November 17, 2012
Sone outlook for Tigers
Sone Aluko came back to haunt his old club as Hull held off a Birmingham fightback to win 3-2 and claim only their second victory at St Andrew's in over 100 years.
Aluko rose through the ranks at Blues, spending over 10 years with his boyhood club, before then boss Steve Bruce, another celebrating victory over his former employers, allowed the forward to go out on loan to Aberdeen in 2007 prior to a permanent switch 12 months later.
And the 23-year-old thoroughly enjoyed his first return as he took full advantage of Birmingham's high defensive line to grab a well-taken brace and take his tally to eight goals for the season, with James Chester's third putting Hull firmly on course for their first win at Birmingham since 1970.
Ravel Morrison sparked a Blues revival before the break while Marlon King, another playing against a former club, bagged his 10th of the season 21 seconds into the second half to firmly make a game of things.
But the home side, subject to takeover speculation, could not find that crucial leveller as the fourth-placed Tigers held on to get back to winning ways.
Birmingham were unchanged from the side who drew at Blackburn last weekend while Hull boss Bruce, making his return to the club where he both played and served as manager, made two changes - defender Alex Bruce, also formerly of Blues, and midfielder Seyi Olofinjana coming in.
But it was Aluko who should have opened his account for the afternoon after just six minutes.
The forward was sent clean through, with the home defence looking for offside, but his effort was well blocked by England starlet Jack Butland from a central position 12 yards out.
Aluko soon got a second chance, though, as he was sent clear again in the 14th minute and he made no mistake on this occasion, rounding Butland to finish coolly despite going to ground.
And the forward grabbed his and Hull's second 12 minutes later, again taking full advantage of Birmingham's high line to be set free and finish well.
Tigers goalkeeper Ben Amos saved well at the feet of Nikola Zigic but it was soon three-nil, Aluko turning provider this time as his inswinging corner was headed home by defender Chester.
Morrison bagged his first goal for Blues since his arrival on loan from West Ham, smashing home Zigic's knockdown to give the hosts hope before the break, with Tigers defender Abdoulaye Faye lucky not to then give away a penalty for handball.
If Blues finished the first half strongly then they started the second on fire, with a long ball going up towards Zigic, who headed down for King to score with just 21 seconds on the clock.
Stephen Quinn pulled an effort narrowly wide for Hull as chances rapidly dried up for both sides, with the visitors playing keep ball and effectively cooling the Birmingham fightback.
Aaron Mclean wasted a great chance to make the game safe in the 82nd minute before Birmingham threw everything at the Hull backline, ultimately to no effect in a dramatic finish.
|Birmingham City||Hull City|
|1 Jack Butland||22 Ben Amos|
|4 Steven Caldwell||28 Alex Bruce|
|30 Paul Robinson||5 James Chester|
|23 Jonathan Spector||2 Liam Rosenior|
|3 David Murphy||23 Abdoulaye Faye|
|8 Hayden Mullins||10 Robert Koren|
|15 Wade Elliott||16 Seyi George Olofinjana|
|7 Chris Burke||29 Stephen Quinn|
|12 Ravel Morrison||24 Sone Aluko|
|9 Marlon King||27 Ahmed Elmohamady|
|19 Nikola Zigic||11 Jay Simpson|
|13 Colin Doyle||Eldin Jakupovic 1|
|5 Pablo Ibañez||Paul McKenna 4|
|27 Mitch Hancox||David Meyler 31|
|32 Papa Bouba Diop||Corry Evans 8|
|10 Darren Ambrose||Aaron Mclean 9|
|22 Nathan Redmond||Nick Proschwitz 33|
|11 Peter Lovenkrands||Robert Brady 30|
|Nathan Redmond for Wade Elliott (65)||David Meyler for Seyi George Olofinjana (63)|
|Mitch Hancox for David Murphy (85)||Robert Brady for Liam Rosenior (70)|
|Aaron Mclean for Jay Simpson (76)|
|Nikola Zigic (58)||David Meyler (90)|
|Hayden Mullins (89)|
|· Squads: Birmingham City | Hull City|