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Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Sunday, 24 May 2009 17:58 UK

Hull 0-1 Man Utd

By Ian Hughes

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Brown leads Hull celebrations

Hull survived relegation from the Premier League by the skin of their teeth as they lost to Manchester United but results elsewhere went their way.

Darron Gibson's stunning 20-yard drive was enough to give United victory over Hull, who looked nervous throughout.

But Newcastle lost at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough were beaten by West Ham, which condemned both north-east sides to the Championship next season.

The Tigers barely troubled United but will be able to try again next season.

The final whistle sparked scenes of wild celebration at the KC Stadium as Hull's relief and joy overwhelmed them after a campaign which must be deemed satisfactory overall following their promotion via the play-offs last season.

Their early success - which included a win at Arsenal - had encouraged the club to believe they would escape a torrid end to the campaign.

Instead, they fell away badly and entered the final match of the season clinging on to hopes that they could take advantage of a weakened United line-up.

We deserve to stay up - Brown

With Sir Alex Ferguson's men already crowned Premier League champions and set to contest the Champions League final against Barcelona on Wednesday, the Scot was always going to rest his most important players.

Ferguson retained only Darren Fletcher, who will miss the Rome showpiece because of suspension, from the side that drew 0-0 with Arsenal to seal the title.

Hull boss Phil Brown, however, had insisted his team would be focused only on victory and not United's team sheet.

Ironically, Brown's own team selection was also determined by United as Alberto Manucho had to be left out because the on-loan striker was ineligible to play against his parent club - Dean Marney took his place in the only change to Hull's starting XI.

606: DEBATE
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Given that Brown's side had managed only one win in their last 21 league games, their task was never going to be easy.

Hull started brightly and two crosses from Geovanni caused momentary panic in the United defence, which was lacking the injured Rio Ferdinand, who must now be considered a big doubt for Wednesday.

But their play generally lacked conviction and soon United's youngsters began to settle into the match.

United probed with a Nani free-kick before a lunging Lee Martin was close to converting a low cross and Danny Welbeck wasted a good headed chance.

Then came the hammer blow that all Hull fans had feared when Gibson smashed home a ferocious shot into the far corner and United should have doubled their lead soon after but Federico Macheda could not convert Martin's centre.

Macheda also shot wide after working space well, and Wellbeck did similarly after a long run, while Hull's only efforts of note were a Michael Turner header over the bar and a stinging shot from Andy Dawson that Tomasz Kuszczak palmed away.

Yet while home supporters were seeing little to make them cheer, they soon heard some news that had them roaring their approval as Villa took the lead against Newcastle.

Chairman salutes Hull's 'incredible' season

The optimism in the stands seemed to transmit itself to the Hull players and Nicky Barmby tried his luck with a volley but United soon regained the upper hand, with the home side reduced to playing on the break.

The hard-running Craig Fagan tried his best to create an opening but there was little thrust from his team-mates.

United carved open Hull with a fluid move and Macheda should have done better than to blast wide from inside the box, then Richard Eckersley fizzed a shot narrowly wide of the post.

Hull did manage to muster a little more of an attacking threat and Turner's looping header almost caught out Kuszczak but the nerves intensified as Nani sent in a shot which Myhill turned around the near post.

However, there was to be no more scoring at the KC Stadium and, more importantly for Hull, no more scoring at Villa Park, which ensured Hull's escape.


Hull: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Kilbane, Dawson, Garcia (Cousin 81), Marney, Boateng, Barmby (Mendy 68), Geovanni (Folan 54), Fagan.
Subs Not Used: Duke, Hughes, Halmosi, Zayatte.

Booked: Barmby, Marney.

Man Utd: Kuszczak, Rafael Da Silva (Eckersley 60), Neville, Brown, De Laet (Possebon 79), Nani, Fletcher, Gibson, Welbeck (Tosic 87), Martin, Macheda.
Subs Not Used: Amos, Corry Evans, Drinkwater, James.

Booked: Gibson.

Goals: Gibson 24.

Att: 24,945

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Darron Gibson 7.61 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
Hull deserved to stay up - Brown
24 May 09 |  Premier League
Premier League as it happened
24 May 09 |  Football
Premier League photos
24 May 09 |  Premier League


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Malta Independent Daily Football - English football: Newcastle, Middlesbrough relegated - 24 hrs ago
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