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December 15, 2013
• Kingston Communications Stadium, Hull
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 23324
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells, today. Thanks for following the contest with me and, until next time, farewell!
Despite the lack of entertaining football on show, both sides can take positives from that contest. Hull enjoyed the better of the first half, while Stoke came out more dominant in the second. Mark Hughes will rue some of the missed chances, particularly in a 15 minute spell where Shawcross hit the bar, Crouch produced two excellent saves from McGregor and Ireland had a goal disallowed. Still, they showed little in the first half and can not consider themselves particularly hard done by with a point. Not one to remember by any means but a valuable point earned by both sides.
90' + 3'
Adam's free kick, however, goes unmet. And with that, the referee calls an end to proceedings. It finishes goalless at the KC Stadium as, despite some Stoke pressure in the second half, neither side were able to break the deadlock.
90' + 2'
Adam makes a potentially telling contribution as, after giving the ball away to Huddlestone, the substitute wins the ball back before being brought down by the same man. Adam prepares to take the free kick.
90' + 1'
The home support are irate after Assaidi appears to kick Brady in the head. There's nothing malicious in it but it's clearly a foul and the referee deems it as such.
Stoke's period of concerted pressure appears to have passed as Hull come forward, though Palacios does well to win a throw-in, playing it off El Mohamady. Three minutes of added time are called.
Rosenior lumps a ball out of play, allowing Charlie Adam to replace Arnautovic. With a minute remaining, can the Scotsman provide a much-needed goal?
Stoke continue to enjoy the better of it but even their legs appear to be waning as we approach the final few minutes of this contest. They attempt a long ball aimed at Crouch but Chester does well to head out of play.
Rosenior does well again in the face of Stoke pressure as the right back tackles Arnautovic, preventing the engimatic forward from getting a cross away.
Hull have a chance! It is, addmittedly, a half chance at best but it's a chance nonetheless. El Mohamady whipped the ball into the box and, after Wilson headed up into the area, Sagbo attempted to swivel on it and strike goalwards. He gets it all wrong though, indulging in a quite embarrassing air-kick, only succeeding in delighting the away support.
Hull pump a long ball forward but Sagbo can't make it stick, allowing Stoke to break once more. Rosenior does well to give the home side some respite as the substitute allows the ball to run out of play.
Hull enjoy a rare spell of possession in this latter period, playing it about on the edge of the area. That passage of play draws to a close, however, as Boyd is ruled offside.
The home support aren't best pleased as a Stoke throw is given, despite their clearly thinking it came off Arnautovic. Some good Hull pressure forces them to go back to Begovic but the goalkeeper clears it and the Potters come forward yet again.
A long ball from Wilson is put out for a throw by Davies and Stoke have another opportunity to push on into the Hull half. Meanwhile, Boyd replaces Graham as Bruce attempts to reinvigorate his Hull side.
Arnautovic delivers into the area and it's inches away from falling to a Stoke man once more. Hull manage to get the ball away, however, though the ball eventually comes back at them as the pressure from the Potters refuses to relent.
Shawcross pumps a ball long, aiming at Assaidi. Figueroa bundles over the winger and a free kick is given, gifting Stoke an opportunity to whip it into the box in a dangerous area,
Hull attempt to calm things down as they retain possession for a while in their own half. Their respite is shortlived, however, as Graham heads out for a throw. Stoke prepare to come forward again.
Bruce attemps to respond to the increasing Stoke dominance as Liam Rosenior replaces Meyler. Stoke also make a change as Palacios comes on for Whelan. Let's see if those switches can bring a goal as we approach the final ten minutes in this contest.
Stoke continue to threaten as Ireland chips another ball into the area for Crouch to go and attack. Hull manage to deal with it but they can only head out to Whelan on the edge of the area. He attempts to shoot but, quite embarrassingly, mishits his strike completely, barely reaching fifteen yards with his effort, never mind the goal.
Stoke hit the bar! Shawcross heads against the woodwork from the subsequent corner as the home side look up against the ropes here. McGregor was beaten all ends up there but Hull live to fight another day. Can they survive this final 15 minutes?
