Bullard celebrates his equaliser by mocking Phil Brown's team talk at Eastlands
By Sam Lyon
Jimmy Bullard scored an 82nd-minute penalty to earn Hull City a precious point and ensure a seventh successive top-flight draw for Manchester City.
Shaun Wright-Phillips opened the scoring in a largely uninspiring match when his speculative shot deflected in.
But City failed to build on it and only Joleon Lescott's goalline clearance denied Richard Garcia an equaliser.
Hull were not to be denied, though, and Kolo Toure fouled Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink to allow Bullard to level.
It was no more than the Tigers deserved from a resolute away performance, but it is sure to build pressure on Mark Hughes, whose Manchester City side have yet to click into gear this season despite hopes of a top-four finish following their huge recent transfer outlay.
Brown hopes 'ghost of Eastlands' exorcised
The Welshman may well point to the contentious award of Hull's penalty, given for Toure's clumsy rather than cynical challenge on Vennegoor of Hesselink late in the piece.
But in truth his side just failed to fire at a freezing cold Eastlands.
For Hull, it was a return to the scene of last season's now infamous Phil Brown team talk on the pitch at half-time of their 5-1 reverse.
However, with only four survivors from that match in the starting XI and on the back of a run of seven points in three games, Hull looked an entirely different prospect from that encounter.
With Stephen Hunt and the influential Bullard typifying the Tigers' work-rate in midfield, the first half was a largely forgettable affair - and that suited the visitors just fine.
The return of Robinho after three months out injured was expected to provide Manchester City with a real verve to their attacks, but a combination of Hull's defence and a lack of inspiration ensured away keeper Matt Duke had little to do.
Stephen Ireland and Robinho both sent half-decent efforts past the woodwork, while Carlos Tevez should have done better when he was set clear by Emmanuel Adebayor, only to plant a tame shot straight at Duke.
But despite long periods chasing the ball, Hull rarely looked overawed.
And so it was a bitter pill to swallow when, in first-half injury time, Wright-Phillips's speculative effort from range deflected into the corner of the net off Anthony Gardner's head for the opener.
Hughes admits Man City suffering 'anxiety'
Still, Hull emerged from the break - spent in the dressing-room this time around - unbowed, and they almost drew themselves level within a few minutes.
Jozy Altidore was the creator, his lay-off finding Garcia, whose clipped effort beat the onrushing Shay Given, but not Lescott who cleared off the line.
As with the first half, clear-cut chances were at a premium. Robinho and Wright-Phillips were a constant source of concern for the Hull defence, but with Tevez and Adebayor largely anonymous, City looked toothless in attack.
Not that Hull were much of a threat themselves, the away side content to frustrate the hosts and look to pinch something on the break.
It was a gameplan that worked to the letter, substitute Vennegoor of Hesselink earning the crucial breakthrough when he went down under Toure's challenge looking to get on the end of Garcia's flick-on.
Bullard dispatched the penalty with aplomb - and promptly proceeded to celebrate by re-enacting Brown's half-time team talk in front of the away faithful.
With just minutes remaining there was no time for a real home rally, and the result means Brown's side have earned more points in their last four games - eight - than Manchester City have in their last seven.
Manchester City boss Mark Hughes: "Of course it is a disappointing run we're on, because we're failing to see out victories when we have the lead.
We're trying to get something started here but at times we look exactly what we are, a side that has been thrown together very quickly. That means we'll have bad days among the good ones.
"But we're still very much in touch with the teams at the top of the league. We've just got to keep going and the wins will come."
Hull City manager Phil Brown: "That's a good point for us. Manchester City, with all the money they have spent, is never going to be an easy place to come to.
"I was delighted with our second half display in particular. We worked hard and, when the game is only 1-0, you always feel like you've got a chance - especially when you're playing a team who have drawn six on the bounce.
"We thoroughly deserved our equaliser and, looking at the replay, it looks a foul. It's testimony to the lads that we got something here - it shows the spirit we have. All the players are 100% behind the cause, that's for sure."
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