Tigers fight for points

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Hull held off an Everton fightback to continue their recent resurgence with a remarkable 3-2 win at the KC Stadium.

The struggling Tigers raced into a 3-0 lead with goals from Stephen Hunt, Andy Dawson and Dean Marney inside the opening half-hour of a thrilling Barclays Premier League clash.

But Kamil Zayatte gifted Everton a route back into the game in the second half as he scored at the wrong end and then conceded a penalty which Louis Saha converted.

Everton then pressed in a nervous finale but Hull held on to move level on points with David Moyes' side.

It made for a miserable night for the Toffees as news filtered through that their plans for a new stadium had been rejected by the government.

Everton have now won just once in their last seven league games and morale must be as low as Liverpool's ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby.

Hull took time to find their rhythm in the absence of their talisman Jimmy Bullard.

The #5million midfielder was the catalyst for the Tigers' recent encouraging results against Stoke and West Ham and his failure to even make the bench seemed a big blow.

Both sides looked nervous in the opening minutes and Zayatte - in a prelude to his later gaffe - needed two attempts to clear a Leighton Baines cross after miskicking.

But it was Everton who looked the shakier at the back and Hull set the tone for the first half as they broke forward to take a ninth-minute lead.

Geovanni, looking hungry after a suspension and then being left out for Saturday's draw against West Ham, pegged the visitors back by combining well with Hunt on the left.

The Irishman's cross then took a big deflection off Joseph Yobo but Tim Howard reacted well to save at point-blank range as Jozy Altidore controlled and hit a fierce shot.

The danger was still not clear and Hunt was the first to react, racing in to blast home his third of the season from six yards.

Hull were invigorated and dominated the rest of the first half.

Geovanni shot at Howard from long range soon after and the hosts then doubled their advantage on 20 minutes after Yobo fouled Zayatte on the edge of the area.

Left-back Dawson stepped up to curl a superb free-kick over the wall and into the top corner.

Everton almost pulled one back instantly as Sylvain Distin met a Baines corner with a powerful header but it flew just over the bar.

That proved a rare foray forward for the Toffees, who were caught out by another Hull break just before the half-hour.

Baines failed to stop the rampant Hunt crossing from the right and the first of two fortunate deflections in quick succession diverted the ball into Marney's path.

The midfielder struck his shot first time but Howard was wrong-footed as the ball flew in off Tim Cahill.

It almost got worse for Everton before the break as Altidore created a shooting opportunity with a strong run but shot over.

The tone of the game changed within four minutes of the restart as Everton were gifted a goal back.

Repeating his fluffed clearance from the opening minutes of the game, Zayatte this time sliced John Heitinga's cross and the ball spun over Matt Duke into the Hull goal.

Hull almost caught Everton on the break in search of a fourth as Hunt and then Geovanni surged forward but the Brazilian was unable to pick out Altidore.

Everton made the most of that reprieve to launch a long ball forward and claim a crucial penalty after 64 minutes.

Zayatte was again the guilty party with a clumsy challenge on Saha and the Frenchman stepped up to convert from the spot.

Despite the double setback, Hull still refused to sit back and Howard saved well from Richard Garcia's fierce left-foot drive.

It looked like the game could go either way as Cahill blasted over and Duke anxiously grabbed the ball in a goalmouth scramble.

Hull looked shaky in the closing minutes and Geovanni did his best to waste time by walking off slowly when he was replaced by Kevin Kilbane.

A late free-kick outside the area gave Everton a final opportunity but Baines shot into the wall.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Jimmy Bullard
Joseph Yobo
Andy Dawson
Stoke City
Kamil Zayatte
Stephen Hunt
Jozy Altidore
Tim Howard
Premier League
Tim Cahill
Kevin Kilbane
Matt Duke
Richard Garcia
Sylvain Distin
Dean Marney
Hull City
Louis Saha
Leighton Baines
Stephen Hunt

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