Hull 3-2 Brentford: Hosts battle back from a goal down to beat Dean Smith's men
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 09/12/17 8:36pm
Nigel Adkins enjoyed a winning start to life at the KCOM Stadium as Hull showed impressive resilience to see off in-form Brentford in a thrilling 3-2 victory.
Adkins replaced Leonid Slutsky as Tigers boss on Thursday and his first task was to halt a seven-game winless run that had seen Hull drop to within three points of the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone.
His new side had to do it the hard way after David Meyler put through his own goal to gift Brentford the opener and Jon Egan set up a frantic finale which included eight minutes of stoppage time.
But goals from Kamil Grosicki, Seb Larsson and Jackson Irvine during a period of Hull dominance were enough to inflict only a second defeat in 14 games on Brentford. There was no sign of the drama to come in a dour first half of few opportunities.
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After shipping 11 goals in their previous four home games, Hull would have welcomed the cagey start that yielded only Ryan Woods' speculative 25-yard shot that trickled harmlessly wide.
Allan McGregor had to be alert to reach a through ball ahead of Neal Maupay but neither goal was truly threatened in an uninspiring opening half an hour. Maupay sent a half-volley well wide after neat interplay with Sergi Canos, who continued to be jeered by the Hull fans after perceived playacting early in the game.
Hull were doing a good job of frustrating Brentford and they twice came close to breaking the deadlock in the final few minutes of the half. Fraizer Campbell's shot on the turn was turned over by Daniel Bentley before the Bees goalkeeper pulled off an even sharper save to keep out Michael Dawson's header low down to his right.
McGregor kept out Canos' long-range strike with his legs but there was nothing the Hull stopper could do to prevent Meyler from turning home Ollie Watkins' low cross from the right two minutes after the restart.
The goal came from Max Clark's mistake in midfield but the home side rallied and were level seven minutes later as Grosicki took a clearance in his stride before smashing a 20-yard drive into the far corner.
Hull visibly lifted after the equaliser and, after Campbell saw an effort well saved by Bentley, took the lead 20 minutes from time through Larsson's stunning free-kick.
Campbell rattled the bar from close range with Brentford on the rack and they eventually caved in the 75th minute as Irvine drove forward from midfield and sent a shot beyond Bentley.
There appeared to be no way back for the visitors but they had a lifeline three minutes from the end when Egan nodded in Watkins' cross from close range after McGregor had turned away Florian Jozefzoon's free-kick.
Hull were defending for their lives all of a sudden and it took a fine low save from McGregor to keep the three points safe as Watkins threatened to ruin Adkins' big day.
Nigel Adkins: "The players were top drawer. Obviously the results haven't been going as well as we would have liked but the players have done excellent today. They showed some great character and team spirit which is what you need first and foremost.
"It was a test of character going 1-0 down after the run of results we've had. The players deserve great credit. It's a great start. I think we've got a lot of quality at the football club and today we've moved one step forward in the right direction."
Dean Smith: "For 49 minutes it wasn't very difficult at all, until the lad (Grosicki) scores a wonder goal and it became a game changer.
"It got the supporters back on their side and for whatever reason we just kept giving the ball away cheaply. I'm very angry about the way we did that. We felt this was an opportunity for us to come and get three points, and I felt like it was going to be.
"I was stood on the side quite comfortable for 49, 50 minutes then we pressed the self-destruct button."