Hull City 0 Norwich City 0: Canaries held on Humberside but stay top
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Norwich City were held to their first goalless draw of the Championship season in a 0-0 stalemate on Tuesday night at Hull City.
Both sides struggled to master the atrocious weather with heavy rain and gales swirling around the KCom Stadium.
Tom Trybull had the best two chances for the visitors in either half but Daniel Farke’s men were unable to find a breakthrough after a prolific recent spell in front of goal.
Norwich remained top of the table, a point clear of Leeds who beat Reading 1-0 at Elland Road, while nearest rivals at kick off Middlesbrough drew 1-1 at Preston.
Trybull got the nod for the injured Moritz Leitner (calf) in the one change to the Norwich side that hammered Swansea City on Saturday.
Hull appeared keen to start on the front foot in the foul conditions. Max Aarons had a posse of Hull players to contend with when Tim Krul tried to work a ball into the young full back’s chest. Aarons was then squared up by Kamil Grosicki, who whipped in a cross Chris Martin headed at the Canaries’ keeper.
Emi Buendia carved a first time shot over from Teemu Pukki’s pass, with the visitors playing into the teeth of the gale in the first quarter.
Farke, however, defied the elements to direct operations from the front of his technical area. The Norwich head coach had the perfect view of an intriguing duel between Grosicki and Aarons. The Polish international escaped the youngster’s attentions in the 11th minute but Timm Klose sensed the danger to clear a cross arrowing towards Jackson Irvine.
Perhaps a visible sense of Aarons’ unease was his rash sliding challenge that upended Jarrod Bowen. Given the England Under-19 was teetering on the edge of a one game suspension prior to kick off there was palpable concern when referee Eltringham summoned him for what turned into a stern lecture rather than a fifth booking of the season.
Farke’s pre-match warning not to underestimate the relegation-threatened Tigers appeared wise counsel. Nigel Adkins’ strugglers were popping the ball about with an increasing assurance and Buendia’s sliding challenge had to be perfectly timed inside his own area to halt Bowen.
Onel Hernandez provided extra insurance in front of Jamal Lewis on the left flank, with Hull carrying a growing threat on the counter.
Grosicki looked the man most likely for the visitors in the opening 30 minutes. Another check inside Aarons and teasing cross was mis-judged by Klose, but the stooping Bowen was unable to test Krul at the far post.
Norwich replied in kind in the 35th minute when Hernandez led the break out before his deflected shot landed at the feet of Tettey who tested Marshall from long range.
That was the signal for Farke’s side to move through the gears; Marco Stiepermann an increasingly influential figure prior to the interval.
The German picked out compatriot Trybull who turned and hit in one flowing motion. Marshall appeared late on the shot but the ball squirmed through his hands and bounced wide of the far post.
Hernandez was the next to profit from a slaloming Stiepermann run, but darting back into traffic proved the wrong call.
Hernandez attempted the same trick moments later and from the resulting corner Trybull rose highest inside the Hull six yard box only to head his effort over the bar.
The Canaries were moving the ball much quicker than the majority of a stodgy opening period in testing conditions. Buendia burst into the box onto yet another Stiepermann pass and when Tettey was upended attempting to control his cut back, the attacking midfielder curled a free kick at Marshall.
Hull needed to up the ante after the half-time interval and Grosicki obliged with a fearsome shot confidently gathered by Krul.
Bowen then slashed a right-footed shot wide at the far post after the Canaries committed an alarming number of men up the field.
Markus Henriksen then rifled over the top with Trybull unable to get close enough to smother the attempt.
Trybull was struggling to make the most of his audition in the absence of Leitner and that was underlined in the 70th minute when was left unmarked but miscued Aarons’ superb cross eight yards out.
It was his final act. Mario Vrancic was introduced to try and stem Hull’s flow, with Todd Cantwell replacing Hernandez minutes later.
Vrancic’s vision almost carved out a chance for the on-rushing Aarons in the 80th minute but Marshall was out to smother the Bosnian’s probing pass.
Farke’s men mustered a sustained spell of possession as the clock ticked into stoppage time but Buendia’s bouncing half-volley that dropped wide was the sum total of their efforts.
• Hull City: Marshall, Lichaj, Burke, Stewart, Grosicki, Irvine, Kane, Bowen, Henriksen, Martin, Elphick. Subs (not used): Long (GK), Mazuch, de Wijs, Keane, Fleming, McKenzie, Sheaf.
• Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Klose, Lewis, Tettey, Trybull (Vrancic 73), Buendia, Stiepermann (Srbeny 86), Hernandez (Cantwell 76), Pukki. Subs (not used): McGovern (GK), Godfrey, Marshall, Rhodes.
• Added on time: 0 minutes / 5 minutes
• Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Co Durham)
• Attendance: 11,420