Hull City continued their run of five pre-season games without a defeat, but conceded their first goals of the summer as Barnsley held them to a 2-2 draw at Oakwell.
Hull unable to hold on to their early advantage
An even first half saw the sides go in level at the break. Barnsley created shots on goal through Sam Winnall and Marley Watkins, whilst Peter Odemwingie had a shot saved as he continued his trial. Hull were first to break to deadlock as Adama Diomande flicked a Shaun Maloney past Nick Townsend. However, Tom Bradshaw levelled the scores on the half hour mark to bring 391 pre-season minutes without conceding to an end for the Tigers. Odemwingie and Greg Luer had chances for the visitors before the break, though the teams went in at 1-1.
It took the hosts just eight minutes to take the lead, when Bradshaw doubled his tally from another cross. Substitute Abel Hernandez almost equalised immediately, only to be thwarted by Townsend. Watkins forced a stop from Dusan Kuciak and Elliot Lee fired just over as Barnsley refused to sit on their lead. Hull should have equalised through Odemwingie but he somehow could not make contact with an Ahmed Elmohamady cross. David Meyler made his first appearance of pre-season after Euro 2016 but it was to be youngster Jarrod Bowen who turned out to be the hero oncemore in pre-season. Odemwingie was dispossesed inside the penalty area, only for Bowen to latch onto the loose ball and rescue a draw five minutes before the end.
"The players were shocked"
The result comes after a torrid week for the Tigers following a beginning to pre-season that saw them lose four first team players to long-term injuries. After a rollercoaster two months, Steve Bruce called time on his reign at Hull, penning a letter to the fans claiming he "desperately wanted to make it work but left Hull for the sake of the club", following a reported fall out with the owners.
Bruce is now believed to be considering calling time on a coaching career that has seen him take charge of nearly 1,000 games over 19 years. His successor is yet to be announced, although former Everton manager Roberto Martinez, caretaker boss Mike Phelan and current Birmingham City leader Gary Rowett expected to be in the frame.
Midfielder Mo Diame admitted that the "players were shocked but need to focus on being ready for the new season". He also explained that Bruce "was like a father figure to them". The departure of Bruce has also caused the potential transfers of Hal Robson-Kanu, Chris Gunter and Peter Odemwingie to be placed on hold, with the former suggesting "Steve Bruce played a big part in his decision to consider Hull City".
Hull have announced some good news this week though, with the signing of a three year sponsorship deal with Kenyan betting company Sportpesa. The deal is designed to raise the profile of football within the African nation, with the hope of Kenya qualifying for a World Cup in the next decade.