Hull City 2-0 Everton: Tigers pull away from relegation zone as Everton slump further

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Everton has found itself in a seriously troubling slump with four straight losses, the latest coming at the KC Stadium as Ahmed Elmohamady and Nikica Jelavic scored to down Roberto Martinez and the Toffees yet again.

Romelu Lukaku missed a good chance late, but it was probably too late anyways as Steve Bruce put some space between himself and the relegation zone. The win is reward for his loyalty, as Bruce shot down links to the vacant Newcastle managerial position just yesterday.

A dubious refereeing decision marred the beginning of the game as Abel Hernandez was fouled by Gareth Barry, and while replays showed he was clearly inside the penalty area, referee Kevin Friend gave the free kick at the top of the box instead. Hernandez would pump in another solid chance inside five minutes, with a powerful shot expertly saved by Joel Robles diving to his right.

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Everton slowly built into the game, but their first chance saw Kevin Mirallas blast way over the goal on eight minutes. Despite long spells of Everton possession, it was Hull that would strike first. Substitute Liam Rosenoir, on for an injured Andy Robertson, sent in a long cross into the box for Elmohamady, and with the Hull attacker one-on-one with Leighton Baines, he out-jumped his mark to power home a header.

Hull would get another for their home fans to cheer as Everton produced some head-scratching defending. A ball over the top for Nikica Jelavic saw him through on goal after Gareth Barry inexplicably froze, and Jelavic produced a brilliant finish with a chip over Robles for the 2-0 lead just minutes before the halftime break.

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Everton had its best chance of the evening just after halftime when Liam Rosenior went down with a leg injury as the Toffees broke. Eventually it came to Ross Barkley in the box, and after wrong-footing defenders he powered a shot on goal that forced Allan McGregor into a stunning diving save.

The injury looked serious and forced Rosenior off, with the substitute himself replaced by Harry Maguire, Hull’s final change.

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Romelu Lukaku missed yet another good chance five minutes from the final whistle with a long ball directed his way on the break, but all alone for a header, he couldn’t put it on target.  Antolin Alcaraz picked up a questionable second yellow card four minutes from full time to make things even harder for Everton, and they wouldn’t have any way back.

Hull City’s win gives them a massive three points. The Tigers jump two points above the relegation zone and into 15th with the win. The Toffees, with their fourth loss in a row, are just four points above the relegation zone as we start 2015.

LINEUPS:

Hull City: McGregor, Chester, Robertson (Rosenior 23′, Maguire 56′), Bruce, Davies, Meyler, Livermore, Elmohamady, Ramírez (Brady 46′), Jelavić, Hernández.

Goals: Elmohamady 33′, Jelavic 43′

Everton: Joel, Baines, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Coleman, Barry, Besic (Oviedo 46′), Barkley, Naismith, Mirallas (Lukaku 46′), Kone.

Discipline: Alcaraz (second yellow) 86′