Crouch forces another excellent save from McGregor! Cameron is fouled by Figueroa but the referee plays the advantage, allowing Ireland to feed Crouch. The rangy striker finds the corner but McGregor is equal to it, tipping wide in some style.
Hull look bereft of any real ideas now as Stoke are definitely in the ascendancy. Sagbo attempts to hold the ball up but his attempts are in vain as, under some pressure, he runs the ball out for a throw.
Stoke are looking the stronger of the two teams now as they continue to push in the aftermath of that disallowed goal. Pieters chips a ball far post to Crouch but McGregor comes a long way and, despite almost spilling it, claims the ball on second attempt.
Disallowed goal! Stephen Ireland is denied the honour of breaking the deadlock as he is deemed offside! Arnautovic put in a lovely ball from the right, allowing Crouch to head at goal. McGregor made an excellent save but it fell to the advancing Ireland, who tucked away, only to see the offside flag up on the far side. Desperately disappointing for Stoke but probably the right decision.
A foul is given against Assaidi as the winger is deemed to have brought down Figueroa. Huddlestone takes it short but that gives Stoke an opportunity to win back possession and they do just that, looking to come forward once again.
Ireland tries his luck as the ensuing corner breaks to him on the edge of the area. It's not a bad effort but it's not troubling McGregor as the ball flies wide of the near post.
Arnautovic whips a ball into the box and, though it's cleared, Whelan dinks another cross back into the area. Crouch heads it up into the air and, though Assaidi looks set to meet it, Chester makes a timely intervention, putting it behind for a corner.
That contentious call will be Muniesa's last action of the half as he is replaced by fellow left-back Erik Pieters, presumably to counter El Mohamady's threat down the right wing. Hull also make a change as Bruce is replaced by Brady with Figueroa looking set to join the back three.
The game has definitely opened up in the past five minutes or so as Hull appeal vehemently for a handball against Marc Muniesa. Sagbo headed a Huddlestone delivery back into the box and it did hit the Stoke left back - whether or not it was intentional is another matter.
Livermore is the latest player to try his luck from distance but his effort flies wide of the goal. A decent effort but never troubling Begovic, though Hull do have a corner as the referee saw some kind of deflection.
With those two opportunities, the game appears to have sprung to life now as Hull come forward once more. El Mohamady gets away down the right wing but his cross is deflected behind by Wilson.
Stoke have a golden opportunity! From a Hull corner, the Potters hit their opposition on the counter and, courtesy of a slack Figueroa backpass, Arnautovic was gifted a two-on-one scenario with Assaidi beside him. Instead of shooting, he attempted to find his teammate with a cutback that, in the end, was cleared by the backtracking El Mohamady. He should have done better there - he was clearly caught in two minds.
Excellent save from Begovic to deny El Mohamady once more! Figueroa found the wing-back with a lovely ball as, with Muniesa ball-watching, the Egyptian was gifted a free header. It was a decent header goalwards but the Stoke keeper proved equal to it, tipping behind for a corner astutely.
Yellow Card Y. Sagbo
Sagbo is, quite strangely, booked for raising his foot as Begovic went to clear the ball. He can consider himself somewhat unlucky there - there's no way he would've been carded had the Stoke goalkeeper not slipped.
Hull can't make full use of the subsequent corner, however, as, after Huddlestone's set piece is cleared, Begovic claims the ensuing delivery with ease.
There's still very little to shout about in this game as it's Hull's turn to try and make something work up top. Graham wins his side a throw, playing off Wilson. Chester's throw is poor but Whelan, somewhat bemusingly, chooses not to take the ball down and clear but, instead, head the ball behind for a corner.
Stoke's best chance of the game! A corner is whipped in by Whelan and, though it shouldn't clear the first man, it somehow finds it way into the six yard box. Shawcross swings his right foot at it and, though he gets a touch on it, he can't quite divert the ball goalwards and it remains goalless.
