Hull 2, Norwich 1
DAVID CUFFLEY Norwich City's unbeaten start to the season was ended at the KC Stadium on a day when veteran strikers stole the limelight.Dean Windass, a target for the Canaries 12 years ago, scored one goal and made another as Hull City chalked up their first Championship win of the season.
NORWICH City's unbeaten start to the season was ended at the KC Stadium on a day when veteran strikers stole the limelight.
Dean Windass, a target for the Canaries 12 years ago, scored one goal and made another as Hull City chalked up their first Championship win of the season. And another 38-year-old, Dion Dublin, was on target for the visitors with the goal which at one stage looked set to give them at least a point.
Windass opened the scoring after 49 minutes when he curled in a shot from the edge of the area following a pass from substitute Michael Bridges.
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Dublin, on as a substitute for Julien Brellier, levelled the scores with a stunning volley after 70 minutes. But just six minutes later, Windass set up former Colchester winger Richard Garcia for what proved to be the winner.
Gary Doherty and Jamie Cureton both went close to levelling the scores in stoppage time, but it was not to be for Peter Grant's men.
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Grant gave a debut at left-back to new signing Ian Murray in the absence of Adam Drury but it was not to be a winning start for the new recruit.
New signing Ian Murray went straight into the starting line-up against the Tigers.
Murray, who arrived on a free transfer from Rangers yesterday and has signed a contract until June, played in the absence of left-back Adam Drury.
Drury had been struggling with an ankle injury before last week's home game against Southampton but managed to play a full 90 minutes and had not been mentioned among the doubtful starters before today's game.
With Mark Fotheringham ruled out for three months with ankle ligament damage, there was one further change to the squad involved in the Southampton game, with Chris Martin on the bench.
There was no place in the 16 for Darren Huckerby, despite his 55 minutes of action for the reserves against Luton on Tuesday night.
Hull made one enforced change to the team that drew 1-1 at Coventry last week with Andy Dawson, who scored in the corresponding fixture against Norwich last season, replacing the suspended Sam Ricketts.
Hull kicked off in bright sunshine and the visitors were wearing their new red change kit for the first time. It was immediately apparent that Murray, wearing No. 15, was playing at left-back in Drury's position with Lappin continuing on the left side of midfield, having shaken off the thigh strain that kept him out of training earlier in the week.
Murray's first contribution was a throw-in aimed towards the Hull penalty area but the ball drifted out for a goal kick.
There was a narrow scrape for Norwich after just two minutes when a throw-in by Ashbee reached Garcia, whose centre ran across the face of the goal but was just too strong for Elliott to make clean contact and he knocked the ball wide of the post.
Murray ventured forward after five minutes, getting into the Hull area but when he fed the ball sideways to Lappin, the midfielder was crowded out and the move broke down.
Norwich broke down the right through Croft and his centre reached Lappin, whose shot from the edge of the area took a deflection off striker Brown but not enough to wrong-foot goalkeeper Duke.
There were plenty of empty seats in the stadium but the home crowd were doing their best to lift their side and Hull won their first corner after 10 minutes when Russell closed down Garcia.
The Canaries were caught napping from the flag-kick by Marney and Garcia was able meet it with a first time volley which flashed just wide.
Marshall made a vital save one minute later when Garcia shot through a crowd of players and the keeper only just saw it in time, diving low to his right to keep the ball out.
Hull were beginning to get into their stride and a cross from Elliott caused Marshall problems as Windass challenged him in the air, but the veteran striker could only nod the ball out for a goal kick.
Marshall was left limping after the incident, but signalled to the bench that he was able to carry on without attention.
Dawson was spoken to by the referee for attempting to take a throw too far forward in front of the Norwich dugout.
Marshall made a clean catch as he jumped at the far post for a cross from the right by Garcia and the keeper, still hobbling, appeared unhappy with the challenge by Elliott.
Marshall was in action again seconds later when a big boot clear from defender Brown threatened to bounce over his head but he was alert to the danger and gathered it with both hands.
Midway through the half, and Otsemobor produced easily Norwich best effort yet when he took a pass from Croft, got away from Elliott and sent in a powerful right-foot drive which was only just over the top, bringing the visiting fans to life after a fairly quiet start from their side.
Turner then got back to make an important challenge on Cureton as the striker chased a deflected through ball from Croft.
Hull were reduced to 10 men for a while with Barmby receiving treatment on the touchline.
There was an opening for the home side when Windass judged a Duke goal-kick better than Shackell and knocked through a pass for Elliott, but the winger failed to connect with any power and Marshall comfortably gathered his shot.
Barmby had returned to the field but after 28 minutes it was clear he could not continue and he was replaced by Bridges.
Striker Brown was back to help out his defence when he headed clear from a cross by Windass after a quickly taken corner, and another cross from Windass looked threatening but Marshall jumped well to collect.
At the other end, Otsemobor made a promising burst down the right but spoiled the good work by over hitting his cross.
Ten minutes before the break and Brellier got into the action when a cross from Lappin was only partially cleared on the edge of the Hull area. The Frenchman produced a first-time volley, but it was far too high to cause Duke any problems.
