Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Hull's fantastic journey continues with Turner goal

Hull City 1 West Ham United 0

What was already the best top-flight start by a newly-promoted club since Nottingham Forest in 1994 is now becoming the stuff of pure fantasy.

Hull City, having slipped to sixth place with Saturday's results – just how ghastly can life become! – are back up to third following their fourth victory in five Premier League games and their third win in succession.





The fact they are making particular hay against many of London's finest is mere window dressing. The big story is that Hull are looking down on Arsenal and Manchester United as Halloween approaches, so, for a while longer, you might not hear their disbelieving fans talking about anything as piffling as Uefa Cup qualification.



Top honours on another dizzying Humberside afternoon yesterday went to Michael Turner, who underlined a man of the match contribution by doing what a variety of West Ham United forwards lamentably failed to do.



His thundering header five minutes after half-time brought about the second League defeat of Gianfranco Zola's Upton Park reign and rendered even more expensive his side's misses during their first-half supremacy.



Hull grew stronger after their goal, Kamil Zayatte blazing narrowly over after Marlon King had set the tone with a volley that sped off target, and West Ham faded. The send-off at the final whistle was tumultuous and you wonder what's next for a side playing their first home game for a month since becoming such celebrated conquerors of the capital.



"I'm ecstatic," said Hull's manager Phil Brown. "I like 1-0s against quality opposition and could have picked five or six men of the match.



"Confidence is obviously high and my biggest problem is maintaining success. But if the bubble bursts we'll just set about blowing another one up."



It won't matter too much today to Hull's record KC Stadium attendance that West Ham should have led at the interval. Craig Bellamy's left-wing sprint ended with Carlton Cole shooting straight at Boaz Myhill, then Herita Ilunga missed an even more inviting target when Mark Noble's corner dropped on his head six yards out. Such is Hull's fairytale progress that their consecutive victories at Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur should be followed by a warning from Brown about the need to improve, particularly in keeping possession.



Despite an off-target volley by Dean Marney from Daniel Cousin's hanging centre, the September Manager of the Month continued to see his side do plenty of chasing. Another opportunity went astray as Bellamy, making his first start for nearly a year, skied wide from an angle when Cole nodded down Noble's centre.



But the tide might have turned Hull's way sooner had the officials taken action against Ilunga late in the first half. The Congolese left-back, already booked, harshly perhaps, for knocking the ball out of Myhill's control and netting after the whistle had gone with a magnificent long-range overhead kick, somehow escaped a second yellow card when catching Marney late and painfully.



Not that it ultimately mattered after Andy Dawson floated in a corner from the right and Turner climbed above Matthew Upson to head powerfully home – a near-replica of his goal against Everton four weekends ago.



It started to look like Hull's day again when Cole almost immediately turned at the near post following Valon Behrami's pass and slammed left-footed against the underside of the bar.



Worryingly for Zola, though, there was little else by way of hint of an equaliser apart from Matthew Etherington's volley into the side netting from Cole's deep cross.



"We're not finishing chances as well as we're creating them," the Italian said. "But I'm convinced we're going to get it right soon."



Goal: Turner (51) 1-0.



Hull City (4-3-1-2): Myhill; McShane, Turner, Zayatte, Dawson; Marney, Ashbee, Boateng (Hughes, 72); Geovanni (Halmosi, 73); King, Cousin (Garcia, 82). Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Mendy, Folan, Ricketts.



West Ham United (4-3-3): Green; Faubert (Di Michele, 72), Neill, Upson, Ilunga; Behrami, Parker, Noble; Bellamy, Cole, Etherington (Sears, 82). Substitutes not used: Lopez, Boa Morte, Mullins, Lastuvka (gk), Davenport.



Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).



Bookings: Hull Zayatte, Dawson; West Ham Ilunga.



Man of the match: Turner.



Attendance: 24,896.

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