Whelan almost pays for some casual defending but Livermore's first-time volley isn't caught quite right. The Stoke midfielder dallies too long in clearing the ball and Meyler's challenge falls to the former Spurs midfielder who couldn't quite capitalise.
Crouch does really well to retrieve a hopeful ball from Wilson, using his gangly frame to manipulate the ball out left to Assaidi. The move reaches its conclusion via the same rangy striker as a lofted cross is headed wide by the Englishman. A valiant effort but never troubling McGregor.
Ireland finds Assaidi down the left wing and, though the winger does well to keep it in, his touch is heavy and Bruce duly intervenes, smashing the ball against the winger and winning his team a throw.
Hull almost manage to get a shot away on goal after some nice interplay down the left, culminating in Figueroa cutting the ball back to the edge of the area. It eventually falls to Livermore but his shot is blocked by Shawcross and the chance goes begging.
Stoke revert to type as a long ball is flicked on by Crouch, giving Assaidi a chance to get forward down the right wing. His cross is cleared, allowing Whelan to have a pop from distance. Somewhat predictably, his effort flies well over the bar.
An aimless ball from Muniesa is hoofed out of play by Bruce in a similarly aimless fashion. A fairly uninspiring start to the second-half proceedings, in all honesty.
Both sides trade possession for a few minutes as passes aplenty go astray, with much of the game continuing to be played in the middle of the park.
The second half begins in much the same manner that the first half ended as the bittiness of the opening 45 looks as though it's set to continue in this period.
Stoke get second half proceedings underway as we await the first goal here at the KC - let's see if either side can find one!
The teams are just coming back out on the pitch now as we await the beginning of the second half; let's hope for more entertainment than we had in the first!
Stoke, meanwhile, will be fairly disappointed with their contribution to the first 45 minutes. Mark Hughes' men have yet to really threaten Hull's back three (or back five, depending on how you look at it) and, despite putting together some nice spells of possession towards the end of the half, have never looked set to penetrate their opposition's ranks. Hughes will be looking for more from his side in the second period as his old teammate's outfit are currently getting the better of his side.
Hull will be fairly pleased with that half. Although none of the chances were particularly clear-cut, they enjoyed all of them, affording Stoke very little in the way of attacking opportunities. Aside from looking stoic at the back, Sagbo has showed occasional signs of threatening up top. Still, they will be looking for more of a cutting edge in the second half as, in all honesty, their opponents look there for the taking.
45' + 1'
N'Zonzi goes down after an aerial clash with Meyler and that is the final action of the half as, with the Stoke midfielder clutching his jaw, the first 45 minutes draws to a close. Not a half for the history books as chances were few and far between - it's goalless at half-time.
Livermore does really well to break deep into the Stoke half before feeding Sagbo. The strike backheels back, presumably thinking that Livermore was just behind him, but ends up finding a Potters man.
Stoke's patient passing rears its head once more but it's put to an end when Muniesa can't find a man with an attempted flick. He then, attempting to redeem himself, fouls Huddlestone just inside the Potters half.
Sagbo has another half-chance! Graham flicks the ball on to his strike partner and, though he took it well, he snatched at the actual strike, putting his effort well over the bar.
Hull push forward as they look to create something before the half draws to a close. Wilson affords them a throw in deep in the Stoke half as he slices a ball out to touch.
Davies wastes possession with a quite woeful pass, attempting to find Figueroa but only succeeding in putting the ball out for a throw. The pass, quite understandably, incites the ire of Steve Bruce on the touchline.
Arnautovic goes down clutching his face, claiming that Meyler struck him with his hand. The referee doesn't deem it worthy of a foul though and the Stoke player soon gets back to his feet.
Almost a chance for Stoke! Ireland finds Arnautovic with an absolutely lovely through ball, leaving Davies in no-mans-land as the Irishman dinked it over his head. His teammate can't quite find Crouch in the middle, however, and the opportunity passes.
Assaidi is close to breaking behind the Hull ranks again but, as with earlier in the half, he's called offside. It was a lovely ball from Arnautovic to set him away but the winger couldn't quite bend his run enough.
