Manucho rescues Hull at the last

04 March 2009 10:03
Brown was quieter than usual last night, spending much of the match in the directors' box, and allowed himself a subtle fist-pump of vindication at the end. There had been little in this game for him to emote about, one way or the other but his side were better organised of late and Manucho, the Angolan striker on loan from Manchester United, applied the decisive blow when he drove home a cross from Richard Garcia in injury-time. Manucho was, crucially, also one of Brown's substitutes, so there was no cause for shows of dissent like Geovanni's last weekend. Brown was hardly as strong as his word, when he had threatened darkly after Sunday's defeat to Blackburn to deal with Geovanni's petulance at being substituted "in-house". So important has the Brazilian's flair to a team sorely lacking such a quality that the manager had no option but to reinstate him after a 72-hour stand-off. Hull supporters were vociferous in taking the player's side, chanting Geovanni's name from the first whistle. He responded in trademark fashion, whipping in a dangerous fifth-minute free-kick that swerved at the last second away from Mark Schwarzer's far post. Not for the first time, he represented Hull's greatest attacking threat as his side quickly ceded momentum to Fulham, who threatened to compound Brown's troubles when Bobby Zamora, after a deft one-two with Danny Murphy, unleashed a fierce drive that flew only fractionally above Matt Duke's bar. Fulham, frustrated, probed for an opening. Clint Dempsey was a creative influence on the left, neatly slipping through Paul Konchesky, who produced the perfect cross for Andy Johnson to meet with a flying, if errant header. Zamora cultivated an even better chance just before half-time, showing fine close control to find Simon Davies in space, only for the Welshman to slew his shot wide. Only the tenacity of Hull's defending was containing Fulham, but still Duke was relatively untested until early in the second half, when he was forced to tip over a fearsome shot from Johnson, connecting with a knock-down from Zamora. Fulham had a speculative claim for a penalty moments later, when Kevin Kilbane resorted to wrapping himself around Zamora as the two attempted to deal with a cross from Konchesky. Despite howls of protest from home fans, referee Mike Jones appeared correct not to award the penalty, instead waving play on to allow Dempsey to go close, hitting the foot of the post from close range after he collected a neat pass from Davies. The American was growing in confidence, and on the next attack dispatched a 20-yard strike that Duke had to tip around the far post at full stretch. As Fulham created wave upon wave of pressure even Konchesky was tempted to try his luck, drawing another fine save from the Hull goalkeeper with his crisp long-range effort. Hull were besieged, and it was all Bernard Mendy could do to clear off the line from Johnson's header. There was still time for Duke to deny Dempsey once more, which at least elicited a smile from Brown. That smile became all the broader for Manucho.  

Source: Telegraph