Premier League: Hull City ease past Everton with 2-0 win at the KC Stadium
By Pete Hall
Last Updated: 01/01/15 8:03pm
Hull City increased the pressure on Everton boss Roberto Martinez after a comfortable 2-0 win at the KC Stadium, with the Toffees finishing the match with 10 men.
Both teams started well, with plenty of endeavour shown by both sets of players. However, having conceded 31 goals already this campaign, the Toffees' lacklustre backline allowed the home side to put themselves in command before the break.
First, Ahmed Elmohamady ghosted in and beat a flat-flooted Leighton Baines to head his side in front. Then, as the men in blue stood and watched, former Everton hitman Nikica Jelavic had all the time in the world to loop the ball over the onrushing Joel Robles to double his side’s lead.
The introduction of Romelu Lukaku after the break gave the visitors more impetus, but once again poor defending was the Toffees’ undoing. Antolin Alcaraz was given his marching orders in the dying moments for a second bookable offence to make the afternoon even more painful for the travelling Toffees faithful.
The loss is Everton’s fourth defeat in a row – a run that sees Martinez’s men languishing down in 13th - while a welcome three points for the Tigers sees them rise to 16th.
The visitors almost unpicked Hull in a matter of seconds, with Seamus Coleman and Arouna Kone creating an overlap on the right, but once that danger was cleared the shift in tone was immediate.
Hull should have had a second-minute penalty when their first attack ended in Abel Hernandez being bundled over by Gareth Barry. Referee Kevin Friend instead awarded a free-kick just outside the box, only for replays to show the incident taking place several inches further forward.
The Toffees had chances to break the pattern of the game, not least when Ross Barkley finally imposed himself on proceedings with a barrelling 30-yard dash through midfield. He came to an abrupt stop as Curtis Davies blocked his path at the very edge of the area and when Friend waved play on, Barkley appeared incredulous.
Hull's dominance paid off in the 33rd minute, when Liam Rosenior, on for the injured Andy Robertson, arced a fine cross to the far post, where Elmohamady made surprisingly light work of Baines' challenge to nod into the bottom corner.
The goal only increased the visitors' defensive jitters, Hernandez and Jake Livermore both having chances before Jelavic made it 2-0 just before the break. With Everton pressing high, Hernandez hooked a bouncing ball over his shoulder and played Jelavic in. The Croatian was left one on one with Robles and held his nerve with a delicate lobbed finish before a modest celebration.
Martinez swapped Kevin Mirallas and Muhamed Besic for Lukaku and Bryan Oviedo at the break, but Everton almost conceded at a goalmouth scramble moments into the second half.
Rosenior suffered a nasty knee injury in the 55th minute and with the hosts temporarily down to 10, Barkley almost netted for the Toffees. With a deft turn and a couple of clever touches, he carved space in a crowded box, only to see his powerful shot bravely blocked by Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Lukaku added purpose to the away side's attacks but his best effort, a looping header across goal, landed on the roof of the net.
The day ended on another sour note for Martinez, who saw Alcaraz dismissed late on for a harsh second booking, but with champions Manchester City up next, the Spanish chieftain has it all to do to salvage anything from what has been a disappointing campaign.
Soccer Saturday verdict – Matt Le Tissier
“Hull certainly needed this and they thoroughly deserved it as well. They were the better team and the more threatening team. Everton looked very much out of sorts, but fair play to Hull who had to cope with a couple of injuries to Robertson, who was replaced by Rosenior who himself got injured. They had to cope with a few reshuffles, but did it very well and looked the most dangerous side.”
Hull City: McGregor (7), Robertson (6), Elmohamady (7), Chester (8), Davies (8), Bruce (7), Meyler (8), Livermore (7), Ramirez (6), Jelavic (7), Hernandez (8).
Subs: Rosenior (8), Brady (7), Maguire (7).
Everton: Joel (5), Coleman (6), Barry (4), Alcaraz (3), Jagielka (5), Baines (6), Besic (4), Barkley (6), Mirallas (4), Kone (5), Naismith (6).
Subs: Oviedo (5), Lukaku (6).
Man of the match: Abel Hernandez.