Hull City were held to a 2-2 draw by West Ham United at the KC Stadium on Monday night.
In a game where the home fans will have left with plenty of optimism following the display of club record signing Abel Hernandez, they will also no doubt have headed home a little frustrated as the Tigers twice surrendered the lead as they were forced to settle for a point.
Hernandez was named in the starting line-up along with fellow new recruit Mohamed Diame, while there was also a home debut for Michael Dawson. Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez had to make do with places on the bench.
A lively start from City saw dangerous early crosses from Andrew Robertson and Ahmed Elmohamady go unrewarded while at the other end Dawson had to be at his best to deny Enner Valencia a simple far post header.
As the game settled down, West Ham were enjoying the greater spells of possession with Diafra Sakho shooting high and wide and Stewart Downing sending a strike over Allan McGregor’s crossbar.
Dawson was on hand to deny Valencia again just after the half-hour before Sakho missed a glorious chance from four yards out, although credit also has to go to the covering defence for pressurising their opponent into firing wide.
Hernandez had his first sight of goal after turning sharply following a Nikica Jelavic flick-on, his shot from 20 yards saved by Adrian.
However, there would be no denying Hernandez a second time when, after Elmohamady had whipped a Jake Livermore pass into the box, the Uruguayan striker rose to plant a firm header into the net from 12 yards.
James Tomkins missed a chance to equalise for the visitors when he headed wide at the far post before the Tigers were denied a second goal by the offside flag. Hernandez saw a thumping drive from 20 yards come back off the underside of the bar, with Jelavic heading home the rebound only for the celebrations to be cut short.
Half Time: Hull City 1-0 West Ham
West Ham re-emerged with a little more purpose after the break and found themselves level five minutes in as Valencia’s stunning drive from 25 yards grazed the bar on its way into the net.
A yellow card for Tom Huddlestone was followed by Valencia failing to make the most of a chance to control in the City six-yard box before Curtis Davies almost deflected a left-wing cross into his own net, Allan McGregor spurring his blushes.
Hernandez saw a stinging shot beaten away by Adrian after Elmohamady’s cross had only been partially cleared while Jelavic saw a volley deflect wide off Tomkins.
The Tigers were back in front on 64 minutes. Diame broke up West Ham play midway inside their own half and advanced to the edge of the box before curling a lovely right-footed shot home off the inside of the post.
But the lead lasted just three minutes as Sakho found room inside the area before seeing a shot that really should have been saved squirm through McGregor and into the net via Davies.
It was a deflating moment for City and the Hammers now had their tails up with Mark Noble seeing a shot deflect wide and Sakho seeing a goal-bound header pushed away by McGregor.
Substitute Robbie Brady was looking lively and saw a couple of efforts saved by Adrian before Ben Arfa and Ramirez were introduced for Diame and Hernandez, who were both afforded standing ovations from the home crowd.
Jake Livermore and West Ham’s Winston Reid were both booked during added time and the drama and tension remained right to the last when Valencia missed a glorious chance to win it for the visitors, heading down and over the bar at the far post via a Dawson deflection.
Hull City: Allan McGregor, Curtis Davies, Tom Huddlestone, Abel Hernandez (Hatem Ben Arfa 79), Jake Livermore, Mohamed Diame (Gaston Ramirez 79), Nikica Jelavic, Michael Dawson, Andrew Robertson, Ahmed Elmohamady, Stephen Quinn (Robbie Brady 58).
Subs Not Used: Steve Harper, Liam Rosenior, James Chester, David Meyler.
West Ham: Adrian, Guy Demel (Carl Jenkinson 76), Aaron Cresswell, Joel Tomkins, Winston Reid, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble, Mauro Zarate (Alex Song 62), Stewart Downing, Diafra Sakho (Morgan Amalfitano 87), Enner Valencia.
Subs Not Used: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Neil Collins, Ricardo Vaz Te, Carlton Cole.
Referee: Mr M. Atkinson.
Attendance: 21,275 (1,262 Visiting Supporters).