Brentford’s unbeaten April came to an end on a freezing Humberside evening. The Bees hadn’t lost in six before a trip to Play-Off bound Hull City but two first half goals condemned them to defeat. Hull know they will be in the Play-Offs at the end of the season and looked every inch a top-six team as, after an even start, they took control and deserved the win.
A Harlee Dean own goal broke the deadlock just past the half hour and even though David Button saved a penalty, Hull doubled their lead before the break. Brentford produced a positive display after half time, seeking a way back in to the game. But Hull’s well-organised defence could not be breached and Brentford were beaten.
The opening exchanges were very open. Both teams looked to have an attacking mind-set and were happy to get lots of players in to advanced areas. It was attack and counter-attack in the first ten minutes without any clear cut chances. Moses Odubajo cut inside and had a shot blocked for the hosts while opposite right back Josh Clarke led a break that saw Marco Djuricin turn well before running and shooting wide from 20 yards.
Hull were playing a very fluid system. It was nominally 4-4-2 but strikers Mo Diamé and Adama Diomandé regularly dropped in to midfield to add to the numbers. With wide players Ahmed Elmohamady and Sam Clucas drifting infield at times it left space for the full backs to bomb on and made it difficult for Brentford to defend against. Clarke shot narrowly over after moving forward for Brentford but Hull were starting to take control of the game.
The Bees scrambled a Jake Livermore shot away when Diomandé looked like he might pounce and Harry Maguire had a shot cleared when a corner dropped loose. Hull were regularly looking to their left flank and were outnumbering Clarke. Diamé shot wide after Diomandé picked up one long ball and Button saved from left back Andy Robertson soon after. Robertson had scored in the reverse fixture and shown his quality that evening so it was no surprise that he was involved in the opening goal. It came from a ball over the top down the left, Robertson got away and his low cross was turned in to his own net by Dean. With three Hull players waiting to convert, Dean had no option but to try and play the ball four yards out and could only turn it home.
By the time they had the lead, half an hour in, Hull had command and by half time they game was just about over. Button got down well to save a Diomandé shot but from the resulting corner, referee Darren Bond decided Jake Bidwell had pulled Maguire down. Diomandé took the spot kick but Button was the victor, diving to his right to push the effort away. Djuricin shot wide for The Bees but there was no change in the flow of the game.
Robertson could have doubled the lead for Hull before the break when he got in behind on the left but his shot smashed against the crossbar. The second was not long in coming, however, Hull finding the goal at the very end of the half. Maguire was the surprising architect, overlapping on the right and delivering a cross – Diamé met it and was first to react to poke home after Button had superbly saved the first effort.
Brentford started the second half positively. Clarke continued to bomb on down the right and he was Brentford’s main outlet. He almost won a penalty with a run in the box but Mr Bond decided the foul had been committed outside the area. Djuricin also forced Eldin Jakupović in to a save after picking up a McCormack pass and turning well. But Hull had a solid defensive shape and Brentford’s chances were limited.
The Bees never really looked like they had the inspiration to break through and the second half largely petered out. Hull had less ambition than they did in the first half and there were not many openings at either end. Robertson had a shot deflected wide after a burst from deep and Maguire missed the target with a header. Button then saved a low Clucas free kick and an Elmohamady header was blocked.
Chuba Akpom headed wide for the hosts as the minutes ticked down before substitute Sam Saunders curled a free kick inches wide for The Bees. Djuricin had a shot blocked and a Saunders shot was blocked while at the other end Button saved from Akpom. But there were no more goals and Hull took the points.
Hull City: Jakupović; Odubajo, Bruce, Maguire, Robertson (sub Maloney 68 mins); Elmohamady, Hayden, Livermore, Clucas; Diamé (sub Taylor 84 mins), Diomandé (sub Akpom 78 mins)
Subs (not used): McGregor, Davies, Huddlestone, Snodgrass
Brentford: Button; Clarke, Dean, Barbet, Bidwell (sub O’Connell 72 mins); Yennaris, McCormack; Woods, Swift (sub Gogia 61 mins), Canós (sub Saunders 80 mins); Djuricin
Subs (not used): Bonham, Colin, Kerschbaumer, Hofmann
Bookings: Woods (65 mins) (eighth of season), O’Connell (77 min) (second of season), Saunders (89 mins) (second of season)
Attendance: 15,225 (214 Bees fans)