The wait for an away win under Marco Silva goes on but this felt every inch like one as Hull City garnered another priceless point in their fight for Premier League survival. This was a dire match lit up by a frantic finale with Eldin Jakupovic ultimately proving the Hull hero, with the goalkeeper saving Dusan Tadic’s 90th-minute penalty after Alfred N’Diaye was adjudged to have wrestled Maya Yoshida to the floor by the referee, Mike Dean. No team has conceded more penalties in the top flight this season.
The game exploded into life in the final seconds, with Cedric Soares hacking Oumar Niasse’s effort off the line in added time after Tadic’s penalty was saved. The 1,000 or so travelling supporters sang Silva’s name relentlessly and Hull’s revival under the Portuguese is still very much alive after stopping the rot of five straight away defeats. They were brave in possession and Silva felt he could take plenty of encouragement.
“I want this in our team,” he said when asked about Hull’s intent to attack. “It’s not easy because of the position we are in the table, but this is our football. We play like that at home and away as well. Our players showed big, big courage again. We played very well, more in the first half, but in general in the game. The way we played gives more confidence to our players.”
The pressure is now on Swansea City, three points behind Hull, to get a result against Manchester United on Sunday.
Silva, wearing an open-necked white shirt, stalked the touchline at a sunbathed St Mary’s where Southampton were left chasing shadows for much of this contest, especially that of Kamil Grosicki. He struck the side-netting inside the first couple of minutes before hitting the post with a superb free-kick.
Fraser Forster, the Southampton goalkeeper, was again out of sorts, gifting Lazar Markovic the ball before Steven Davis fouled the Liverpool loanee to allow Grosicki to wrap his right boot around the ball from the edge of the box.
There were few positives to pinpoint for Southampton but Soares’s whipped ball caused a moment’s panic in the Hull back line only for Andrea Ranocchia to ease his countryman Manolo Gabbiadini aside, allowing Jakupovic to collect.
Southampton were tedious in their approach, guilty of overplaying at times and repeatedly second best. Sofiane Boufal’s attempt to nutmeg Sam Clucas was met by groans and a growingly restless home crowd, who booed their team off at the interval and again at full‑time.
“We are angry like the fans and we have to accept this,” Claude Puel, the Southampton manager, said. “Our play was too poor, too slow but congratulations to Hull because it was an important game for them also. It was a poor game for us. We didn’t deserve to win and we are angry because we didn’t do what we needed.”
Puel sought personnel changes shortly before the hour mark, with Gabbiadini, starved of service, and Boufal replaced by the former Hull forward Shane Long and the academy graduate, Josh Sims.
Southampton’s uninspiring performance was summed up by second-half miscommunication between Long and Redmond, with the confusion resulting in Hull moving up the pitch and earning a free-kick. Saints had a couple of half-chances with Davis and Tadic volleying high and wide, but were left shortchanged by a resilient defence, led by Harry Maguire, who was again outstanding. Silva said he predicts the 24-year-old centre-half will have a “big career in the future”.
Hull’s early attacking promise faded a little but they continued to run themselves into the ground. Sometimes, though, it was not enough, as when Long’s pace left Ranocchia in a spin, forcing his partner, Maguire, to clear the danger. Maguire then threw himself in front of the ball to deny Long a simple finish.
Southampton had suddenly come alive. Tadic forced Jakupovic into another smart stop but his party piece was still to come. When Yoshida fell under N’Diaye’s challenge in the box, Tadic stepped up to convert from the spot but Jakupovic dived low to his left to push the ball – and his team – that little bit closer to safety.