FULL TIME: #hcafc 1 Norwich City 0 - Robbie Brady's first half penalty is enough to secure all three points for the 10-man Tigers— Hull City Official (@hullcityteam) August 24, 2013
Despite playing the majority of the game with 10 men, Hull defended gallantly throughout this one and frustrated Norwich's attack a great deal in the process.
The Tigers afforded the Canaries few goalscoring opportunities, and when they did, goalkeeper Allan McGregor was there to snuff out any chance.
Unsurprisingly, it was Norwich that looked likelier to score early.
Making his starting debut for Norwich, youngster Leroy Fer almost got the scoring underway after just three minutes. Some strong buildup play on the right flank saw Fer fly high in the air at the back post, but he was unable to control his header.
It sailed by the right post in what would turn out to be a huge miss indeed.
The Canaries would see another strong goalscoring chance fall their way on 10 minutes when Nathan Redmond found some space, but McGregor made a great save.
After that, it was all about Hull City.
The Tigers nearly opened the scoring on 15 minutes when Sone Aluko played a perfect backheel through to Tom Huddlestone. The summer signing couldn't keep his shot down, however, and John Ruddy watched the ball sail over the bar.
On the 20-minute mark, defender Michael Turner was adjudged to have given away a penalty for climbing on striker Sone Aluko, with replays showing that there was minimal contact between the pair.
Robbie Brady stepped up for the home team, and after a few nervous moments as the referee changed the spot of the ball, banged home the opening goal of the match as well as Hull's EPL year.
However, whatever advantage they had at that moment was quickly undone when Yannick Sagbo was shown a straight red card at the other end of the field only six minutes after the opening goal. The striker appeared to headbutt a Norwich player right in front of the referee and there was no other outcome for the forward than to take an earlier trip to the sheds than he had expected.
Nathan Redmond came deceptively close to equalizing the score right on half-time, but his free-kick from outside the area just missed to the near post, allowing the Tigers to take their 1-0 lead into the interval.
Norwich came out of half-time with a renewed sense of determination and aggression, but they could not find a way through a staunch Hull City defensive unit.
Jonathan Howson came close with a couple of chances, but they were either comfortably saved by McGregor or wide of the mark—leading to a growing frustration amongst Canaries fans.
That was only exaggerated further when Alexander Tettey wasted a great goalscoring chance in the 63rd minute after a wonderful pass from Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
The striker would get a chance for himself in the 66th minute when he got on the end of a wonderful cross from the left, but his attempt was superbly saved.
While Norwich continued to press, they could not break the Tigers' goal.
Few real goalscoring chances emerged for the Canaries and, despite three attacking substitutions, a slew of possession and total shots, they could not get through McGregor and the Tigers defense, giving Hull a very well-deserved first win of the new season.
Steve Bruce will be a very happy man indeed, while Chris Hughton will not, continuing Norwich's incredibly poor run of form away from Carrow Road.
2 - Norwich have kept a clean sheet in just two of their last 53 Premier League away trips. Update.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 24, 2013
Key Player Grades
Allan McGregor, GK, Hull City: A
Despite ostensibly being the lesser of the two teams and then being undermanned for most of the match, Hull City weren't really that outplayed by Norwich City. As a result, McGregor wasn't called into action as often as many might have thought.
However, when he was called into action, he stepped up in big way.
Allan McGregor looks a class signing for Hull - just pulled off a full-length diving save to deny Nathan Redmond. #pasoccer— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) August 24, 2013
McGregor made several strong saves throughout the first half (with one against Redmond in particular) and his incredible second-half reflex save on Van Wolfswinkel was key in the result. He could very well be one of the best signings of the summer if given the chance this year.
Nathan Redmond, LW, Norwich City: B
One of the few players who offered any real attacking threat, Redmond was very strong on the left wing and a constant problem for the Tigers when on the field.
The left-winger was very strong cutting in on either foot in the middle of the field and forced several strong defensive actions from Hull City as a result.
Really strong performance, indeed.
Tom Huddlestone, CM, Hull City: B
Given his status as the club's record signing over the summer, there was lots of expectation surrounding Huddlestone coming into this one. While he didn't set the world on fire in the middle, the former Tottenham Hotspur man was still rather impressive.
Once Hull were reduced to 10 men, they adopted a much deeper position in defense and midfield, no longer seeing as much possession and chances as they did earlier.
Huddlestone held his shape very well in the middle of the field and did exceptionally well to shut down the space that Fer and others tried to find for themselves.
Leroy Fer, CAM, Norwich City: B
When given the opportunity to run in open space, Fer showed why there's so much hype around him this summer at Norwich City. The youngster was dynamic and creative with the ball at his feet, but he struggled to find space once Hull started defending more and more as the game wore on.
Though Fer would obviously love to have another go at his headed chance in the opening minutes, it's hard to fault him on the match that he played.
Against a frustrating defense, Fer was pretty solid.
Full Player Grades
|RM||Robert Koren (OFF—83')||C+|
|LF||Robbie Brady (OFF—79')||B|
|RF||Sone Aluko (OFF—72')||B|
|SUB||Danny Graham (ON—72')||N/A*|
|SUB||George Boyd (ON—79')||N/A*|
|SUB||Liam Rosenior (ON—83')||N/A*|
* No grade available due to limited playing time.
|LW||Nathan Redmond (OFF—72')||B|
|DCM||Bradley Johnson (OFF—45')||C|
|DCM||Alexander Tettery (OFF—64')||C+|
|CF||Ricky van Wolfswinkel||B+|
|SUB||Robert Snodgrass (ON—45')||C|
|SUB||Johan Elmander (ON—64')||C+|
|SUB||Wes Hoolahan (ON—72')||N/A*|
* No grade available due to limited playing time.
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