Hull have another speculative effort on goal from distance, this time through Huddlestone, but the strike is skewed wide of the Stoke goal.
Still, despite their inability to conjure up opportunities, the Potters have enjoyed the better of the past ten minutes. They come forward again but Davies intercepts Crouch's attempted ball to Arnautovic, setting Hull away on the attack.
The Potters persist with their patient passing philosophy but, once it shows little signs of paying immediate dividends, they look long once again. Crouch wins it but can't find a man, gifting Hull possession once more.
The referee pulls up Chester for a foul on Assaidi on the left wing. Muniesa lofts it into the box but Crouch can't, for once, win the aerial duel and Hull have the ball.
Bruce attempts to come forward with the ball from the back and does well to beat a couple of men but, eventually, the centre back is crowded out and Stoke regain possession in the middle of the park.
The linesman flags for a foul, deeming El Mohamady to have pushed Muniesa, and eliciting cheers from the home support in the process, who clearly feel the winger should have been pulled up for a foul on the Stoke left-back earlier in the game.
Crouch wins a long kick from Begovic, prompting another nice spell of passing between the Stoke players. It's all very neat and tidy but it shows little sign of reaping any rewards as there's no real penetration in their passing.
Stoke, in a move emblematic of their attempted change in style under Mark Hughes, stroke the ball around at the back for some time. They do eventually go direct but it turns out to be unproductive as Crouch can't quite make the ball stick.
It's Ireland's turn to look for Assaidi this time but, as with N'Zonzi a minute before him, he can't quite find his man as Chester does well to intercept and clear any potential danger.
Assaidi, clearly eager to get in on the action, proves a little too eager as he is caught offside after appearing to break through down the left wing. To be fair to the winger, N'Zonzi could have played that one earlier.
Davies goes close! From a free kick deep on the right wing, Huddlestone whips a dangerous delivery into the area. The Hull centre back meets it exceptionally well but can't quite get enough on the header, flicking the ball wide of the far post.
Livermore's running poses a threat as El Mohamady wins an aerial battle to flick into the maruading midfielder's path. Wilson spots the danger though, clearing his lines for a throw.
Assaidi tries to replicate his heroics against Chelsea as he cuts inside from the right before shooting goalwards. This strike, however, leaves a lot to be desired as it flies out for a throw-in, much to the audible delight of the home support.
He does indeed have a pop but, in truth, it's a fairly dismal effort, striking tamely against the wall and running through to Begovic in the Stoke goal.
A high boot from Stephen Ireland gifts Hull a free kick on the edge of the Hull area. Figueroa looks as though he's winding up to have a pop here.
Sagbo goes so close! El Mohamady does excellent to shrug aside Muniesa down the right wing, before cutting back to the Hull striker. The forward shows clever feet to turn Shawcross and get a decent shot away but Begovic gets down astutely, tipping behind for a corner.
Graham has another sight of goal as Figueroa picks out the striker with a nice first-time pass. He takes too long to set himself, however, and the chance goes begging, Begovic eventually claiming the ball at the striker's feet.
Hull have enjoyed 60% of the possession in the opening period of this contest - testament to the impressive start they've made to this game. Although they've had just the one half-chance, the home side have looked the better of the two teams.
Hull re-assert themselves on the action after that (extremely brief) spell of Stoke pressure, putting together a nice move on the outskirts of the Potters area once more.
It's a fairly flat delivery and Bruce is there to meet it. He can only, however, head behind and Stoke have another corner. They can't capitalise on the subsequent set piece though, as Sagbo is there to prevent Cameron from getting a shot away.
Stoke finally manage to put a move together as N'Zonzi feeds Ireland on the right wing. The corner is blocked and put behind for a corner - Assaidi prepares to take it.
Sagbo is brought down by Whelan just inside the Stoke half. Hull choose to play it short and another spell of passing begins, brought to an end by a strong Shawcross challenge on the advancing Huddlestone.
Hull are beginning to work through the gears here; Stoke have yet to test McGregor in the Tigers goal and are struggling to assert themselves on this contest.
