By William Young, To Hull and Back Podcast
An outstanding individual effort from Jaden Philogene secured back-to-back wins in four days for Hull City as they climbed back into the play-off places of the Championship.
Following on from last Wednesday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham City, the Tigers welcomed Preston North End to a packed MKM Stadium in front of 24,267 fans. Preston haven’t been on the best run of form, but City had struggled in recent weeks to get a home victory.
The game began a bit slower than recent matchups at home, with no shots on target occurring in the first 45 minutes. However, that didn’t stop Philogene from starting the narrative of the game in the eighth minute, when he cut inside and struck a shot only to be blocked.
There were shouts of a penalty waved away for a foul on Philogene shortly after, and Scott Twine sent a free kick just wide of the post not too long after that.
City dominated the majority of the ball in the half, but few opportunities presented themselves. Jean Michaël Seri sent a long-range strike well over, and Philogene hit the side netting with a tame shot. Right on 45 minutes, though, the Tigers really should have been ahead, as a defence-splitting pass from Seri sent Philogene away, but, for some unknown reason to the 24,000-plus in attendance, he didn’t take a shot, and eventually lost the ball. A cross from Twine reached Delap, but he also couldn’t get a shot away.
It was a letdown right on the stroke of half time, as City yet again dominated the play and had chances to score, but just didn’t take them.
And not too long after the second half began, Preston had a big shout for a penalty waved away, as Alfie Jones and Alan Browne seemed to tangle in the box, but stand-in referee Lewis Smith, who had replaced the original official for the match only 30 minutes before kick-off, waved away any protests from the Lilywhites. You’ve seen them given, but it would have been harsh too.
Shortly after, Philogene finally brought about the first save for either keeper, as he once again cut in from the left and struck at goal, only for Freddie Woodman in the Preston goal was equal to it. Jason Lokilo soon also came up with a strike, but it went low past the right-hand post.
Preston soon had another great chance, though, as Liam Millar was found unmarked in the box from a cutback, but Adama Traoré, playing deeper as a result of Tyler Morton picking up a knock at Birmingham, whizzed across the field at seemingly lightning speed and blocked Millar’s shot behind.
Soon, though, Philogene made up for his poor decision-making at the end of the first half with some individual brilliance.
Out on the touchline near halfway, Philogene dribbled past both Jordan Storey and Brad Potts in a single move, before homing in on goal, stumbling slightly, taking the ball wide, and smashing a shot past Woodman and in off the right-hand post. The capacity crowd exploded into life, and Philogene jumped into said crowd to celebrate one of the best individual goals by a City player in a while.
Not long after, City almost doubled their lead, after Philogene went on an almost identical run, but this time cut back to Jacob Greaves, whose shot trickled agonisingly wide.
Preston ditched their more conservative play at this point (after time-wasting from a very early stage), and tried to get back into the game, with Adam Storey dragging a shot wide from the middle of the box, but their best chance fell to the feet of Ched Evans, who had his strike saved by the boot of Allsop.
After an nail-biting six minutes of stoppage time (that ended up going closer to eight minutes), full time finally arrived and the Tigers finally got the home victory that recent performances had deserved, sending City back into the playoff places in the Championship.