Hull 2 Wigan 1: Old heads take the heat off Tigers boss Phil Brown
Phil Brown will have a long, hard think before he decides whether to re-open the players’ restaurant, switch the coffee machine and television back on and hand back the darts for the games room. And two seconds later he will restore his players’ ‘privileges’. Brown has tried all sorts to inspire Hull. Last week it was the closure of the players’ restaurant, followed by a walk across the Humber Bridge, but it was the simplicity of turning to experience which brought Hull victory. Brown restored Nicky Barmby to his side as captain, put Kevin Kilbane in as makeshift centre back, asked Geovanni to tackle and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink to lead the line. The Hull manager needed to win this one, even just to put a temporary end to rumours of his pending demise. ‘I’ve done a hell of a lot of soul searching,’ said Brown. ‘It’s important you get the balance right between the pressure on you and pressure on players. Full credit to the players and I mean that. OK, this week they have suffered, but they’ve taken on board what we’re trying to achieve.’ Vennegoor of Hesselink scored his first Hull goal. The Dutchman, who declared the manager’s changes were ‘over-rated’, said: ‘You have to win every week at Celtic and here you have to get a result or you go in the bottom three. You can’t relax.’ Geovanni’s fourth goal of the season, from unlikely winger Kamil Zayette’s cross, settled home nerves, although they were still put to the test in the final three minutes (plus a ridiculous added five) after Scott Sinclair pulled a goal back. Wigan boss Roberto Martinez’s mood will not have been helped by Paul Scharner’s petulant reaction to his withdrawal. Martinez said: ‘In the Premier League you can’t give a two-goal lead to anyone and ruin all your hard work through lapses in concentration.’ HULL (4-1-4-1): Myhill 7; McShane 6, Sonko 6, Kilbane 7, Dawson 7; Zayatte 7; Barmby 6 (Ghilas 64min, 5), Marney 5, Geovanni 7, Hunt 6; Vennegoor of Hesselink 6 (Mouyokolo 90+2). WIGAN (4-1-4-1): Kirkland 6; Melchiot 6, Bramble 7, Boyce 5, Figueroa 6; Diame 6; N’Zogbia 4 (Sinclair 84), Thomas 5, Scharner 6 (Gomez 66, 7), Rodallega 5; Scotland 5. Booked: N’Zogbia, Gomez. Man of the match: Geovanni. Referee: Mark Clattenburg.
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