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Hull hold off Wildcats
Visitors lose narrowly despite two late tries at KC Stadium
Hull FC narrowly defeated Wakefield 14-10 to deny former coach Richard Agar a triumphant return to the KC Stadium.
Tries from Kirk Yeaman and Will Sharp put the hosts well in front before the Wildcats showed their bite with late touchdowns by Ben Cockayne and substitute Kyle Wood, setting up a nervy finale.
But, in woeful weather conditions, a penalty and a conversion from second-rower Danny Tickle earlier in the game ultimately proved the difference to maintain Hull's unbeaten home record.
Agar left the Black and Whites at the end of last season following seven years at the club, more than three of those as head coach.
Back in familiar surroundings, he was trying to mastermind Wakefield's first win since beating Stobart Super League newcomers Widnes in the opening game of the 2012 season.
While torrential rain which soon turned to snow meant conditions were atrocious, both sides creditably kept errors to a minimum.
Hull in particular showed a desire to stay with the new expansive approach brought in by former Wests Tigers and Australia assistant coach Peter Gentle.
It was an approach that brought mixed rewards, but helped by a solid defensive display and a much-improved kicking game, Hull won the territorial battle and turned that into an eight-point advantage at half-time.
Richard Horne's kicking had already put Hull on the front foot and when the stand-off surprised the Wakefield defence with an inch-perfect kick to the corner, centre Yeaman the first to react to score his third try of the season.
A high tackle on Sam Moa, returning from a week's suspension after being punished himself for a reckless challenge, handed Tickle the chance to extend Hull's lead with a simple penalty.
With something of a comfortable cushion, Gentle's men finally started to play the conditions more and kept Wakefield frustrated with their percentage rugby.
The Wildcats were themselves trying to keep things simple but found life much harder having to start the majority of their sets deep in their own territory.
Chances were few and far between and Hull looked the most likely to score, duly doing so when Sharp took a good pass from Tony Martin.
Hull were now in control and heading for a first clean sheet in six years, but the Wildcats still had some bite left in them and staged a rousing comeback to almost snatch the points.
First former Hull KR favourite Cockayne took pleasure in spoiling the party with a late try after a mistake by new Hull full-back Wade McKinnon.
And with five minutes remaining, Wood scored after another scramble in front of the Hull posts. A nervy finish ensued, but the hosts were able to hang on for a win that with 10 minutes to go had never looked in doubt.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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