Hull City have already performed beyond expectations this season and they were within minutes of securing what would have been an excellent point against title chasing Manchester United.
Hull nullify attaching United talents
Still with only 14 senior professional players available, Mike Phelan had little choice but to play the same line-up and pursue a similar tactic that had seen his team win their opening two games. Jake Livermore continued alongside captain Curtis Davies in central defence, with Sam Clucas shadowing the pair just behind David Meyler and Tom Huddlestone. Adama Diomande, Robert Snodgrass and later Shaun Maloney provided the width and the prospect of joining lone striker Abel Hernandez up front.
Yet forward phases of play were few and far between for the Tigers as United gradually took a stronger grip of the game. Marouane Fellaini sat deep to allow full-backs Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw to push forward. Much of the play went through Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney who continually looked wide, particularly on the left side, to provide crosses for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to attack.
Though Hull were organised and managed to buffer all of the visitors' attacks for 92 minutes. Supported by Livermore, Davies was immense as he continually prevented Ibrahimovic from finding space and put his body on the line to block the ball. He made a staggering 15 clearances during the game.
Hull not only defended deeply but also narrowly. Pogba had no choice but to look wide, with the Tigers happy to allow them space on the flanks with a crowded area of amber and black shirts. The United frustration continued to grow, as became clear when Pogba began to look to shoot from range himself.
Rashford offered something different
Yet Manchester United have an extremely strong substitutes bench this season, evident by the fact that this was to be boy wonder Marcus Rashford's first minutes of the season. The England international came on late in the game but immediately offered a new outlet. His pace was electrifying and ability to play up front and out wide allowed the rest of the United team to be more flexible and alternate their approach.
It was that change that eventually created the goal. Rooney found himself out wide and provided the telling pass for Rashford's winner. A Hull defence that had defended admirably for almost the whole game switched off momentarily and learned that such mistakes will cost you in the top flight. That loss of concentration is likely to be down to fatigue with a lack of substitutes available. Ahmed Elmohamady was beaten easily by Rooney, Livermore stuck out a lazy leg after an excellent match and Davies lost a yard on his man for the first time in the entire game.
It was a heartbreaking result for the hosts and their resolve will be tested when they look to respond to their first defeat of the season