2017/18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Nouha Dicko (55')

Nouha Dicko's goal gives Hull City victory amid fan protests

Nouha Dicko fired Hull to a timely victory as they beat Sheffield United 1-0 against a backdrop of fan protests.

Hull supporters have long been frustrated with the ownership of Assem Allam and their protests spilled onto the pitch with 19.04 on the clock -- marking the year in which the club was formed -- as sponge balls were thrown onto surface and whistles were blown.

Further whistles and chants of "we want Allam out" came on the 30-minute mark, and the fans had little first-half action to support with Evandro coming the closest to breaking the deadlock.

Dicko forced Jamal Blackman into a fine save with a stinging drive from range, before the forward fired in from close range in the 55th minute from the the resulting corner for his 50th goal in English football.

After a slow start, fine work from Dicko set Ola Aina free down and the full-back produced a driven cross for Evandro, whose initial shot was well blocked by Jack O'Connell before Blackman denied the Portuguese forward at the second attempt.

United looked to hit the home side on the counter and and good link-up play between John Fleck and Billy Sharp set Chris Basham free but his strike from 20 yards was well wide.

Hull were inches from taking the lead when Seb Larsson tried to catch Blackman out at his near post with a 35-yard free kick but his effort drifted just wide.

A moment of delay ensued as the protests began, with the home fans throwing yellow stress balls onto the playing surface, as they did during their last home televised match in October.

Sheffield United midfielder Lee Evans played an inch-perfect long pass for centre-back Basham, who made a marauding run into the Hull area and nodded to George Baldock, but he could only fire straight at Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

The Blades nearly snatched the lead on the stroke of half-time when neat play between Basham and Baldock lead to then latter picking out Leon Clarke in the penalty area. He cushioned a pass to Fleck who flashed a half-volley just wide of the post.

Seven minutes after restart, a hopeful long ball upfield from the visiting defence was capitalised on by Sharp as he outmuscled Angus MacDonald, however his strike was straight at McGregor.

Hull responded and forced Blackman into a full-stretch save two minutes later when Evandro laid off for Dicko to drill a shot from 25 yards, which resulted in a corner and the opening goal.

Larsson's inswinging corner was only half-cleared to Evandro on the edge of the area and his miscued strike fell into the path of Dicko who played a neat one-two with Jackson Irvine before scoring.

Chris Wilder's United side struggled to get a foothold in the match after that as Hull defended valiantly, while Kamil Grosicki had two chances to double their lead, failing on both occasions.

English League Championship Standings

1 Norwich City 21 +14 43
2 Leeds United 21 +17 42
3 Sheffield United 21 +10 37
4 Derby County 21 +7 37
5 West Bromwich Albion 21 +14 36
6 Middlesbrough 21 +9 36
7 Nottingham Forest 21 +10 34
8 Aston Villa 21 +9 32
9 Birmingham City 21 +5 30
10 Stoke City 21 +2 30
11 Blackburn Rovers 21 -4 30
12 Swansea City 21 +2 29
13 Bristol City 21 +1 29
14 Queens Park Rangers 21 -6 28
15 Preston North End 21 -3 25
16 Wigan Athletic 21 -6 25
17 Sheffield Wednesday 21 -11 24
18 Brentford 21 +1 22
19 Hull City 21 -9 21
20 Rotherham United 21 -11 21
21 Millwall 21 -9 19
22 Reading 21 -8 18
23 Bolton Wanderers 21 -14 18
24 Ipswich Town 21 -20 11