Hull win at 10-man Blackburn

Substitute Aaron Connolly scored a late brace as Hull came from behind to beat 10-man Blackburn 2-1 in a breathless encounter.

Rovers were up against it from the 17th minute when Harry Pickering was given his marching orders for upending Liam Delap when clean through but displayed great resilience and managed to take a 74th-minute lead through Sam Gallagher.

However, Hull recovered superbly and Connolly volleyed home an 81st-minute equaliser before handing the Tigers their first away league win since January with a composed finish seven minutes later.

Ryan Hedges is challenged by Alfie Jones
Image: Ryan Hedges is challenged by Alfie Jones

Hull deserved their second straight victory on the balance of play but Rovers perhaps should have come out of the game with something and will rue missed chances for Gallagher and Niall Ennis a minute before Connolly’s decisive strike.

Hull went close twice early on, but Aynsley Pears produced a fine low save to repel Ozan Tufan’s eighth-minute shot before denying on-loan Scott Twine from a narrow angle.

The hosts’ afternoon was made considerably harder when Pickering saw red after misjudging a long ball and bringing down Delap 20 yards out with only the keeper to beat.

Rovers regrouped but Hull maintained the pressure and Callum Brittain made a vital block to thwart Tufan.

Twine struck the side-netting just after the restart but the Tigers should have been ahead in the 58th minute when Lewis Travis lost possession and Jean Michael Seri cut the ball back for Delap but Pears was alert and rushed out to make a brilliant stop with his outstretched leg.

Blackburn’s disciplined defending and counter-attacking approach looked to have paid off with 16 minutes left when Ennis drove forward and, though his shot was blocked, the ball fell to the feet of fellow substitute Gallagher who took a touch before emphatically slamming home from 12 yards.

However, Liam Rosenior’s men hit back in style seven minutes later when Seri’s pinpoint pass over the defence found the run of Connolly who crashed a superb volley into the roof of the net.

Back came Rovers in a pulsating finale when Adam Wharton set up Ennis who mslammed his shot onto the right post before Hull cleared.

The game swung decisively within a minute as Blackburn went agonisingly close twice in the 87th minute when Gallagher raced clear only to see Matt Ingram block his shot and Ennis’ rebound header cleared off the line.

That reprieve left Hull free to deliver the knockout blow a minute later when Alfie Jones picked out another intelligent Connolly run and with just Pears to beat, he showed remarkable composure to roll the ball into the bottom left corner.

The managers

Blackburn’s Jon Dahl Tomasson:

“Extremely disappointed to lose the game. I don’t think we deserved it actually. We can’t ask more from our players, playing with 10 men for more than 80 minutes. Incredible effort.

“We scored a great goal, but conceded two unnecessary goals, straight passes. But just before they scored the second, we had one, two, three chances. The ball was dancing on the line of the opponent.

“It’s always good to see when you lose the game – I hate losing – but when you lose a game and you go off the pitch, and you hear the fans cheering, then you have done something really, really good as a team.

“We can’t expect more playing 80 minutes with 10 men but we created chances even with 10 men, so I think actually we deserved more.

“I think today was a brilliant effort. You can see a team who’s fighting for each other. Great spirit, playing good football, and creating big chances.”

Hull’s Liam Rosenior:

“Aaron’s finish, he’s got that ability in training. He just takes things really early. He took both goals so early so the goalkeeper couldn’t get set and now he’s got three in two.

“We wore them down. If you watch the game back, we made, I don’t know how many, 600 passes. It’s hard with 10 men to defend against 600 passes. It’s no coincidence we score the two goals in the last 10 minutes, because the players stuck to the plan.

“Aaron gets the plaudits, two fantastic finishes. I’ve got Liam Delap who I thought played really well, he can hold the ball up, he can twist, turn and combine. I’ve got Oscar (Estupinan) who is your typical target man, good technically, can hold the ball up.

“Why I really like Aaron in this group is because he stretches teams, runs in behind. That’s what the two goals come from and all of a sudden, Blackburn were used to having Liam stuck in front of them and then you’ve got Aaron on running in behind them and it took them by surprise. Fortunately for us, it worked.”

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