If ever you wanted to see two contrasting performances in one football match, you need not look any further than the KCOM stadium on Saturday afternoon. Hull City were quite simply terrible as they let West Brom dominate proceedings in the first half.
A goal behind and without a shot on or off target after a terrible run of form, Mike Phelan may well have been fearing for his career. Yet whatever the Hull manager did or said at half-time the tactic paid dividends. It was role reversal between the sides as the Tigers hit back, earning a point and possibly saving their leader for at least another week.
The Baggies take control
West Brom may not have produced a shot of note in the opening 15 minutes, but 82% possession for a side that had the least amount of the ball in the Premier League thus far would have been creating headaches for the lowly KCOM capacity. Hull lacked creativity and ideas and when Jake Livermore continued the trend of the hosts giving the ball away, Salomon Rondon fed James Morrison who drove an effort just inches wide.
The visitors continued to pass the ball around as if they topped the Premier League charts in that area and eventually were rewarded. The in-form Matt Phillips delivered a pinpoint corner that found Gareth McAuley, rising higher than his marker Curtis Davies to bounce the Baggies into the lead.
Hull did not learn from their mistakes and almost faced a sense of deja-vu just before the break. Phillips produced another telling corner, finding Craig Dawson who wriggled away from Michael Dawson, only to flash his header just wide of the post.
Will the real Hull City please stand up
Phelan would undoubtedly have expressed a few choice words at half-time and an illness for Ryan Mason allowed the introduction of Adama Diomande to offer an excuse for a change of formation. A faster tempo and more desire pushed the Tigers forward, with Robert Snodgrass producing their first shot on 50 minutes as Ben Foster got down low to keep out his ambitious drive.
It was not long before Foster was called into action again as Livermore almost completed a fine passing move by Snodgrass and Markus Henriksen, only to be denied by the former England international. Snodgrass continued to pull the strings for Hull as he produced a cross for Sam Clucas that the youngster headed wide, before a free-kick from the Scotsman produced another save by Foster.
As a mixture of a more disciplined West Brom defence and slowing the game down momentarily halted the hosts' push for an equaliser, Snodgrass was called upon again to find a route through and he eventually produced the goods. The attacking midfielder found Dieumerci Mbokani with a free-kick that was headed down and fired home by Dawson. It was no less than Hull deserved.
Hull continued with their momentum for a few minutes before West Brom eventually came to life again in the final moments. Nacer Chadli forced David Marshall to tip his free-kick over, before Salomon Rondon headed a golden opportunity wide in the final minute of injury time. Hull held firm and managed to grab a point when other teams may well have put the game out of sight by half-time. It was a get out of jail free card for Mike Phelan, though his side remain stranded in the relegation zone.