Keane Lewis-Potter scored the only goal of the game as Hull City climbed to the top of Sky Bet League One, defeating AFC Wimbledon in a close encounter at the KCOM Stadium.
Story of the match
Grant McCann made two changes for Hull City for their game with AFC Wimbledon, with Lewie Coyle and Hakeeb Adelakun replacing Josh Emmanuel respectively. For the visitors, Jack Rudoni replaced Ryan Longman up front from their weekend's defeat at home to Shrewsbury Town.
As the game kicked off, Adelakun looked to get forward at the first opportunity, but compact defending from the visitors resulted in the chance being lost. His pass to Coyle found George Honeyman, but with Adelakun coming back from an offside position, Hull wasted their opportunity. Coyle soon found himself on the deck after a clash of heads, and there was a lengthy delay while the medical team assessed him. Fortunately for the home side, he was deemed fit to continue.
Wimbledon made a foray into the Hull half just after the ten minute mark, but Luke O'Neill's overhit cross came to nothing. The away side were looking to be compact with their three center-backs and wing-backs, making it difficult for the Tigers to get into any real momentum in the early stages. This was typified by O'Neill going late into the back of Lewis-Potter, and soon after Alex Woodyard stopped him running down the wing cynically to earn the first yellow card of the game from referee Bobby Madley.
Good play from Adelakun and Honeyman on 18 minutes saw the first real opening for Josh Magennis to try his luck, but his header went well wide of Connal Trueman's goal. There was a let off for Hull City soon after with a chance from six yards for Jack Rudoni, but his skewed his shot horribly wide with the goal at his mercy.
Unfortunately for the home side, they lost Coyle to an injury before the half hour mark with Josh Emmanuel coming on to replace him. Honeyman wasted a chance that was created from some hesitant away defending soon after, but he picked the right option too late with Lewis-Potter in acres of space on the left. Magennis had a headed chance from a corner that was straight at Trueman. Hull City put the pressure on as the second half started to draw to a close, but they were nearly hit on the counter by a header with a header from Woodyard going close.
The home side went ahead in injury time in the first half. Honeyman's corner found Jacob Greaves in the area, but his chance was saved by Trueman. Lewis-Potter, however, showed his predatory instinct by scrambling the ball over the line to notch his third league goal of the season and fourth in all competitions.
The second half saw no changes for either side with Wimbledon looking to get back into a game they will have felt unlucky to be behind in. Joe Pigott's header less than five minutes into the second period failed to trouble Matt Ingram, however. Wimbledon had a chance from a free kick on 53 minutes after Honeyman's foul, but the set piece was overhit and went out harmlessly for a goal kick.
The away side made a couple of changes just before the hour mark, with Longman and Anthony Hartigan coming on for Rudoni and Jaakko Oksanen respectively. Shane McLoughlin's header just over soon after suggested Wimbledon were not out of the game by any stretch of the imagination.
Mallik Wilks entered the fray on 63 minutes for the Tigers replacing Adelakun, but it was a defender who had the best chance of the second half for the Tigers just after. Reece Burke couldn't direct his header goalwards from a corner. It was Wilks who started an attack from his own half minutes later though, finding Emmanuel who charged up the wing. Lewis-Potter's eventual effort was blocked, however.
Tom Eaves made his first appearance of the season at the KCOM with 18 minutes to go as he replaced Magennis, with the forward just returning to full fitness after an injury on the opening day of the season against Gillingham.
The ever-lively Honeyman was hacked down off the pitch by Daniel Csoka to earn the defender a caution, but Wimbledon very nearly went up the other end and scored following the Tigers' free kick. A combination of bodies blocked the effort, before Lewis-Potter and Eaves combined to fashion a chance for the home side immediately after that in a game that promised a frantic finish. However, City were happy to keep the ball in the corner in injury time and the home side held on for the win that sends them top of League One.
Takeaways from the match
Hull grind out the win
It wasn't pretty, but Grant McCann's side made it three wins in as many days with a battling performance that took a moment of predatory finishing from Keane Lewis-Potter to secure all three points. City struggled to break the rigid defense down as the visitors went 3-5-1-1, making life exceptionally difficult for the home side.
Wimbledon unlucky to come away empty handed
The away side were disciplined and very organized, and they will consider themselves unlucky to leave the game empty handed. A couple of headed chances in the first half that were not converted could have made the game very different. It wasn't to be, however, and a more cutting edge up front could see this well drilled side do very well this year.
George Honeyman was excellent again for the home side, always buzzing around and driving forward. Special praise must go, however, to the young center half in Jacob Greaves. The young man was assured throughout; showed off a spectacular passing range and threw himself at various Wimbledon efforts in the second half in particular. It would be oblivious to the casual onlooker that the young man was starting only his second league game for the Tigers, and he showed experience beyond his years.
The away side were impressive in their defending and organization throughout, with Shane McLoughlin in particular catching the eye on the right hand side. The ability to run with the ball and chase apparent lost causes was there for all to see, nearly catching Richie Smallwood out in the far corner to create a chance that nearly saw the visitors draw level mid-way through the second half.
Hull City: Ingram; Coyle, Burke, Greaves, Elder; Smallwood, Honeyman, Docherty; Adelakun, Lewis-Potter, Magennis.
Substitutions: Long, Wilks, Eaves, Emmanuel, Jones, Slater, Mayer.
AFC Wimbledon: Trueman; Csoka, Thomas, O'Neill; Seddon, Reilly, Oksanen, Woodyard, McLoughlin; Pigott, Rudoni.
Substitutions: Tzanev, Alexander, Hartigan, Roscrow, Guiness-Walker, Longman, Kalambayi.