Hull City 1 (Brady pen 22)
Norwich City 0
Hull City earned their first victory since returning to the Barclays Premier League as they beat Norwich City 1-0 at the KC Stadium – despite having to play for more than an hour with ten men.
Robbie Brady’s penalty in the 22nd minute proved decisive, but Yannick Sagbo’s dismissal five minutes later made it a long but ultimately successful afternoon for those of a black and amber persuasion.
Making two changes to the side that started at Chelsea the previous weekend, Steve Bruce handed first starts to Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore as a buoyant home crowd greeted the teams ahead of kick-off.
It was Norwich that dominated the opening exchanges, though, with the first chance going the way of Leroy Fer who met Russell Martin’s delightful cross with a powerful header, but he directed the ball wide.
The visitors continued to apply the pressure with Jonny Howson’s perfect low cross somehow evading his front men and Tigers goalkeeper Allan McGregor having to dive to his right to keep out Nathan Redmond’s effort.
Having seen off the early pressure, the home side began to enjoy some better possession further up the field and one move in particular had top flight quality written all over it. After confidently knocking the ball around in midfield, a stunning flick from Sone Aluko had the Norwich defence dazzled and send Livermore racing into the penalty area, but his final shot was just too high.
That move lifted the players and the crowd and the Tigers were soon given the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot. Ahmed Elmohamady’s centre was aimed at Sagbo, but the forward was dragged to the ground by former City favourite Michael Turner. The referee pointed to the spot and despite the visitor’s best efforts to put Brady off by claiming the ball wasn’t directly on the penalty spot, the Irishman kept his cool with a perfect spot kick.
The Tigers were now in the ascendancy and Livermore found the back of the net with a nicely struck shot, only to find that the referee had awarded Norwich a generous free kick following a challenge in the middle of the park.
Just when all seemed to be going well, the Tigers were reduced to ten men in the 27th minute. Norwich claims for a penalty following a corner were turned down, but led to a confrontation in which Sagbo was singled out as the guilty party and a straight red card was brandished in his direction, presumably for violent conduct.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Bruce’s side continued to push forward with Robert Koren, Aluko and Brady all going close as half time approached.
Norwich had the final chance of the opening half with Redmond’s free kick bringing a save out of McGregor at the base of his near post.
Half Time: Tigers 1-0 Norwich
Introducing Robert Snodgrass at half time, Norwich looked to up the tempo but were finding the Tigers a stubborn and determined opponent.
McGregor kept out Redmond’s tame effort while at the other end, Livermore just failed to collect Aluko’s clever pass as Martin came across to cover the danger.
Curtis Davies required lengthy treatment for a head injury as the home side’s penalty area came under heavy pressure with Howson looking particularly dangerous for the visitors as he forced a save out of McGregor and fired a shot just over.
Norwich’s best chance fell to Ricky Van Wolfswinkel on 67 minutes, but his goal-bound header was brilliantly kept out by McGregor, but somehow managed to adjust his position to tip the ball over the bar.
The Tigers’ introduced fresh legs in the form of Danny Graham, George Boyd and Liam Rosenior and the changes worked as Bruce’s men soaked up anything Norwich could throw at them.
A frustrated away side were just about done for as City ran down the clock effectively, despite six minutes of added time, and a first three points of the season brought a rapturous reception at the full time whistle.
Tigers: Allan McGregor, Ahmed Elmohamady, James Chester, Curtis Davies, Maynor Figueroa, Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Robbie Brady (George Boyd 80), Robert Koren (Liam Rosenior 83), Sone Aluko (Danny Graham 72), Yannick Sagbo.
Subs Not Used: Steve Harper, Alex Bruce, Paul McShane, David Meyler.
Norwich: John Ruddy, Russell Martin, Steven Whittaker, Bradley Johnson (Robert Snodgrass 46), Michael Turner, Jonny Howson, Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Leroy Fer, Javier Garrido, Nathan Redmond (Wes Hoolahan 73), Alexander Tettey (Johan Elmander 65).
Subs Not Used: Mark Bunn, Luciano Becchio, Martin Olsson, Ryan Bennett.
Referee: Mr M. Jones.
Attendance: 23,682 (2,517 visiting supporters).