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Mike Phelan says Hull's fighting spirit will stand them in good stead

Published 27/11/2016

Hull boss Mike Phelan hailed his side's fighting spirit after their 1-1 draw against West Brom.
Hull boss Mike Phelan hailed his side's fighting spirit after their 1-1 draw against West Brom.

Hull boss Mike Phelan hopes his side's fighting spirit will stand them in good stead for the likely relegation battle ahead after Michael Dawson's second-half strike salvaged a potentially crucial point against West Brom.

Phelan's men looked set for another painful defeat after failing to muster a shot of any sort in a feeble opening 50 minutes and fell behind to Gareth McAuley's 34th-minute header for the visitors.

But a much-improved second half showing saw the Tigers claw back on level terms when captain Dawson swung home the equaliser after Dieumerci Mbokani headed down a Robert Snodgrass free-kick in the box.

Phelan said: "I thought the first half was possibly down to us being a little bit cautious on the back of a 3-0 defeat (to Sunderland), but to come from a goal down showed real endeavour from the players to get something out of the game."

Phelan's side could still have been sunk in the dying seconds with Baggies substitute Nacer Chadli and striker Salmon Rondon missing good chances to lift their side to what would have been a third consecutive win.

But he sought further positives in the second half influence of substitute Adama Diomande, who added energy after returning from a three-match suspension, and another composed display from 17-year-old full-back Josh Tymon.

Phelan added: "I've grown up having faith in youth because without that there is no future in football. When a blossoming kid comes along with enthusiasm and he's local, you get a reaction.

"He's willing to learn and progress and he has a big future ahead of him. He's more or less come straight from school into the Premier League and it's great to see a young player doing well."

The chilly weather had mirrored the mood at the KCOM Stadium in a dismal first half in which any threat from the hosts was non-existent and McAuley put West Brom in front when he nodded home a Matt Phillips corner.

When Hull's first shot did arrive - a long-range effort from Snodgrass which was well saved low by Ben Foster in the Baggies goal, it drew ironic cheers from the home fans.

Jake Livermore also screwed a shot wide then hit straight at Foster from a Markus Henriksen through-ball as the home side enjoyed by far their best spell of the match.

When Dawson did get the leveller, the visitors held on and went on to finish the game much the stronger, Chadli's free-kick being turned around the post by David Marshall then Rondon heading wide from a cross by substitute James McClean.

Despite the disappointment of failing to take all three points, Baggies boss Tony Pulis said he was pleased with the way his side rallied in the final minutes.

"We've just got to keep going - everyone knows where we are as a group and a team," said Pulis. "The players don't stop working - we got ourselves in a spot of bother in the first 20 minutes of the second half and they just out-worked Hull in the end.

"In the second half we showed a bit of guts and determination and we're really disappointed that we've not won it."

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