurs continued to dominate territory and possession, with McGregor also making a good save to keep out a swerving, dipping effort from Ryan Mason.
A rare City attack saw Jelavic send Elmohamady’s cross over the bar but it was Spurs who won it as their stand-out player Eriksen turned neatly on the edge of the area before finding the bottom corner.
Rough justice, but more points lost from a winning position by the Tigers.
Hull City: Allan McGregor, Curtis Davies, Tom Huddlestone (Liam Rosenior 64), Robbie Brady (Stephen Quinn 86), Jake Livermore, Nikica Jelavic, Michael Dawson, Gaston Ramirez, Andrew Robertson, Ahmed Elmohamady, Hatem Ben Arfa (David Meyler 57).
Subs Not Used: Steve Harper, James Chester, Abel Hernandez, Yannick Sagbo.
Spurs: Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier (Vlad Chiriches 46), Federico Fazio, Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies, Mousa Dembele (Aaron Lennon 59), Ryan Mason, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Harry Kane, Roberto Soldado (Paulinho 79).
Subs Not Used: Michel Vorm, Dominic Ball, Cristian Ceballos, Benjamin Stambouli.
Referee: Mr C. Pawson.
Attendance: 23,561 (2,538 Visiting Supporters).