Hull overcome Niasse red card to beat Watford

Sam Clucas' stunning strike was just his second goal of the season

Ten-man Hull City claimed a gutsy victory against Watford to ensure they remain outside the relegation zone and in control of their Premier League destiny.

The hosts endured a nightmare first half at the KCOM Stadium, the nadir coming when striker Oumar Niasse was shown a controversial straight red for a challenge on M'Baye Niang in the 25th minute.

Marco Silva's side also saw a decent penalty appeal turned down, but kept their composure in the second period to stun the visitors.

Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic was key to the win, tipping over from Sebastian Prodl in the first half and then producing a point-blank save to keep out Etienne Capuoe just a minute before Hull took the lead.

The breakthrough came when a quick break ended with Kamil Grosicki crossing for Lazar Markovic to fire in on the rebound after his header came back off the bar.

Sam Clucas made sure of the points with a superb shot from distance, the midfielder controlling 25 yards from goal and firing ferociously beyond the reach of Heurelho Gomes.

The win keeps Hull two points above the drop zone after Swansea's win over Stoke, while Watford remain in 10th place.

Cornered Tigers come out fighting

Referee Bobby Madley's decision to send off Niasse for his challenge on Niang threatened to overshadow the contest.

The dismissal came as a huge shock to the on-loan Everton striker, who undoubtedly caught the Watford midfielder although the contact appeared to be light.

On the touchline Hull boss Silva was apoplectic, and his mood was not improved by Madley turning down a penalty appeal just before the break when Grosicki was caught from behind by Nordin Amrabat as he shaped to shoot.

Silva decided against confronting the official at half-time, instead focusing his efforts on things he could control, namely adding bite to his depleted attack by throwing Abel Hernandez into the action in place of Evandro.

The change gave the 10 men a better shape, but when the breakthrough came it was their two wingers who combined to superb effect, Grosicki's bouncing cross met with a clever header by Markovic that came down on the line but needed following up by alert Serb.

As long as Hull's lead was just one goal it looked fragile, so when when Clucas unleashed his thunderous effort 19 minutes from time the joy and surprise of the moment was matched by a huge sense of relief both on the pitch and in the stands.

More to follow.

BBC

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks