A sunny afternoon in East Yorkshire saw Hull City and Queens Park Rangers play out a 1-1 draw at the KC Stadium.
The game left a lot to be desired, despite the two sides having promotion ambitions following on from last season, in which both clubs were relegated from the Premier League.
Charlie Austin gave the Hoops the lead in the 26th minute, before Michael Dawson equalised for the Tigers 12 minutes later, but what did we learn from this afternoon’s Championship encounter?
1) Charlie Austin is as clinical as ever
In a game lacking chances and quality, Austin took his one and only chance of the game in controversial fashion.
His header from Tjaronn Chery’s corner was judged to have crossed the line, despite the best efforts of the Tigers defence to clear their lines.
Austin fed off scraps for the visitors, and for the majority of the game found himself isolated due to Hull boss Steve Bruce choosing to pick the same lineup which saw his team leave the Cardiff City Stadium as 2-0 victors on Tuesday. Bruce selected Michael Dawson and Curtis Davies to play either side of his son, Alex, in centre half, with Moses Odubajo and Andy Robertson playing right and left wing back respectively.
The three Hull centre backs dealt with almost everything thrown at them throughout the ninety minutes, but an uncharacteristic mistake from Bruce’s side led to them conceding from a corner due to poor marking, giving Englishman Austin time to head the ball in off the underside of the bar.
Austin’s lack of action throughout the game will not worry R’s fans too much, as the clinical forward took his chance when called upon, and raised his tally for the season to six goals.
2) Abel Hernandez is starting to find his feet in England
Abel Hernandez became Hull City’s record signing on the summer deadline day in 2014 and, having signed for £10 million from Palermo, the Uruguayan international moved to East Yorkshire hoping to hit the ground running.
On his debut for the Tigers, Hernandez scored the opening goal as Hull City drew 2-2 with West Ham United, before crashing a dipping volley off the bar later on in the game.
That performance filled Hull City fans with expectation and a belief that Steve Bruce had found a gem, but Hernandez, who is international team mates with stars such as Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, saw his form drop drastically throughout the season, scoring four league goals in total, and eventually seeing his side relegated from the Premier League during his first season on English shores.
This campaign however has seen Hull City fans witness some of the ability which prompted Bruce to spend £10 million on the pacey striker.
He has netted four goals already this season, and it appears that Hernandez has found confidence in English football.
Despite not scoring today, the 25-year-old has certainly upped his work rate compared to last season, chasing loose balls, and running the channels well. Hernandez could play a huge part in Hull City’s promotion hopes if he keeps up his current work rate, and could finally start to justify the £10 million price tag.
3) Both teams will need to improve if they are to secure promotion
The game lacked intensity and penetration from both sides, who looked happy to settle for a point. The first half provided the goals, the second half provided the boredom.
A first half which saw QPR dominate the ball for large periods showed the weaknesses of both promotion hopefuls – the Hoops failed to create any clear cut chances other than Austin’s goal, whereas the Tigers’ counter attack looked toothless.
The second half lacked any real quality, despite Bruce adjusting his formation by bringing on Arsenal loanee Chuba Akpom, versatile midfielder Shaun Maloney, and tricky winger Ahmed Elmohamady, in search of a win which would have provided the East Yorkshire club with their best home start in 32 years.
Both teams will have to improve drastically if they are to have any chance of promotion back to the Premier League this season.
The result moves Hull City up to third, still six points behind top of the table Brighton and Hove Albion, whereas visitors QPR have dropped down to ninth, equal on points with Reading in sixth, but behind the Royals on goal difference.
Hull and QPR fans… do you agree? Is Austin key to QPR’s promotion hopes? How important will Hernandez be for the Tigers this season? Can both sides win promotion? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!