The Tigers’ second stint as a Barclays Premier League side is over after a 0-0 draw with Manchester United on the final day of the season confirmed their relegation back to the Championship.
Steve Bruce’s side had to win to stand any chance of staying up, but as it turned out even that wouldn’t have been enough with Newcastle United securing their survival with a 2-0 win against West Ham.
This was 90 minutes that encapsulated a whole season for the home side. A bright start with some early promise, the hard-luck story of seeing two ‘goals’ ruled out inside two first half minutes, a lull in the middle, a late rally, but in the end not having quite enough to complete the job.
There was certainly no questioning the desire and commitment as an unchanged Tigers side set about their opponents from minute one.
Robbie Brady and Stephen Quinn were lively down the left and when Brady sent in an inviting second-minute cross, Dame N’Doye got in front of his marker only to see a header saved by Victor Valdes.
United responded with Wayne Rooney sending a third-minute 20-yarder just over the bar but the rest of the half belonged to the home side as a string of chances came their way.
Tom Huddlestone’s clever lofted pass found Ahmed Elmohamady inside the United area six minutes in and the Egyptian had enough space to lift the ball over the advancing Valdes but the visiting defence were the first to the ball to clear.
Michael Dawson wasn’t quite tall enough to get a firm header on a Brady corner before another Brady set-piece almost brought an opening goal. A free kick delivered to the six-yard line tempted Valdes out and although he got two hands on the ball, he spilled it under pressure. A home boot managed to poke the ball through to Paul McShane who diverted it into the net, only to see the flag go up for offside.
Just 60 seconds later, the Tigers’ shining light Brady whipped another fine cross into the United box where Elmohamady was arriving back post. He met the ball with a firm header which was brilliantly pushed around the post by Valdes. From the corner, also taken by Brady, the ball made its way through to Quinn at the far post and despite a heavy first touch he managed to get a shot in on goal which found the far corner of the net via the slightest of flicks from N’Doye. Unfortunately he was in an offside position, the flag went up and the Tigers were denied again.
There was plenty more endeavour from the home team leading up to the break although every ball into the United box was cleared by the visiting defence.
And Bruce’s men were almost undone late in the half when Ander Herrera managed to sneak in behind the back line, but a failure to control the ball saw the chance pass by.
Dawson made a superb block from Herrera moments after the break after N’Doye had been guilty of conceding possession midway inside his own half but the Tigers were soon back on the front foot as a glorious chance came David Meyler’s way from a Nikica Jelavic knock-down but the midfielder sliced high and wide from ten yards.
News of a Newcastle goal failed to knock the Tigers out of their stride as they continued to push forward with Dawson and McShane failing to get a vital touch on another wonderful ball in from Brady.
N’Doye hooked a difficult chance wide from Elmohamady’s cross before Abel Hernandez and Sone Aluko were introduced from the bench in place of James Chester and N’Doye.
Aluko’s first involvement saw him produce a neat cut-back for Jelavic who saw a near-post effort brilliantly saved by Valdes.
The Tigers enjoyed a numerical advantage for the final 13 minutes as United substitute Marouane Felaini was shown a straight red card for a nasty challenge on McShane but it made no difference as Hernandez fluffed his lines and Quinn sent a shot straight down the throat of Valdes.
Late yellow cards were exchanged between Dawson and Chris Smalling before referee Lee Probert signalled the end of the Tigers’ Premier League stay and kick-started a long-off season ahead of a return to Championship action in August.
Hull City: Steve Harper, James Chester (Abel Hernandez 70), David Meyler (Andrew Robertson 86), Tom Huddlestone, Robbie Brady, Paul McShane, Nikica Jelavic, Michael Dawson, Ahmed Elmohamady, Dame N’Doye (Sone Aluko 70), Stephen Quinn.
Subs Not Used: Allan McGregor, Liam Rosenior, Alex Bruce, Yannick Sagbo.
Manchester United: Victor Valdes, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria (Adnan Januzaj 23), Juan Mata (James Wilson 73), Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Ashley Young (Marouane Fellaini 59), Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia.
Subs Not Used: Anders Lindegaard, Robin van Persie, Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett.
Referee: Mr L. Probert.