El Mohamady goes close! The corner comes out to the right wing-back and, after taking it down on his chest, the Egyptian decided to volley goalwards. His effort appears to be looping in but Begovic is equal to it, tipping over the bar adeptly.
Graham, perhaps riding high on the confidence afforded by his first goal in 30 games on Monday, takes a shot from distance. It's deflected behind by Wilson and Hull have a corner.
Hull, who have perhaps enjoyed the better of this opening ten minutes, get forward down the middle through Livermore. After a spell of passing on the periphery of the Stoke area, however, they can't quite find a way through and the attack fizzles out.
Assaidi is given the first chance to really stretch his legs down the left but El Mohamady does well to spot the danger and put it out for a throw.
The first shot of the game and it's a hopeful long-distance effort from Figueroa. The Hull left-back doesn't quite catch hold of it, however, and Begovic gets down to gather the ball with consummate ease.
A strong challenge from Bruce dispossesses Ireland, affording El Mohamady a chance to whip a ball into the box. He does just that but the delivery is cleared by Wilson.
It's a decent delivery but Shawcross climbs highest to head clear astutely. The ball is then played back into the area but Begovic comes and, despite being under pressure, claims with a fair amount of ease.
The first sight of goal for Hull here as Sagbo earns a free kick about 35 yards from goal. Huddlestone prepares to swing the ball into the box.
Stoke are, if you're being charitable, enjoying the better of the action but it's a much of a muchness out there at the moment. Bruce clears an N'Zonzi ball into the box and it's a Potters throw.
The slow start to the game continues as Chester intercepts Ireland's attempt to find Assaidi down the left wing. It's been a very bitty opening.
Both teams are trying to assert themselves on this contest as they're both struggling to put a string of passes together. Curtis Davies is the latest to slip up as he misplaces a pass, affording Stoke possession in the process.
Stoke get the upper hand early doors as they enjoy a spell of possession, albeit in a position that poses very little threat to their opposition. The spell comes to an end with a hopeful hoof from Ryan Shawcross.
And Hull City get us underway! The home side kick off proceedings as they look to build on that well-earned point at Swansea on Monday.
Both teams are in the tunnel now as we are minutes away from kick-off at the KC Stadium!
Mark Hughes, meanwhile, makes a couple of changes from the side that shocked Chelsea with a 3-2 victory last Saturday as Oussama Assaidi and Stephen Ireland come in for Jonathan Walters and Charlie Adam.
Steve Bruce retains faith in the same team that earned a hard-fought draw against Swansea on Monday, persisting with the 3-5-2 formation that paid dividends in that contest.
Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Muniesa; Arnautovic, N'Zonzi, Whelan, Ireland, Assaidi; Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Pieters, Pennant, Palacios, Jones, Adam, Wilkinson.
Hull: McGregor; Chester, Bruce, Davies, Figueroa, Elmohamady; Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore; Sagbo, Graham. Subs: Harper, Rosenior, Koren, Brady, McShane, Boyd, Faye.
And here come the team line-ups:
Stoke will also be eager for a win, albeit for non-ownership related issues, as an unenviable run of fixtures over the New Year period – the Potters face Newcastle, Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool in consecutive games - puts heightened importance on their next two matches against fellow strugglers Hull and Villa. With so much at stake for both sides, this could be a cracker!
Even putting aside their relegation concerns, Hull's urge to win will be driven by a desire to bury the negative coverage they've been receiving over their decision to become the Hull City Tigers. With the support still tangibly upset by the proposed change, Bruce will hope that three points can help abate their concerns over the club's direction, if only in the short-term.
Three points for Steve Bruce's side, meanwhile, would allow them to move four points clear of their relegation rivals. With both managers glancing worryingly downwards at the table, a win would do much to allay their relegation concerns as the new year rapidly approaches.
While by no means the most tantalising of fixtures on paper, this game could contain a level of excitement that belies the teams' reputation as two of the less entertaining sides in the league. With a solitary point separating the two sides in the table, it is all to play for as a win would allow Stoke to leapfrog Hull and go into 12th.
Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of today's Premier League clash between Hull and Stoke, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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