Hull City manager Phil Brown gave four new signings their debuts in the club's first-ever match in English football’s top-flight, a cracking contest against Fulham.
Anthony Gardner, Geovanni, George Boateng and Marlon King all started, with fellow summer signings Craig Fagan, Bernard Mendy and Peter Halmosi named on the substitutes’ bench, along with last season‘s play-off match-winner, the veteran Dean Windass.
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was without the club’s record £10.5million signing Andrew Johnson, who is nursing a thigh injury, so fellow new signing Bobby Zamora started as a lone striker. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, defender John Pantsil and midfielder Zoltan Gera all made their first League starts for the Cottagers after their summer moves.
There was a carnival atmosphere at the KC Stadium as Kingston-upon-Hull greeted a new chapter in the city’s sporting history. But Fulham won their last three away games in engineering their incredible great escape from relegation last season, and they threatened to ruin the party by taking the lead after eight minutes.
The Tigers‘ defence recklessly gave Fulham playmaker Jimmy Bullard all the time he needed to pick out Seol Ki-hyeon with a point-point cross, and the Korean headed the ball emphatically into the Hull net.
It was not what the home fans were hoping for, and the script nearly went further awry when Fulham’s new signing from West Ham, John Pantsil, volleyed over for Fulham from a corner as the visitors dominated the early stages but wasted some decent chances to extend their advantage.
However, the Tigers roared back into the contest with a superb goal on 23 minutes. And it was the Brazilian Geovanni, signed from Manchester City, who claimed the distinction of scoring Hull’s first Premier League goal with a flash of samba style. He picked up the ball a few yards inside the Fulham half, went on a driving run through midfield and found the back of the net with a stunning left-footer that left Schwarzer helpless. Hull were level, albeit against the run of play.
The home side’s Sam Ricketts collected the Premier League’s first yellow card of the season for pulling back Zoltan Gera, but the Tigers went close to taking the lead when he headed a great chance over the bar.
Then seven minutes later, Ian Ashbee slipped the ball through to Nicky Barmby, whose cross for Geovanni in front of goal was scuffed wide from six yards.
But on 81 minutes, the Tigers completed their comeback when Paul Konchesky made a crass error, being caught in possession by Caleb Folan who took full advantage by placing the ball in the corner of the net.
George Boateng then brought his experience to bear in midfield, calming things down, winning tackles and playing simple passes as Hull ran down the clock for the three points.
Hull: Myhill - Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson - Garcia (74 Fagan), Ashbee, Boateng, Barmby (62 Halmosi) - Geovanni, King (70 Folan). Subs: Duke, Windass, Mendy, Marney.
Fulham: Schwarzer - Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky - Davies, Murphy (85 Andreasen), Ki-hyeon (85 Nevland), Bullard, Gera - Zamora (81 Dempsey). Subs: Zuberbuhler, Teymourian, Stoor, Kallio.
Referee: Peter Walton