Karlan Grant was the hero for West Bromwich Albion as he scored a brace to take all three points back to the Midlands at the MKM Stadium. Hosts Hull City never really got going as Grant headed in on 16 minutes before slotting in a contentious penalty early in the second half.
Story of the match
After a moment's applause for ex-Striker Chris Chilton, the game to underway in windy conditions at the the MKM Stadium. Both sides gave the ball away a lot in the opening three minutes, but no real chances were carved out with Albion lining up 3-5-2 and City the same.
The rain started to come down extremely heavy on the ten minute mark and the conditions were difficult for both sides to deal with. The home side were trying to play a short passing game, but the three centre backs of Albion were not tested in the opening stages.
Albion would have been ahead if it wasn't for Matt Ingram's diving save on 11 minutes and the away side were starting to come into the game slightly. City struggled to clear their lines a couple of times as Darnell Furlong's long throws were causing problems. On 16 minutes, they went ahead. Karlan Grant headed in past Ingram and silenced the home crowd.
Excellent strength from Keane Lewis-Potter saw him body Semi Ajayi to the ground in his own half before trying to release Tyler Smith, winning a throw in up the other end. City needed something to spark their performance into life as Callum Robinson was penalized in the City area for obstruction, much to his consternation.
Smith did well to win a free kick after Kyle Bartley committed a foul against the front man, giving City a chance from a free kick. They won a corner after George Honeyman's dangerous delivery, and from the following corner good play from Greg Docherty and Lewis-Potter saw a dangerous cross that was only thwarted by the offside flag.
Albion's back three were certainly physical and the referee was at last starting to pull them up for blatant pushes, shoves and fouls. Lewis-Potter had a great chance after patient build up play from the young striker and Richie Smallwood but his effort went well over.
Good play from Smallwood on 36 minutes saw another Hull attack, but Docherty's pass for Regan Slater was slightly over-hit and Albion took possession of the ball once more. Lewis-Potter's effort soon after brought Sam Johnstone into action, tipping away to his left hand side. Lewis-Potter won a corner, but Albion defended it well again. Johnstone saved superbly well from Smith on 41 minutes but the flag was again raised for offside.
Honeyman's superb ball over the top just before half time ended up being put behind for a corner after Lewis-Potter and Smith both couldn't finish the chance and Albion went into the break a goal ahead with City finally starting to knock on the door.
The start of the second half saw Albion given a penalty in controversial circumstances. Jacob Greaves definitely fouled his man, but it was outside of the box. Grant scored the penalty to give Albion a two goal advantage.
City needed to get back into this one and now had nothing to lose. Greaves' header looped just over on 50 minutes and manager Shota Arveladze started to think about his options off the bench. The Tigers were seeing a lot of the ball, but were struggling to break down the stubborn Baggies backline. The referee wasn't helping Hull's cause either, ignoring a blatant foul on Lewis-Potter after he'd beaten his marker. Allahyer Sayyadmanesh and Tom Eaves readied themselves to enter the fray with half an hour left.
Jacob Greaves got himself forward and had a shot saved - and from the resulting corner Eaves had a chance but his header went well wide. Hull started putting the pressure on and Albion's gamesmanship started to creep in - Taylor Gardner-Hickman pretending to be injured was the pick of the bunch.
Smallwood's ball into Eaves created a chance, but it did not look like Albion would concede as they were essentially operating a back eight with only Robinson and Grant as outballs. City kept putting the pressure on, but Eaves blasted over with only five to go and although he did have the ball in the back of the net the referee blew yet again for a foul on Matt Clarke who seemed determined to go down at any given opportunity. Albion took the three points back to the Midlands.