Hull City started the calendar year with a narrow 1-0 away defeat against Blackpool.
Gary Madine’s first-half penalty was enough for the Tangerines to secure all three points in the Sky Bet Championship.
Grant McCann returned to manage the team following his recovery from Covid and made only one change to the starting XI that faced Nottingham Forest last time out. Callum Elder replaced Mallik Wilks, while the Tigers welcomed Matt Smith, Brandon Fleming and Harvey Cartwright on the substitutes' bench.
Both teams had early chances to take the lead as Keshi Anderson sliced his effort wide, after he was teed up by Josh Bowler, while Daniel Grimshaw saved twice in quick succession. The Blackpool goalkeeper first denied Josh Magennis one-on-one, before acrobatically pushing away George Honeyman’s deflected rebound.
The Tigers’ midfielder was the architect of the next chance of the game as his set-piece delivery found Richie Smallwood, who headed narrowly wide, while Tyler Smith saw his drilled attempt blocked by Marvin Ekpiteta.
Blackpool opened the scoring just past the half-hour mark. After Jacob Greaves was adjudged to have fouled Bowler, Madine stepped up and smashed his penalty straight down the middle. Keane Lewis-Potter searched for an instant response as his strike was flicked around the post by Grimshaw, before the Tigers’ forward saw a second attempt held by the Tangerines’ shot-stopper.
At the other end, Kenny Dougall struck his curled effort just past the left-hand post, while Anderson’s low cross evaded everyone in the penalty area. The Blackpool winger then tested Nathan Baxter, while Tyler Smith wasted a good opportunity from Sean McLoughlin’s lofted pass.
Baxter was called into action early in the second half as he parried Bowler’s volley, before Anderson fired over the rebound from six yards. The hosts pushed for a second as Shayne Lavery saw his shot blocked by McLoughlin, while Madine headed wide from Anderson’s delivery.
Lewis-Potter tried his luck from distance, but his ambitious effort was off target, before Tom Eaves drilled a low shot wide past the post. Blackpool tried to hit the Tigers on the counter late on, but Jerry Yates’ attempt was blocked by McLoughlin.
Grimshaw pulled off two match-winning saves to deny the Tigers in injury time, blocking Tyler Smith’s effort from point-blank range and then thwarting Randell Williams at the back post.
Blackpool (4-4-2): Daniel Grimshaw; Dujon Sterling, Marvin Ekpiteta (C), Richard Keogh, James Husband; Josh Bowler (Callum Connolly 88’), Ryan Wintle, Kenny Dougall, Keshi Anderson (Daniel Gretarsson 88’); Gary Madine, Shayne Lavery (Jerry Yates 72’).
Subs Not Used: Stuart Moore, Demetri Mitchell, Oliver Casey, CJ Hamilton.
Hull City (3-4-1-2): Nathan Baxter; Di’Shon Bernard, Sean McLoughlin, Jacob Greaves; Ryan Longman, Greg Docherty, Richie Smallwood (C) (Randell Williams 71’), Callum Elder (Tyler Smith 16’); George Honeyman; Keane Lewis-Potter, Josh Magennis (Tom Eaves 62’).
Subs Not Used: Harvey Cartwright, Andy Cannon, Matt Smith, Brandon Fleming.
Attendance: 11,300 (1,047 Hull City Fans)