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  • Hull City 0-1 Sunderland: Bent scored, Altidore sent-off

    Hull City were left on the brink of relegation from the Premier League after Darren Bent gave Sunderland a 1-0 win with both sides reduced to 10 men at the KC Stadium.

    Hull's defeat, coupled with West Ham's 3-2 win over Wigan at Upton Park, ensured that Iain Dowie's side lies six points from safety with a vastly inferior goal-difference to their relegation rivals as Bent dealt a crushing blow to the Tigers' faint survival hopes.

    The Sunderland striker opened the scoring in just the seventh minute to net his 24th goal of the season from close range, before Jimmy Bullard slammed his penalty-kick against the post in the 41st minute to squander the chance to equalise.

    Both sides were then reduced to 10 men after Alan Hutton petulantly threw the ball at Jozy Altidore's head, which prompted the American to head-butt the defender, and the pair were each shown the red card in a feisty altercation to end the first half.

    Dowie made sweeping changes to the side beaten 2-0 by Aston Villa in midweek as the absence of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink prompted a switch to a 4-4-2 formation with Caleb Folan and Altidore handed starting berths in attack.

    Sunderland unleashed an early onslaught as Hull were pushed firmly under the cosh, and two glorious opportunities were wasted inside the opening four minutes.

    Steed Malbranque hurteld down the left at pace and cut the ball back for the onrushing Jordan Henderson, but the midfielder skewed his shot wide of the near post from inside the Hull box in the third minute.

    Seconds later, the roles were reversed: Henderson forced his way to the byline down the right, but his pass back to Malbranque saw the winger ghost between two defenders to find room in the Hull box, but he blazed his shot over the bar wildly.

    Bent then showed the pair how to finish clinically as he stole in at the back post to convert a loose ball after Kenwyne Jones had climbed high and headed back across the six-yard box as Hull defended shoddily.

    Hull were initially subdued after falling behind, but the hosts forced an opportunity to level the scores in the 40th minute as Geovanni latched on to a loose ball after Folan challenged with Michael Turner, and the Brazilian took an exaggerated tumble to win a penalty.

    Bullard, who had been booed intermittently and was virtually anonymous, stepped up and slammed his effort against the post with Gordon having guessed correctly and looking to have had it covered regardless as the chance to equalise went begging.

    Hutton made a stunning intervention just before the break as the defender ended Folan's run abruptly with a last-ditch challenge as the forward charged through to the edge of the Sunderland box in ominous fashion.

    But the Scot made a less than positive contribution on the stroke of half-time as he threw the ball at Altidore's head out on the touchline, and the Hull striker reacted with a head-butt as both players were shown the red card as a chaotic melee ensued. The American's reaction was vicious and inexcusable, but Hutton will have felt harshly treated, as did the irate Steve Bruce.

    Both managers were forced to make changes as a result of the two dismissals, and one of those to make way was Bullard, whose dismal afternoon took yet another turn for the worse.

    The atmosphere was one of anxiety and frustration at the KC Stadium, and the hosts were only able to muster very fleeting openings in the Sunderland half with clear-cut chances very sparse.

    Andy Dawson drove a low shot from the edge of the Sunderland box which took a vicious deflection in the 71st minute, but again the excellent Gordon adjusted his footing to parry the ball away to safety.

    Craig Fagan had a decent opportunity from the edge of the Sunderland box as fellow substitute Mark Cullen's cut back from the left fell invitingly at his feet, but the forward sliced his shot tamely wide 10 minutes from time.

    Bruce, who was left seething after Hutton was shown the red card at the end of the first half, continued his protestations throughout the second, and referee Lee Probert finally had enough in the 81st minute as he send the Sunderland boss to the stands.

    Hull's fate is all but sealed as a result of the defeat, and Dowie was a desperately despondent figure on the touchline as the full-time whistle all but spelled the end of the Tigers' spell in the top-flight.
    Dan Quarrell / Eurosport


    Team Line-up:
    Hull: Duke, Mendy, Gardner, Mouyokolo, Dawson, Barmby, Boateng, Bullard, Geovanni, Folan, Altidore. Subs: Myhill, Fagan, Cullen, Kilbane, Sonko, Olofinjana, Cairney
    Sunderland: Gordon, Hutton, Turner, Kilgallon, Richardson, Campbell, Henderson, Meyler, Malbranque, Bent, Jones. Subs: Carson, Bardsley, Da Silva, Zenden, Mwaruwari, Cana, Ferdinand


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