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City fade badly after such a good start

Swansea City 2 – 1 Hull City (Saturday August 3)

Hull City suffered defeat on then opening day of the new season; beaten 2-1 by Swansea City at The Liberty Stadium.

Things had started so well with Daniel Batty getting the slightest of touches on a Kamil Grosicki shot to give the Tigers a third-minute lead, but Swansea hit back early in the second half with two goals in as many minutes to take the points.

Grant McCann’s first competitive starting eleven with the Tigers allowed Jarrod Bowen to bring up a milestone 100th appearance for the Club as the leading scorer from the last two seasons took up a familiar position on the right side of an attacking three that also included Grosicki and Nouha Dicko.

George Long was handed the gloves while Eric Lichaj wore the captain’s armband in a familiar looking back four, lining up alongside Reece Burke, Jordy de Wijs and Stephen Kingsley who faced his former side. A midfield three featured Kevin Stewart, Batty and Jackson Irvine while summer signings Matt Ingram, Ryan Tafazolli, Josh Bowler and Tom Eaves were included on the bench.

On a typically warm, if not sunny, opening afternoon it was the Tigers who made the perfect start as they took a third-minute lead. Irvine’s clever flick allowed Grosicki to cut in from the left and curl a shot towards the far bottom corner, with Batty claiming a touch on the way through and it was he who ran away to celebrate a first senior goal for the Club.

A really open start to the game soon saw McCann’s men threaten again through Bowen on the counter-attack and when his ball failed to pick out Dicko inside the box, play was brought back for an off-the-ball foul on Lichaj as Swansea’s Bersant Celina went into the book. Bowen floated the resulting free kick straight into the hands of goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.

The home side threatened an equaliser 12 minutes in when Nathan Dyer nodded a deep ball back across goal where Long did well to beat it away before Jay Fulton saw a low effort blocked almost on the goal-line.

Borja Baston headed the Swans’ next chance over the bar but, overall, the Tigers were defending their lead well.

A dangerous low ball in from Grosicki led to Mike van der Hoorn slicing a clearance just wide of his own goal and, from the resulting corner, de Wijs saw a far post header fielded by Woodman.

Bowen fired a low shot straight at Woodman late in the half as the Tigers took their lead into the break.

It didn’t last long after that, though, as Swansea equalised two minutes after half time. Dyer’s low ball in from the right was flicked for Baston to loop a header over Long for 1-1.

Two minutes later, Swansea took the lead. Jake Bidwell’s speculative cross grazed the crossbar and when Dyer knocked it back into the middle, van der Hoorn was there with a near-post header.

Long was forced to make a save from Dyer as Swansea threatened to take the game away from the Tigers, with a further blow coming as de Wijs pulled up injured. He was replaced by Tafazolli.

Long denied Dyer for a second time ahead of a double change that saw Bowler and Eaves replace Grosicki and Dicko.

Eaves soon picked up a booking for a frustrated challenge on Jay Fulton, and goal-scoring chances were few and far between for the away side as the game headed into its final ten minutes.

And so it continued as McCann’s side were unable to find a leveller late on.

Hull City: George Long; Eric Lichaj, Reece Burke, Jordy de Wijs (Ryan Tafazolli 55), Stephen Kingsley; Daniel Batty, Kevin Stewart, Jackson Irvine; Jarrod Bowen, Kamil Grosicki (Josh Bowler 68); Nouha Dicko (Tom Eaves 68).

Subs Not Used: Matt Ingram, Jon Toral, Robbie McKenzie, Keane Lewis-Potter.

(Report courtesy of www.hullcitytigers.com)