Hull climb out of the bottom three after key Middlesbrough win

Southampton come from behind at St Mary’s to end Crystal Palace’s winning run

Harry Maguire scored Hull’s fourth as they beat Middlesbrough 4-2. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/Afp

Harry Maguire scored Hull’s fourth as they beat Middlesbrough 4-2. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/Afp

 

Hull City 4 Middlesbrough 2

Hull climbed out of the bottom three of the Premier League for the first time since October and shoved Middlesbrough closer towards relegation with a thrilling 4-2 win at the KCOM Stadium.

Oumar Niasse and Abel Hernandez gave Hull a two-goal cushion after team-mate Lazar Markovic had cancelled out Alvaro Negredo’s early opener for Middlesbrough in a breath-taking first 45 minutes.

Boro hit back in first-half stoppage-time through Marten De Roon’s controversial header before Harry Maguire headed Hull’s fourth midway through the second period.

Victory was the Tigers’ fifth in six home league games and lifted them two points above Swansea, while Boro, without a league win since December 17, appear destined for a return to the Sky Bet Championship.

The Teessiders played their full part in a pulsating encounter, but are now seven points adrift of safety with eight games remaining.

Hull thought they had drawn first blood, but Niasse was deemed offside when he turned the ball home at the end of a slick move in the third minute and the first blow was landed by Boro two minutes later.

Adama Traore’s low angled cross from the right side of the penalty area was turned home at the far by the unmarked Negredo. It was the Spaniard’s first goal since the end of January and only the visitors’ second in seven league matches.

The Tigers responded well with Kamil Grosicki volleying inches over the crossbar before they equalised in the 14th minute through Markovic, who slammed the ball home from close range after the visitors had failed to clear Niasse’s flick-on from Andrew Robertson’s cross.

A rip-roaring start to the game suggested more goals were in the offing and Hull turned the game on its head in the 27th minute.

Alfred N’Diaye hooked the ball forward and Hernandez’s headed pass fell invitingly to Niasse, who buried his shot under Boro goalkeeper Victor Valdes from 12 yards.

Traore and Negredo combined again as Boro swarmed back on to the offensive and the latter’s shot on the turn was kept out by Hull keeper Eldin Jakupovic before the home side swept into a 3-1 lead.

Maguire’s diagonal ball was crossed first time by Grosicki from the right and with Valdes stranded, Hernandez steered home his fourth league goal of the season.

But Boro refused to surrender. With nothing to lose the Teessiders pushed men forward and they were soon creating further chances.

Rudy Gestede’s header from Stewart Downing’s cross forced Jakupovic into a brilliant reflex save and Negredo curled a left-footed effort a whisker wide.

Boro reduced the deficit in first-half stoppage time in controversial circumstances. Adam Clayton’s corner was nodded on by Ben Gibson and with both De Roon and Traore clearly offside, the former headed home.

Referee Michael Oliver consulted with his assistant and to the disbelief of Hull’s players and fans he allowed the goal to stand.

The second half began in the same frenetic style. Hull midfielder N’Diaye’s angled drive was saved at full stretch by Valdes, but such were their exertions in the first periods, players on both sides were already looking tired.

Hull gave themselves some much-needed breathing space and restored their two-goal cushion in the 70th minute when Maguire stole in unmarked at the far post to head home Robertson’s curling cross.

Maguire’s emphatic finish, from a tight angle, appeared to take the wind from Boro’s sails.

Niasse blazed an angled shot over the crossbar and although the visitors battled gamely until the end, their best efforts foundered on the edge of Hull’s area as the home side held on for three more vital points.

Southampton 3 Crystal Palace 1

Maya Yoshida and James Ward-Prowse scored within a minute of each other in the closing stages to hand Southampton their first home win since January as they came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 on Wednesday.

Both tucked chances away from close range as Southampton finally reaped reward after creating a myriad second-half chances.

Defeat for the visitors ended their run of four successive wins, which included victory at leaders Chelsea on Saturday, and saw Palace stay 16th, just three points above the drop zone.

Christian Benteke opened the scoring in the 31st minute but, shortly after having a penalty appeal turned down, Southampton equalised when Nathan Redmond finished in the bottom left-hand corner at the end of Steven Davis‘s delivery.

Southampton, whose last success at St Mary‘s Stadium came against champions Leicester on Janunary 22nd, saw Ward-Prowse and Shane Long go close as they dominated the second half, despite Palace hitting the crossbar with a hook shot from Martin Kelly in the 65th minute.

Japan international Yoshida stole in at the back post to put Southampton ahead in 84th minute after Redmond‘s trickery and pace set up the chance and then Dusan Tadic delivered an inch-perfect pass less than 60 seconds later for Ward-Prowse to seal the victory.

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