Hull City ended their four match losing streak with a very good point at home to AFC Bournemouth at the MKM Stadium. Matt Ingram produced two excellent stops to keep the away side at bay, and Greg Docherty rattled the crossbar in an entertaining goalless draw.
Story of the match
Hull City almost went ahead in the opening two minutes after good work from Tom Huddlestone, but Keane Lewis-Potter was adjudged to be offside. As it happened, the ball looped over the bar after a deflection and play restarted quickly.
Hull were looking to get forward through Huddlestone's wide passes to the flanks and Lewie Coyle's cross just evaded Lewis-Potter on five minutes. Bournemouth were trying to find joy out on the left wing, but as ten minutes approached the Tigers' defense kept them at bay.
On 12 minutes, Lewis-Potter cleverly won a free kick on the edge of the area after a good ball in behind from Jacob Greaves. The City number 11 took it himself, but just curled his effort wide of the upright. On 17 minutes, a misplaced pass from Ryan Longman gifted Bournemouth a corner, and Matt Ingram produced a great point blank save from Dominic Solanke.
Both sides huffed and puffed, but as the 25 minute mark approached, there was no real chance for either side to break the deadlock - that was until Solanke shrugged off Greaves and forced Ingram into another decent save just after the half hour mark.
With half time approaching, another Bournemouth chance came from a corner on the right side, but Emiliano Marcondes' low ball was cleared by Huddlestone. At the other end, Callum Elder's cross was no trouble for Orjan Nyland after driving run forward from Greg Docherty. Elder then drove forward for Docherty to cross, and Tyler Smith was just beaten to the ball by the Jordan Zemura in a goal-saving challenge.
Just before half-time, a lovely backheel turn and run saw Jack Stacey pull the winger down and give the home side a free kick in a good position. It was cleared, but only for a corner - which the away side also put out of danger. The whistle went for half time with the score goalless.
Bournemouth started the second half brightly and put the pressure on the Tigers from the whistle. David Brooks' ball into the area flashed across the goal on 51 minutes, but Hull cleared. Two minutes later, Coyle's cross was met by Docherty - but his header cannoned back off the crossbar.
After two excellent saves in the first half, Ingram almost gifted the away side a goal with a poor pass but recovered well to save from Solanke.
The Tigers brought on Randell Williams for Longman just before the hour mark, but Bournemouth started to control possession after that and the home side were forced to defend a bit deeper. Marcondes should have opened the scoring on 67 minutes but blasted his effort over the bar.
Solanke's drive from distance deflected behind for a corner on 74 minutes, but Hull defended well as the final stages of the game approached. There was a superb moment for young Joshua Hinds, making his first team debut for the Tigers as he came on to replace Tyler Smith with ten minutes to go.
A driving run forward from Docherty was partially cleared on 85 minutes, but Jefferson Lerma was incredibly fortunate to win a free kick after he simply lost his footing in front of the Scot, much to the consternation of the home support and Head Coach Grant McCann.
City started to go for it in the closing stages and Randell Williams' shot just curled wide after good work from Hinds and Lewis Potter. Hull pressed and pressed, but couldn't make the most of the free kicks they won in dangerous positions.
Hull could have won it with the last kick of the game as Huddlestone's delivery just evaded Lewis-Potter, but both managers will be respectful of the point in a game that was end to end at times.
Takeaways from the match
Four consecutive defeats in the league have seen City take some criticism recently, but this performance was certainly better. Tyler Smith was lively up front, and Tom Huddlestone provided some excellent passing from midfield. With better finishing, City could have won it - and there wouldn't be many who would say they didn't deserve to take the three points against a side that will certainly be aiming for automatic promotion come the end of the season.
Cherries foiled by Ingram
It was Matt Ingram who City had to thank for keeping the score 0-0, and Dominic Solanke in particular will be wondering how the Hull keeper saved his header early in the first half. Ingram almost became the villain in the second half - passing the ball straight to Solanke - but managed to recover well to make up for his mistake.
Greg Docherty and Tom Huddlestone impressed throughout, as well as Di’Shon Bernard for the hosts. Dominic Solanke looked lively, as well as Jordan Zemura. Both sides will respect the point as something to build on going into the International break.