A promising move involving Lapping, Croft and Otsemobor earned Norwich their first corner when Turner cleared under pressure from Cureton.
Lappin's kick was met by Doherty, stooping low to head goalwards, but Hull were able to hack the ball away.
It was a fairly untidy contest but a cross from Garcia briefly raised the home crowd's hopes before Murray managed to hook the ball away.
Russell made a timely challenge on Ashbee to stop him getting a shot in and then Bridges moved on to a Windass flick and created room for a shot but his effort trickled wide.
A cross from Otsemobor forced Dawson to concede another corner two minutes before the break.
Lappin took the kick, but it was rather wasted when he rolled in back to Murray, whose cross was easily cleared.
Croft was well off target with a long-range effort as the first half entered stoppage time.
Half-time - Hull 0, Norwich 0.
There were no changes at the interval and the Canaries were now defending the goal behind which their fans were gathered but they had to kick-off twice because the referee was unhappy with the first resumption.
Hull won a free-kick just inside the Norwich half when Dawson was caught by a high boot from Brown and the Tigers kept up the pressure when they won the first corner after the break. Marney's kick was headed clear by Shackell but Garcia managed to retrieve it and work his way into the area, only for Bridges to bundle his effort wide.
Norwich won a free-kick of their own soon afterwards but Lappin's kick was a poor one and as Hull broke clear, they fashioned the opening goal.
Garcia's long ball forward reached Bridges and he showed good control on the edge of the area before rolling a pass back to Windass, who curled a right-foot effort beyond Marshall to give his side the lead.
Seven minutes into the half, the Canaries won another free-kick in a promising position just outside the Hull box but after much deliberation, Lappin took it and fired it straight into the wall.
Hull broke again and an excellent through ball from Bridges almost set up Marney for number two, the former Norwich loan player lobbing just over the bar as Marshall came out. Marney was very involved at this stage but his next effort was sliced way off target.
Murray got in a timely header to clear the danger from an Elliott cross as Hull pushed forward again but the new signing was on the floor moments later, upended by Dawson with the Hull fullback earning a yellow card for the challenge.
Otsemobor and Croft tried to work their way into the Hull area with a neat exchange of passes, only for Delaney to make an important interception.
With an hour gone, the visitors were struggling to make any real headway and Strihavka was warming up on the touchline.
Hull were awarded an indirect free-kick close to the left corner flag when Doherty was adjudged to have obstructed Marney. Marney took the kick and Brown headed clear but before Norwich had completely cleared their lines, there were appeals for a penalty when Turner went down under challenge from Brown, still back in his own area.
Skipper Ashbee was then off target with a powerful drive as the hosts looked to extend their lead.
The Canaries looked rather stretched at times and when Bridges found Garcia with an excellent diagonal pass, the winger's cross was nodded back by Windass with the defence rather flat-footed but there was no Hull player in the six-yard box to take advantage.
Windass tried another curling effort midway through the half after Shackell headed clear from a Duke drop kick and the veteran was not far off target.
Manager Grant threw a third striker into the fray when Dublin was sent on in place of Brellier.
It appeared that Cureton had retreated slightly in the formation behind Brown and Dublin as a strapping front pair.
It was certainly a good day for the veterans when Dublin fired Norwich level with almost his first contribution.
Brown managed to head the ball in Dublin's direction just outside the Hull area and he produced a stunning first-time volley with his right foot that fairly flashed past Duke.
Marney earned the second booking of the afternoon and the Canaries, with their tails up, threatened again when a free-kick was touched to Otsemobor, who tested Duke with a powerful drive, but the keeper was right behind it.
Suddenly it was all Norwich and Lappin played a corner short to Croft, took a return pass and floated in an excellent cross toward Doherty, whose header was only inches over the top.
Just as the Canaries seemed to be getting the upper hand, Hull regained the lead and Windass again had a big part to play. He showed excellent control to bring down a cross beyond the far post and nipped the ball back from a tight angle for Garcia to gleefully knock it home.
Before play resumed, the hosts made a second change with Elliott replacing Hughes.
The second goal had taken the wind out of Norwich's sails just when it seemed they were getting on top.
Good work by Otsemobor forced a corner with seven minutes remaining and Lappin's kick was flicked on by Doherty, only for Marney to make an important clearance.
As the Canaries pressed forward in search of another equaliser, the hosts were given a welcome breather while Bridges received treatment following a tackle from Russell.
Hull were already attempting to keep the ball down by the right corner flag with a series of short passes, although Bridges tried his luck with one more attempt on goal, which was some way off target.
Grant made a second change with three minutes left when Strihavka replaced Croft, giving them three giant strikers.
Hull then made their final change with goal scorer Windass making way for Livermore with less than two minutes to go.
As 90 minutes came up on the scoreboard, the fourth official signalled an additional four minutes for the home crowd to endure as Norwich threw men forward in an effort to salvage a point.
Dublin's clever back-heel from a Lappin through ball almost carved an opening but Strihavka was crowded out and as they pressed forward again, Doherty's close-range effort squirted wide, prompting appeals for a corner, but it was not given.
Result: Hull 2, Norwich 1