Hull City 0-2 Stoke City: Potters ease to victory over tame Tigers
HULL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: A dejected Tom Eaves of Hull City after conceding the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Stoke City at MKM Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Hull, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Stoke City gave Grant McCann's Hull City side a harsh lesson at the MKM Stadium with a comprehensive 0-2 victory at the MKM Stadium. A goal in each half from Jacob Brown and ex-Tiger Tom Ince gave them the win, and in truth it could have been far worse for the home side if it wasn't for goalkeeper Nathan Baxter and the young Tigers backline.

  • Story of the match

Both teams started positively, with plenty of opportunities for the wingbacks to try get forward. Nathan Baxter had to come to Hull City's rescue on four minutes after D'Margio Wright-Phillips was put through, before then blocking Jacob Brown's effort and scrambling the ball to safety.

Hull's best chance came on eight minutes. Tom Huddlestone's ball in behind found Tyler Smith, who had his shot blocked. From the rebound George Honeyman crossed but Greg Docherty's effort was scuffed wide. Hull had Baxter to thank again as Stoke nearly took advantage of hesitant defending, but Tom Ince's shot from the resulting corner alleviated any pressure Grant McCann's side may have been feeling.

Ryan Longman's cross on 11 minutes found Tom Eaves, but his header was deflected wide for a corner. The home side couldn't take advantage of the set piece. Jacob Greaves put in a huge tackle on Wright-Phillips with the young forward through on goal without the Hull native's intervention.

Docherty became the first player to go into the book after he brought down Wright-Phillips, and then Keane Lewis-Potter showed great skill to win a corner on 18 minutes. Eaves was penalised from the resulting set piece however, and the scores remained goalless.

That was, however, until Hull were counter attacked and Jacob Brown headed the away side in front on 23 minutes. Sam Clucas's cross was inch perfect for the forward to bury the ball past Nathan Baxter.

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Wright Phillips was key to Stoke's play and it was clear that Hull needed to get a hold of him and stop the attacks that he was integral to.

Stoke were in again just before the half hour mark and Sean McLoughlin had to slide in to block Josh Tymon's cross as the away side threatened again. Baxter's finger tip stop forced yet another corner as it looked only a matter of time until Stoke added to their tally.

Up the other end, good build up play from the Tigers saw Eaves's effort saved by Stoke keeper Jack Bonham. City won a corner on 36 minutes, but the score remained 0-1 with no other major attempt at goal as the whistle went for the end of the first period.

Half time: Hull City 0-1 Stoke City

Stoke started the half on the front foot, twice being denied by last ditch tackles. George Moncur came on for Docherty at half time for the home side but the Tigers were struggling to get a hold of the ball with Stoke piling on the pressure. It told when the home side gave away possession minutes into the second half and ex-Tiger Tom Ince scored from outside the area to make it 0-2.

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A good save from Baxter prevented Wright-Phillips from making it three, and then Ryan Longman had a penalty claim waved away. A great interception by McLoughlin prevented another Stoke breakaway, and Richie Smallwood replaced Tom Huddlestone in midfield. Tyler Smith made way for Randell Williams also as McCann tried to change it up. 

Ryan Longman should have shot instead of trying to square the ball after Williams' cross found him at the back post, with the home fans in the MKM Stadium starting to show their frustration. Richie Smallwood did well to win a corner soon after, but the chance came to nothing again. The ball just didn't fall for Eaves or Lewis-Potter as time started to run out for the home side. 

The home substitutions did spark the Tigers into a bit of life, but Stoke were looking increasingly comfortable at the back and dangerous when they countered. Baxter saved well from Lewis Baker with only 15 minutes to go but Stoke were breaking up play well and staying on the deck when Hull got a little bit of momentum. Alfie Doherty deservedly went into the book for a high foot on Honeyman with less than ten minutes remaining.

As it was, Hull couldn't get through the Stoke defense and this will feel like a reality check after such a good run of form over the past couple of months.

  • Stand-out players

Stoke played exceptionally well, but were not made to work very hard for their win. D'Margio Wright-Phillips was excellent, as was the influential Sam Clucas against his former club. Hull City looked a shadow of the side that ran Everton so close in the FA Cup last week, suggesting that maybe the off-field speculation about the supposed takeover is starting to take its toll on the squad.

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