24 August 2014 16:29
James Chester went from hero to villain for Hull City as Stoke City finally made their extra man count to earn a 1-1 draw at the KC Stadium.
Chester bagged the only goal of the game when Hull opened the season with a victory at QPR last weekend but lasted less than a quarter of an hour on Sunday before being given his marching orders for bringing down Glenn Whelan when he was through on goal.
Hull battled back bravely from that early setback to go ahead just before half-time when Nikica Jelavic pounced on a loose ball after Asmir Begovic’s parry fell kindly.
The hosts may be trying to sign Blackburn Rovers forward Jordan Rhodes after selling Shane Long to Southampton, but Jelavic sent out a timely reminder of his prowess in front of goal.
However, the numerical deficit finally took its toll on the home team as Ryan Shawcross bundled in an equaliser with just eight minutes left on the clock.
Steve Bruce will have been delighted with the resolve shown by his gutsy outfit, with Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play-off second leg against Lokeren to come, and a share of the spoils against former colleague Mark Hughes will have ultimately satisfied the home boss.
Hull predictably brought back a raft of players who had not featured in midweek, and the changes looked to have an impact in the early stages with the hosts looking jittery in defence.
The pace and power of Mame Biram Diouf troubled the hosts and they were made to pay for complacent defending on 14 minutes when Whelan intercepted a poor pass and was brought down by Chester as he ran at goal, Jon Moss brandishing a red card at the defender.
Stoke were unable to make their extra man count, and Hughes opted to replace Whelan with striker Bojan Krkic – who had dropped to the bench.
Before the Spaniard could make any impact on the game, though, Hull went ahead when Begovic could only fumble a long-range Tom Huddlestone strike and Jelavic pounced on the rebound to poke home his shot from an acute angle.
The hosts ended the half looking likely to add to their lead, Stephen Quinn seeing a glimpse of Begovic’s goal charged down.
Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor had to get down well to keep out a Shawcross effort at the start of the second period, but the home team were more than holding their own in terms of possession and field position.
Peter Crouch was sent on to give Stoke more of a physical presence up front and fired one thunderous shot just over, but Diouf wasted a series of chances as Stoke’s hopes appeared to be fading.
However, Hughes’ men eventually hit back in controversial circumstances as Liam Rosenior’s clearance clearly clipped Erik Pieters, though Moss awarded Stoke a throw-in.
They eventually flung the ball into the box, with Shawcross prodding home in the scramble, the goal-decision system confirming the ball had crossed the line to spare the visitors’ blushes.