Gareth McAuley helps West Brom to victory against lowly Hull
IN-FORM West Brom accepted Hull's gifts to pile more misery on the Tigers.
Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley cashed in on errors before James Morrison clinched a 3-1 win for the Baggies at the Hawthorns. Robert Snodgrass had given Hull a first-half lead, but the Tigers beat themselves during a second half littered with costly defensive mistakes.
Brunt and McAuley were gifted free headers and Mike Phelan's side are without a win in nine games and remain second bottom in the Premier League, three points from the safety line.
In contrast, the upwardly mobile Baggies sit eighth, having won six of their last 10 outings to set their second-best points haul in the top flight after 20 games, 29. It was a fine comeback after a first half which Hull dominated, despite having failed to win away in the league since August.
They defied expectations with a calm and collected start and Snodgrass' 13th-minute free kick, which Ben Foster spilled, threatened to bring the game to life. Michael Dawson lashed a half-volley wide after a corner had fallen kindly to him before Hull deservedly opened the scoring after 21 minutes.
Jake Livermore produced a brilliant 40-yard pass out wide to Ahmed Elmohamady, who in turn found the onrushing Snodgrass to slide in the visitors' first away league goal since October from eight yards.
It was deserved and Hull continued to look comfortable, with West Brom failing to match the heights which saw them earn a 2-1 win at Southampton on Saturday. Rondon headed straight at David Marshall after 34 minutes, while Dieumerci Mbokani did the same at Foster four minutes later.
Albion, who also lost Jonny Evans to injury before the break, stuttered, but Matt Phillips did at least force a smart save from Marshall with a glancing header before Hull threatened again. Mbokani spotted Adama Diomande in the area, but McAuley produced a goal-saving challenge before the ball fell to Tom Huddlestone and Foster turned his drive wide.
Hull were good value for their lead at the break, but undid all their fine work with one piece of slack marking as the Baggies levelled just three minutes into the second-half. The Tigers had been defensively sound, but fell apart when they allowed Brunt to arrive unmarked and thump in a far post header from Phillips' corner.
It sparked a turnaround as the confidence ebbed away from the visitors and they were behind after 63 minutes after making another mess of a corner. Phillips again delivered and McAuley rose from 10 yards to head goalward. He saw his effort blocked by Sam Clucas, but the midfielder was standing behind the line and video technology saw the goal awarded.
And it got worse for Hull 10 minutes later when they failed to deal with Hal Robson-Kanu's cross and Morrison's scuffed half-volley crept into the corner. Dawson almost pulled a goal back when his header was saved by Foster, but Hull never looked like mounting a comeback.