New Hull City Head Coach Shota Arveladze got off to a dream start as his Tigers side proved too much for Swansea City at the MKM Stadium. Goals from Tom Eaves and Keane Lewis-Potter were enough to give the Tigers a 2-0 win, but it could have been a whole lot more for the home side.
Story of the match
With strong winds swirling around the MKM Stadium, Swansea got the game underway after new manager Shota Arveladze was introduced to the home crowd. They were off to an absolute dream start as passing in deep midfield saw Keane Lewis-Potter release Brandon Fleming down the left wing. His first time cross was perfectly placed for Tom Eaves to hold off the attention of the Swansea defense and slide the ball past Ben Hamer to make it 1-0.
City were nearly in again when Eaves' high press saw Hamer lose the ball on the edge of his area but Greg Docherty's pass couldn't release Lewis-Potter and the chance was gone. Eaves then tried to cross to Lewis-Potter on 12 minutes and forced a corner, and Di'Shon Bernard's header hit the post but the whistle had already gone for an infringement.
Bernard, though, was involved in the next move that saw City go two up. His run and ball through found George Honeyman who crossed deep for Lewis-Potter to tap in at the back post, sending the home crowd into raptures.
Honeyman's ball over the top on 25 minutes almost saw Eaves in, but good defending from Kyle Naughton snuffed out any hope City had of getting on the scoresheet for a third time. Good work from Fleming saw him win a free kick and put an excellent ball into the area, but it evaded the head of Eaves and Swansea cleared their lines. Hannes Wolf then had a headed chance that called Nathan Baxter into duty for the first time, with the keeper saving well down to his left.
Great work from Fleming and Lewis-Potter saw a ball into the box for Eaves to head in, but the referee blew for a foul against the Tigers forward - a little harshly, it has to be said. Swansea then had a chance up the other end but the shot was way wide and just minutes later the whistle blew for half time with the Tigers well worth their two goal lead.
Swansea made two changes at the break, with Michael Obafemi and Olivier Ntcham replacing Jay Fulton and Hannes Wolf respectively. Eaves tried a speculative effort two minutes into the half, but it didn't trouble Hamer - before Hull had a let off when a cross from deep almost found Obafemi at the back post.
Hull felt they should have had a penalty not long after when Lewis-Potter's cross was blocked by Ben Cabango, but nothing was given - before the same defender was finally pulled up for a foul on Eaves on the edge of the box. Fleming's cross from the recycled free kick almost found Jacob Greaves but the young centre half took his eyes off the ball. Richie Smallwood had a chance from the edge of the area after great play from Ryan Longman and Honeyman, but blazed the ball into the South stand.
Swansea hit the post just before the hour mark as the away side started to come into the game more, which was a let off for the Tigers. The score remained at 2-0, but Swansea were sensing they could get back into the game and make it difficult for the young Tigers side.
Lewis-Potter showed great pace down the left hand side to get past Matt Grimes, and the home crowd felt the youngster was fouled as he crossed the ball - but a goal kick was given. Obafemi almost got on the end of another cross moments later, but couldn't reach enough and the ball went out for a goal kick.
On 70 minutes, great play from Docherty and Eaves almost saw the ball deflect into the net for a Swansea own goal until Cabango cleared off the line, with the home side happy to play on the break. Lewis-Potter should have done better with his chance from the edge of the area soon after.
Swansea were contentiously given a free kick on the edge of the area on 72 minutes, and the home side had another let off as Liam Walsh's effort struck the post before Joel Piroe somehow managed to put the ball wide of Baxter's goal from the follow-up. Cabango was then allowed the freedom of the MKM to run with the ball and shoot before Baxter saved well.
Honeyman was then flattened by Ryan Manning with the City faithful baying for a red card, but the referee decided a yellow was enough punishment. Regan Slater then replaced the excellent Brandon Fleming, who was making his first start of the season. Soon after he powered forward with the ball from his own half, only to be tripped by Walsh - earning the Swansea player a yellow card. Eaves was then caught offside from the resulting free kick and Swansea looked to build again to get back in the game.
Ntcham's effort from the edge of the area deflected wide for a corner, but Hull cleared their lines well. Honeyman was replaced by Callum Jones with a minute to go after great work from the Hull City number ten. Eaves was brilliantly put in by Docherty, but the forward couldn't return the pass and the chance was gone in added time.
The less said about Swansea the better - although they did improve second half - but there were many excellent performers in the Black and Amber of Hull City. Eaves, Lewis-Potter and Honeyman all stood out - but Brandon Fleming deserved the man of the match as he was superb throughout. He was making his first start of the season after a torrid time with injury and hearing the crowd sing "Brandon Fleming, he's one of our own" must have made him feel incredibly proud.