The return of Robert Snodgrass to the KCOM Stadium was not the return that he was expecting. After leading the ranks at Hull City for the first half of the season, his move to West Ham gained him a lot of criticism. Our top scorer looked a shadow of his former self. His passing looked nervous and his efforts on goal tame. £10m looks like the signing of the season, but for Hull, who have gained the services of some excellent players from his sale.
When the news broke of Snodgrass wishing to leave for pastures new it was met with alarm, as his form had been outstanding for us for the first half of the season, often being player of the match with pure brilliance on the ball. Now he’s gone from being the big fish in a small pond to a minnow in the ocean.
But that’s enough about former players. What a game that was for Hull. It takes a lot for a team to win a game, especially against a team so well established in the Premier League as West Ham, but to go 1-0 down and come out of the game with all three points shows just how resilient this Hull team is. Marco Silva has been given a lot of praise by many in the past few months since his arrival, and very rightly so. Not many managers can boast they’ve not lost a home league game in three entire years, especially when 2 of those months were with a team fighting for survival in one of the toughest leagues in the world.
A lot of criticism will be hurled at Curtis Davies, whose mistake gave Andy Carroll his 50th goal, but it has to be remembered that Davies is not long back from injury, and is still getting back into his rhythm that fans at the start of the season were demanding an England call-up for. His form may have not yet returned but he gained valuable game time against a tough opponent.
It’s clear that Hull missed the commanding presence of midfielder Tom Huddlestone in this game. In his place was Sam Clucas, thought he did play yet another great game for us, he is not as experience as Huddlestone in the top league and it did show. That is in no way a criticism of Clucas. Let us not forget that not long ago in 2013 he was playing for Hereford United. Clucas is one of the success stories of the modern game.
The star man of the game has to be Andy Robertson. His consistent determination was rewarded at last with a first Premier League goal, one which he will savour for his, still fledgling, career. A fine ball from Lazar Markovic to Kamil Grosicki who’s, intentional or not, ball right to the feet of Robertson was world class.
After Robertson’s goal Hull began to dominate the game and chances started to form from nowhere, with Oumas Niasse’s powerful shot cannoning off the post to Grosicki who couldn’t sent the ball marginally wide of goal. But West Ham kept on and nearly got back in the game when Carroll hammered a header straight at Eldin Jakupovic, who was certainly glad it didn’t go far from him.
As the game wore on it looked like Hull would just about come out of the game with a draw, and a vital point. To give even more reason for Hull to bring him in permanently, Andrea Ranocchia scored one of Hull’s best, and most important, goals of the season. A smart run that outfoxed the West Ham defence gave him the chance he needed, which he took brilliantly with his head and straight into the corner, past the keeper’s outstretched arms.
With 6 minutes of added time, it was very a very tense final few minutes. But Hull’s ever-growing resilience was rewarded with 3 points in the bag and a step closer to Premier League survival.