Premier League: Hull City move out of relegation zone after 1-1 draw at Everton
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 03/12/14 11:45pm
Hull City moved out the Premier League relegation zone after battling back from a goal down to secure a valuable 1-1 draw at Everton.
The visitors started brightly on Merseyside but it was Everton who grew into the opening half, taking the lead in the 34th minute through Romelu Lukaku’s sixth league goal of the season.
But the Tigers, who were staring down the barrel of a fifth straight defeat in the league, showed plenty of fighting spirit and hit back just after the break through Sone Aluko’s brilliant solo effort to earn a point.
Steve Bruce reacted to his side’s 3-0 defeat against Manchester United last weekend by making four changes to his starting line-up with Liam Rosenior, Tom Huddlestone, Stephen Quinn and David Meyler all coming in and the move had the desired effect with the visitors enjoying the best of the opening stages.
Much to the frustration of the Goodison faithful, Roberto Martinez’s side were slow out of the traps and it took until the 14th minute for Everton to muster any chance of note as Lukaku turned sharply but fired straight at Allan McGregor.
Midway through the first half the home side started to dominate possession and smart interplay between the impressive Ross Barkley and Gareth Barry should have served as a warning to the visitors.
The England pair exchanged passes on the edge of the Hull box with the ball eventually finding its way to Lukaku, but his shot was well blocked by Rosenior.
The Belgium international was not to be denied for much longer, though, and he finally broke the deadlock after brilliant work from Kevin Mirallas down the Everton left 11 minutes before half-time.
After a fine run he laid the chance on a plate for his fellow countryman to power home from six yards.
Hull’s early work was undone and they looked to respond through an Ahmed Elmohamady cross but former Everton man Nikica Jelavic could not direct his header on goal.
After the break it was Bruce’s men who once again looked the more likely with Mohamed Diame creating space inside the Everton box, however the former West Ham man’s shot was easily blocked.
Everton again went forward through Lukaku, who this time turned provider, but Mirallas’ extravagant chip landed on the roof of the net.
Hull were eventually rewarded when Aluko, who was a 53rd-minute replacement for the injured Diame, ghosted past Sylvain Distin before beating Tim Howard at his near post to hand his side a deserved equaliser.
It could have got even better for Bruce’s side minutes later with Aluko again involved, but once again Jelavic guided his header just wide of the post.
Martinez reacted by throwing on Steven Pienaar and Aiden McGeady for Mirallas and Muhamed Besic but Everton just could not find a way through Hull’s resolute defence.
Chances were few and far between for both sides in the closing stages, but Everton had one final chance to steal all three points when they won a corner deep into injury-time.
However, Barkley’s corner was a poor one and Hull, who have not won on their travels since August, held on for a point to move up to 17th in the table. Everton remain in 11th.
Iain Dowie’s verdict
“Hull started brightly, but Everton got going with a brilliant piece of play. When Lukaku bulleted it into the net you thought it was going to be all Everton, but in the second half, Everton didn’t come out. For Hull’s goal Tim Howard, who went down too early for Soldado’s goal at the weekend, was three yards outside his post and it was poor. I think Everton don’t know whether to play early to Lukaku to get the best out of him or continue the lovely passing game. It’s a bit of a dichotomy at the moment.”
Everton: Howard (6), Coleman (5), Jagielka (6), Distan (5), Baines (6), Besic (6), Barry (6), Barkley (6), Osman (6), Lukaku (6), Mirallas (7).
Subs used: McGeady (5), Pienaar (5)
Hull City: McGregor (6), Elmohamady (7), Rosenior (6), Chester (7), Dawson (5), Livermore (6), Huddlestone (6), Meyler (6), Diame (6), Quinn (7), Jelavic (7)
Subs used: Aluko (7), Robertson (6), Brady (5).
Man of the match: James Chester