The Barclays Premier League campaign may have ended on a flat note, but the 2013/14 season remains the greatest in the history of Hull City.
A 2-0 defeat against Everton at the KC Stadium may have been disappointing, but the Tigers’ position of 16th in the Premier League table sets a new club record as our highest ever finishing position in the football pyramid.
In a game where, in the end, the result mattered little, City paid the price for a slow start to each half as goals from James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku earned the visitors the points, but with bigger fish to fry in next weekend’s FA Cup Final the Tigers were given a rousing send off by their supporters at full time.
As far as the league is concerned, the job was already done with season’s aim of survival achieved, and that allowed manager Steve Bruce to once again tinker with his line-up.
Allan McGregor, Paul McShane and Sone Aluko were all welcomed back from injury with Nikica Jelavic also returning to the starting eleven to face his former club.
City were away to a slow start with Everton dominating possession and were ahead in the ninth minute. Lukaku and Steven Naismith combined to send McCarthy in down the left edge of the box and although McGregor got a strong hand behind the midfielder’s shot, it wasn’t enough to prevent the ball from finding its way into the net at the far post.
It was a moment that seemed to wake City from their slumber with Aluko firing just over from distance.
Naismith dragged a shot wide for Everton before Jake Livermore did similar for the Tigers at the other end.
Stephen Quinn tracked back well to deny Seamus Coleman a far post tap-in before Maynor Figueroa saw two low drives saved by Tim Howard.
Aluko almost found himself through on goal but Howard was off his line quickly to snuff out the danger and in the closing moments of the first half, McGregor saved well from Lukaku.
Half Time: Hull City 0-1 Everton
The Tigers were caught napping within the opening 60 seconds of the second half as Everton doubled their lead. Lukaku shrugged off the attention of McShane all too easily before steadying himself inside the box and tucking home from six yards.
Matty Fryatt was introduced to the attack shortly after and City livened up with penalty claims for a high Sylvain Distin challenge on Fryatt going unrewarded.
Liam Rosenior, also on from the bench, saw a 20-yard effort saved by Howard, as did Robert Koren who looked particularly lively after his introduction.
The Tigers’ best chance of the afternoon came in the closing minutes when Curtis Davies met Tom Huddlestone’s corner six yards out, but his header went wide.
Hull City: Allan McGregor, Maynor Figueroa, Alex Bruce, Curtis Davies, Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Paul McShane (Liam Rosenior 63), Nikica Jelavic (Matty Fryatt 54), Sone Aluko (Robert Koren 73), Ahmed Elmohamady, Stephen Quinn.
Subs Not Used: Steve Harper, George Boyd, Yannick Sagbo, Shane Long.
Everton: Tim Howard, Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, Aiden McGeady (Gerard Deulofeu 69), Steven Naismith, James McCarthy, Romelu Lukaku (Lacina Traore 89), Gareth Barry, Leon Osman (Steven Pienaar 77).
Subs Not Used: Joel Robles, Tony Hibbert, Antolin Alcaraz, Conor McAleny.
Referee: Mr H. Webb.
Attendance: 24,848 (2,415 Visiting Supporters).