Ryan Longman scored his first goal for Hull City as they edged out Millwall 2-1 in a closely contested game at the MKM Stadium. George Honeyman put City ahead in the first half before Tom Bradshaw levelled just before half time. Longman pounced early in the second half to ensure of the win and continue the Tigers’ revival.
Story of the match
With strong winds swirling around the MKM, it was clear from the off the conditions would make for a tough encounter. Mallik Wilks had a shot from George Honeyman's corner after just a minute, but it went well wide of Bart Bialkowki's post.
Di'Shon Bernard's misplaced pass on four minutes forced Richie Smallwood to bring down his man on the edge of the area, but Jed Wallace's free kick went straight into the wall and the chance was gone. Good play on nine minutes saw Sheyi Ojo, Wallace and Benik Afobe combine, but the latter's header looped over the bar.
City had a good play of their own with Smallwood, Keane Lewis-Potter and Josh Magennis all driving forward - but the Millwall defense stood firm. Ryan Longman's cross on 14 minutes was put into a superb area, but no City player could get on the end of it. Wilks almost poked the ball through to Magennis soon after, but there was just a little too much on the pass.
Richie Smallwood's last ditch challenge stopped a certain goal from Ojo on 18 minutes, and Magennis cleared the ball off the line following a scramble after the corner that Wallace whipped in. Nathan Baxter and Sean McLoughlin put their side under unneccessary pressure after 20 minutes, but the away team couldn't take advantage of the gift of possession.
Neither team really threatened after that, and Greg Docherty's hit and hope effort on 27 minutes was the closest either side came to a shot a goal. That was until a minute later, when the referee allowed advantage after Docherty was fouled. A cross from Jacob Greaves was headed goalwards by Magennis only for George Honeyman to get the finishing touch to put the Tigers ahead. It was a well worked goal and awoke the MKM faithful from their slumber.
City tried to carve out openings going forward, and when Lewis-Potter gave the ball away and Millwall countered, they looked to be in - until the youngster made up for his error by tracking back and clearing the ball on 32 minutes. Bernard had the home crowd on their feet on 36 minutes when he slid in on Wallace, and the Tigers were almost in after Docherty won the ball back superbly from a high press in Millwall's half - but the ball just wouldn't sit up for a City player. Smallwood was booked for a lunge as half time approached.
Magennis held off his man superbly a minute later, but his shot got a deflection and went behind for a corner. The ball ended up coming out to Smallwood, but he should have let Docherty shoot as his effort went high and wide. Against the run of play, City conceded after Ojo's ball in behind was missed by all in a black and amber shirt, and Tom Bradshaw took full advantage sliding the ball past Baxter to level things up. Wilks had the chance to put City ahead 30 seconds later, but wasted the chance - before the referee brought an end to the first half.
Neither side made any changes at half time, and it was the home side who almost went ahead early on in the second half. Magennis crossed for Lewis-Potter but the Millwall defense managed to block the chance and the resulting corner came to nothing. Bradshaw's header up the other end on 51 minutes brought a smart save out of Baxter.
City went back ahead on 53 minutes. Millwall failed to clear a corner despite given two opportunities to do so, and in the end Magennis brought a good save out of Bialkowski, but the Lions keeper could only palm it out to Ryan Longman who tapped in from close range.
Millwall went close to equalising again when Afobe headed goalwards, but Greaves cleared off the line. Callum Elder replaced the ineffective Wilks, with Lewis-Potter switching to striker and Elder going left wing back. Baxter had to be at full stretch to tip the ball away from Bradshaw as Millwall put on the pressure on the hour mark. Baxter then saved well from Danny McNamara before Elder cleared the ball off the line once again.
Hull thought they should have had a free kick for Billy Mitchell's challenge on Honeyman, but the referee waved play on - and soon after, Lewis-Potter's cross just evaded Longman at the far post. Both McLoughlin and Elder slid in with perfectly timed challenges with 72 minutes on the clock as Hull chased a fourth consecutive win. Afobe fired over from the edge of the area for Millwall and should have done better on reflection.
Tom Eaves and Randell Williams entered the fray for the home side on 78 minutes as Grant McCann looked to hold onto his side's slender lead. Eaves tangled with Afobe on 88 minutes as tempers flared up, with both receiving a booking for their troubles.
Hull held on to their lead with some heroic defending to record their fourth win in a row - a remarkable turn around for McCann’s side but one that will be most welcome in East Yorkshire.
Takeaways from the match
Hull show grit and determination to hold on
The game started slow but the Tigers grew into it, and it must be said that McCann deserves credit for finding a formation that suits his side despite the injury worries they currently have. They conceded against the run of play but scored early in the second half and were well worth their win.
Millwall kept at bay by terrific Tigers
Gary Rowett’s men did try everything to try get back in the game, but found that to a man Hull City defended as if their lives depended on it. Hull cleared a number of calls off the line and it just wasn’t the Lions’ day in the end.
George Honeyman was the pick of an excellent bunch for Hull City. He has made a massive difference for them in midfield and it is no coincidence that their form has started to pick up now he is back in the middle.