Championship
BirminghamBirmingham City1HullHull City0
By Ged ScottBBC Sport at St Andrew's
Jon Toral
Arsenal loanee Jon Toral has scored seven times for Birmingham City this season

Ex-Birmingham boss Steve Bruce's hopes of a happy return to St Andrew's were wrecked as Hull lost to a deflected first-half strike from Jon Toral.

Bruce's Tigers had only needed a point to return to the top of the Championship table.

The only goal came on 14 minutes when Toral's low, left-foot drive went in off ex-Blues defender Curtis Davies.

In soggy conditions, Hull hit the woodwork twice through Jake Livermore and Michael Dawson.

Hull were also denied a penalty when Abel Hernandez's second-half shot was blocked by Paul Robinson's arm.

The second half could not quite match the drama of a first 45 minutes, which could have quite easily been 3-3 by the break.

Hull had already wasted a great chance when right-back Moses Odubajo blazed over at the far post before Blues scored.

Toral tried his luck from outside the box and the ball took a wicked deflection off Davies to nestle neatly into Allan McGregor's right-hand corner.

Livermore then cannoned a shot against the post and Dawson's header hit the bar as the visitors searched for an equaliser.

McGregor made a stunning reflex save to deny Clayton Donaldson's overhead kick, before Toral headed just wide from David Cotterill's cross.

After the break, home goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak made a double save late on to deny a fierce left-foot strike from Robert Snodgrass, before also keeping out the follow-up effort from Sam Clucas.

Blues have now won six of their last seven home league games and are within a point of the play-off places.

Key stats

  • Before Thursday's defeat, Hull had lost only once in 2016 - a 1-0 defeat at Burnley in 6 February.
  • Toral's goal was the first Hull had conceded for 477 minutes, during which time they had kept clean sheets at Blackburn, Arsenal (in the FA Cup) and Ipswich.
  • Steve Bruce's side have conceded just 20 goals in 34 league games this season, yet they still do not boast the meanest defence in the division - an honour that belongs to third-placed Middlesbrough (17).
  • Bruce still remains on course to win promotion to the top flight for a second time with Hull, a feat which he achieved with Birmingham in 2002 and 2007.

Match reaction

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett told BBC WM: "We were really good, but we had to be as Hull are a big powerful team who recover their shape very quickly. They're the most complete team in the division.

"We had to ride our luck. They hit the post and the bar and Tomasz Kuszczak made a fantastic save for us in the second half, but we created a lot of chances and could have scored more than one ourselves.

"I was pleased with the way we showed what we can do after Saturday, when I was so annoyed that I did not talk to one of the players."

Hull manager Steve Bruce: "We created enough chances to win two games and we dominated the game really. We did everything but score, then we've lost to a deflected goal.

"When that went in, you're already thinking it's going to be one of those nights. These things happen at this time of year.

"But there's still a lot of points to be played for and a lot of water to flow under the bridge yet. Birmingham have still got all the top sides to come here so I'm sure they'll do us a favour."

Line-ups

Birmingham

  • 29Kuszczak
  • 31Caddis
  • 28Morrison
  • 4Robinson
  • 3Grounds
  • 8Gleeson
  • 6Kieftenbeld
  • 11CotterillSubstituted forDavisat 76'minutes
  • 20Toral
  • 19Maghoma
  • 9Donaldson

Substitutes

  • 1Legzdins
  • 7Fabbrini
  • 17Solomon-Otabor
  • 23Spector
  • 26Davis
  • 30Buckley
  • 32Shotton

Hull

  • 1McGregor
  • 2OdubajoSubstituted forEl Mohamadyat 76'minutes
  • 21Dawson
  • 6Davies
  • 26Robertson
  • 10Snodgrass
  • 14Livermore
  • 8HuddlestoneSubstituted forPowellat 59'minutes
  • 11Clucas
  • 17DiaméSubstituted forDiomandeat 59'minutes
  • 9Hernández

Substitutes

  • 12Maguire
  • 15Maloney
  • 16Jakupovic
  • 20Hayden
  • 22Powell
  • 25Diomande
  • 27El Mohamady
Referee:
Steve Martin
Attendance:
18,105

Match Stats

Home TeamBirminghamAway TeamHull
Possession
Home37%
Away63%
Shots
Home11
Away24
Shots on Target
Home3
Away6
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home7
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Birmingham City 1, Hull City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Birmingham City 1, Hull City 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Robert Snodgrass (Hull City) header from the right side of the six yard box misses to the right.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Abel Hernández (Hull City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Curtis Davies with a headed pass.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. David Davis (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jon-Miquel Toral.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Nick Powell (Hull City).

  7. Post update

    Michael Morrison (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Nick Powell (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Paul Caddis (Birmingham City).

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jon-Miquel Toral (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jonathan Grounds.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Robert Snodgrass (Hull City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jake Livermore.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Ahmed Elmohamady.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Andrew Robertson (Hull City).

  14. Post update

    Jon-Miquel Toral (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Robert Snodgrass (Hull City).

  16. Post update

    Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Hull City. Conceded by Michael Morrison.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Hull City. Conceded by Michael Morrison.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Sam Clucas (Hull City) left footed shot from very close range is blocked.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Abel Hernández (Hull City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

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