Hull City are earning a reputation for their valiant defensive displays and such a work ethic was clear to see as they battled courageously to see off a Stoke City side who struggled to break down the Tigers' defensive lines.
Stoke ramp up the pressure only to be pegged back
The hosts dominated the contest with more possession and 21 shots to five, but Hull took advantage of their opportunities when chances arose as their deadline day signings staked a claim for a starting berth. Whilst the visitors used this midweek EFL Cup tie to bleed in new recruits, Mark Hughes called on a number of fringe players who performed well but just could not formulate a winning result.
Yet it was the visitors who went closest in the opening stages as two of those new faces combined after just five minutes. James Weir broke down the right from his full-back position and found Markus Henriksen who dragged his effort wide. However it did not take long for Stoke to find their stride as Wilfried Bony saw a shot deflected off target and Bruno Martins Indi had an effort turned away by David Marshall.
Hull had been given the warning signs but failed to deal with the threat as the hosts broke the deadlock on 23 minutes. Marko Arnautovic was afforded too much time and space as he fired an effort past Marshall. Stoke then continued to press as Glen Johnson, Giannelli Imbula and Arnautovic all saw efforts saved by the Hull debutant. Though the visitors were afforded a lifeline right on half-time as Ryan Mason latched onto a long ball and fired his new side level on his first start following a record deal for the Tigers.
Henriksen grabs a late winner
Stoke failed to find the same rhythm at the start of the second half, though there were sparing efforts from Bony and Arnautovic that drifted off target. Following a raft of substitutions, the hosts began to climb through the gears oncemore. Charlie Adam stung the palms of Marshall before he performed heroics to keep out Mame Biram Diouf. The striker was then thwarted again at close range following a scramble in the Hull penalty area.
Yet as was the case in the first half when Stoke were posing a threat, Hull managed to dig themselves out of trouble just when it really mattered. Weir saw a rare effort on target comfortably saved by loanee Lee Grant, before the visitors managed to poach a goal as the clock ticked into injury time. Weir was at the heart of the action again as his cross found Will Keane, who in turned cushioned the ball for Henriksen to fire his new side into the next round. There they will face Bristol City away from home.