10-man Hull hold Leicester to draw


Published: Saturday 14th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Bottom club Leicester failed to see off Hull after Tom Huddlestone’s sending-off handed them a huge opportunity at the King Power Stadium.

With both sides struggling at the wrong end of the table, this laborious goalless draw lived down to expectations, but the Foxes had both home advantage and the greater need for points and will be frustrated not to have gathered a desperately-needed win.

They were second best for most of the game, but when Huddlestone was dismissed for a second booking in the 71st minute they had a priceless chance to redefine their faltering campaign.

Manager Nigel Pearson, a less-than-beloved former Hull boss, emptied his bench of attackers in pursuit of three points but the stalemate endured.

Tigers skipper Michael Dawson was outstanding at the back, marshalling Hull’s defence throughout, and without his organisation they might well have creaked under pressure.

But a goal would have provided a crescendo this damp squib did not warrant.

Neither side managed to master their early nerves, with the centre of the park log-jammed and a series of passes from both sides going astray.

It took fully 20 minutes for a chance worthy of the name but when it did arrive, Hull should have taken the lead.

Huddlestone produced the moment of vision needed to open things up, chipping a pass over the Leicester defence and into the path of the overlapping Ahmed Elmohamady.

The Egyptian cushioned the ball perfectly across goal on the volley, leaving Nikica Jelavic with a clear shot at goal from six yards.

But the Croatian mis-timed his connection, got the ball lost under his feet and contrived to let the chance go begging.

Hull were nevertheless emboldened and when Huddlestone aimed another searching ball into the box, Dame N’Doye thought he had a chance to nod it home.

But Mark Schwarzer came to collect and instead of getting his head to the ball N’Doye clattered the veteran goalkeeper, who was left requiring treatment.

The visitors gradually lost their grip on proceedings as half-time approached, with the Foxes finally putting together a handful of half-chances.

Riyad Mahrez and Andrej Kramaric both whipped in curling cross-shots that nearly caught Allan McGregor out as they drifted past the far post without being intercepted.

Kramaric left Huddlestone for dead with a neat turn just before the break but, having created a shot on goal, lashed wide.

Leicester continued to show signs of life as the second half began, Esteban Cambiasso exchanging a clever one-two with Matty James only for Alex Bruce to block his low drive.

Any hopes of more free-flowing football soon evaporated though, with both teams either unwilling or unable to create anything of real quality.

Pearson sent on Leonardo Ulloa for Kramaric with an hour gone, the game having settled into a torpor that did neither side much credit.

Moments later McGregor was forced into a rare save when Jamie Vardy’s wayward cross briefly threatened to sneak into the top corner.

Some much-needed intensity arrived after a couple of bone-crunching tackles from Hull, Dawson fouling Vardy but Alex Bruce highly unfortunate to be booked for a wonderful challenge on Mahrez.

Hull were getting caught in the intensity and went down to 10 men when Huddlestone body-checked Vardy on the edge of the area to pick up a second caution.

The former Spurs midfielder had been caught for pace as he tracked back and his intervention was chronically clumsy.

Leicester might have scored from the resulting free-kick but Jeffrey Schlupp’s shot struck Ulloa in a crowded box and Paul McShane charged down Cambiasso’s attempt from the rebound.

Both sides went to their bench to deal with the change in circumstances, Leicester throwing on Tom Lawrence and David Nugent while Hull bolstered their midfield with Stephen Quinn and David Meyler.

As expected Leicester began to drive into the final third but McGregor held firm under pot shots and Matthew Upson got a poor connection when he met an injury-time corner.

Hull might have stolen victory when Abel Hernandez shot low from N’Doye’s quickly-taken free-kick, but his finish was no better than what had come before.

Copyright Press Association 2015

Published: Saturday 14th March 2015 by The News Editor

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