Football - Phillips treble tames Tigers

Kevin Phillips rolled back the years with a hat-trick to keep Crystal Palace's promotion bid on track with a 4-2 win over Hull.

PA Sport

The 39-year-old was a surprise January signing by Eagles manager Ian Holloway and a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up, having previously made six substitute appearances since his move from Blackpool. But he marked his first start in style with a treble to take his tally for the club to five as Palace moved to within a point of Hull, who dropped to third.

Phillips may not have been given the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot had Glenn Murray not missed from 12 yards earlier in the first half.

The former England striker wanted to take that spot-kick, so when referee Mark Haywood controversially awarded Palace a second penalty, there was only going to be one outcome.

Hull keeper David Stockdale denied Murray, the country's top scorer, a 29th goal of the season but he could not keep out Phillips.

Murray's big chance came in the 30th minute after Jonathan Williams collected Dean Moxey's ball into the area and was bundled over by Meyler. Regular penalty-taker Murray stepped up and, although he struck his effort well enough, Stockdale dived to his right to pull off a fine save.

But referee Haywood gave Palace another opportunity right at the end of the first half when the linesman adjudged Murray's shot had hit Jack Hobbs' arm in the area. Hull protested the decision long and hard but Phillips was not to be denied, the veteran frontman smashing his shot down the middle.

Six minutes after the interval Phillips grabbed his second when he collected a pass from Zaha and, despite hitting his shot into the ground, it had enough power to beat Stockdale. And 60 seconds later he completed his hat-trick with a deflected effort from another clever pass from Zaha.

Jay Simpson got on the scoresheet when he headed in Elmohamady's cross in the 73rd minute, but Wilfried Zaha ensured there would be no fightback three minutes later with a neat lob over Stockdale.

David Meyler nodded in Hull's second with moments to go, Robbie Brady providing the cross, but it was not enough.

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