Alfie Jones’ penalty secured a deserved shoot-out win for Hull City at Leeds United in the Carabao Cup second round, to set up a trip to West Ham United next Tuesday night in round three.
A 9-8 win in the shootout at Elland Road was nothing more than the visitors deserved for their fine display, full of energy, commitment and no shortage of quality, Alfie Jones showing the composure to send his side through and spark wild celebrations with the winning spot-kick.
A 94th minute strike from Ezgjan Alioski salvaged a completely undeserved equaliser after Grant McCann’s terrific Tigers passed up numerous chances to seal their win in normal time.
His goal cancelled out Mallik Wilks’ fifth minute strike, with City seeing chance after chance to secure the winner pass by in what was a performance which defied their respective league positions.
It all started so well so much earlier in the night for the visitors, who gave a debut to Lewie Coyle amid six changes from the weekend.
Just as they did at Gillingham, the Tigers scored inside the opening five minutes after a relentless opening.
Their high press forced Jamie Shackleton into a mistake just outside his box, Wilks fed Honeyman who took his time, touched the ball back to City’s number seven and he fired into the roof of former Real Madrid gloveman Casilla’s net, albeit with the aid of a deflection.
It was a fast start from the visitors, who were paying no respect to United’s Premier League status – and rightly so.
Leeds had little answer, and it could have been 2-0 just moments later Lewis-Potter saw a shot blocked before Wilks went through only to be thwarted by Casilla.
Lewis-Potter tested Casilla from range with a dipping volley before Wilks pounced on yet more defensive hesitancy to go close.
Honeyman was the architect, enjoying he space offered to him in the middle of the park, orchestrating proceedings.
Lewis-Potter nodded over as City continued to threaten, their energy and press too much for the hosts who looked utterly clueless at the back, and a bit disinterested going forward.
Leeds were not without their half chances, and McCann’s side needed Alfie Jones to thrust his ample frame in front of Casey’s goalbound drive.
Alioski was booked just before the break for a frustrated lunge on the lively Docherty and that summed up the host’s first half, while City turned in one of their best 45 minutes for a long, long time.
Just the 10 shots in the first half summed up the attacking nature of their performance.
The energy and tenacity, the willingness to press Leeds was as intense at the start of the second period as it was the first,
As United threatened to build up a head of steam, it was City who surged back and Docherty tested Casilla from distance with a curling effort.
Docherty once again forced the Spanish stopper into a save, before Scott’s audacious back-heel almost made it 2-0.
Billy Chadwick and Callum Jones were both thrust on for Wilks and Honeyman respectively, both would have deserved a standing ovation, while there was a lively cameo for Thomas Mayer.
Fine work from Scott then set Docherty free, only for his effort to once again be blocked by Casilla.
Just as you feared would happen, Leeds attacked in injury time, City couldn’t find the second goal and Alioski lashed the ball into the roof of Ingram’s net, four minutes into stoppage time.
Talk about heart-breaker. And so to penalties it went, but the Tigers showed the character they had all evening.
After blows were exchanged, Jamie Shackleton’s penalty was saved by Matt Ingram, leaving Callum Jones the chance to fire City into the next round.
Hull City are embarking on a new era in League One, with the side looking to find their feet once more.
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Malik Wilks’ opener inside five minutes. It gave the Tigers confidence and they never looked back.
In truth, the ex-Leeds man probably should have been laying claim to the matchball by half-time, such was the amount of openings he fashioned.
George Honeyman – though, in truth, that crown could have gone to any number of City players on the night. Such was the level of their performance, but everything seemed to go through him. A state clearly Honeyman feels comfortable playing at, given the time and space to exert his authority on the game.
Made 11 changes and would have hoped to see some of his second string and youngsters give him a selection headache or two. As it was, he cut a frustrated figure in the technical area. His voice must resemble a sheet of sandpaper, as he barked his orders and thumped his hips. The penalty shoot-out will have only further annoyed him.
Crewe at the KCOM on Saturday – and the great news on that is there will be 1,000 Tigers fans in to watch it. On the back of this performance and the one at Gillingham, City are right to head into that in confident mood.
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