Birmingham 0-1 Hull City
Óscar Estupiñán scored his 10th goal of the season as Hull City ended 2022 with a hard-fought win at Birmingham City. The Colombian poacher pounced with 13 minutes remaining to stab home Cyrus Christie’s cross and extend the Tigers’ unbeaten away run to six matches.
Allahyar Sayyadmanesh was handed his first start since recovering from the hamstring injury picked up at Burnley in August as Liam Rosenior made two changes from the Boxing Day draw with Blackpool. Greg Docherty also came in for his 100th league start in black and amber as Ozan Tufan and Ryan Woods – back on his old stomping ground – dropped to the bench.
Before kick-off, both sets of supporters observed a minute’s silence for former Blues academy player Cody Fisher, while there was applause in the 10th minute in honour of Pelé.
The returning Docherty was keen to stamp his authority on the game, robbing Juninho Bacuna high up the pitch before hitting a drive which deflected over. is midfielder partner Regan Slater was then afforded time and space to take aim from 25 yards before pulling a right-footed effort narrowly wide of the upright.
Troy Deeney’s header from Bacuna’s right-cross cross failed to trouble Matt Ingram but the Birmingham captain was responsible for the Blues’ best first-half opportunity on 22 minutes. Ruddy’s long kick was flicked on by Deeney and knocked down by Tahith Chong back to the experienced frontman, whose fizzing first-time strike was pushed away by Ingram.
Ruddy was called upon to make a similar stop low to his right, parrying Sean McLoughlin’s left-footed drive after being picked out by Jean Michaël Seri’s clever free-kick.
A Docherty effort was charged down and deflected wide with Ruddy flat-footed, while the sweetest of strikes from Bacuna, fully 30 yards out, swerved into the grateful arms of Ingram.
Chances were scarce in the first half, with only a combined three attempts on target, but the Tigers started the second period with plenty of intent.
Birmingham City: Ruddy; Sanderson (Jutkiewicz 59’), Roberts, Trusty; Bielik; Colin (Leko 89’), Bacuna (James 78’), Hannibal, Longelo (Graham 59’); Deeney ©, Chong.
Subs not used: Etheridge, Bellingham, Chang.
Hull City: Ingram; Christie, A Jones, McLoughlin, Greaves; Seri, Docherty, Slater (Figueiredo 87’); Longman (Elder 94’), Estupiñán, Allahyar (T Smith 65’).
Subs not used: Lo-Tutala, Tufan, Woods, Simons.
Attendance: 17,868 (1,412 Hull City supporters).