Mallik Wilks' goal six minutes into the second half looked like being enough to secure Hull City a valuable 1-0 home win over Blackpool on Saturday.
That was until Reece Burke was dismissed for a last man challenge on Ben Woodburn giving the Seasiders the upper hand to equaliser four minutes later and claim a 1-1 draw.
Here, City reporter Barry Cooper looks at some of the big talking points from a second successive League One draw...
Reece wasn’t the man to blame
I felt for Reece Burke in the build-up to the game-changing moment which saw himself sent off and hand Blackpool an unlikely way back into the game.
Until that moment in the 77th minute, City were a goal in front and looked comfortable for it, in all honesty.
Even though Pool didn’t score from the free-kick Burke gave away for his professional foul outside the box on Ben Woodburn, their equaliser did follow four minutes later.
Burke had little option given the situation he was in, Richie Smallwood’s pass was sloppy creating an unnecessary problem which was then hampered by the unfortunate slip from the defender which allowed Woodburn to run clear towards George Long.
In that moment, it was a split-second decision of the proverbial taking one for the team and getting sent off, hoping his team manage to hold out for 15 minutes or allow the Liverpool man to score.
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He opted, and rightly so, for the former hoping that at 1-0 City could just see out the final stages and claim three points.
Unfortunately for Burke, boss Grant McCann and the club, a failure to deal with the most basic of corners allowed Jerry Yates (yes, him again) to tap in from half-a-yard out.
While we can debate all day long about the merits of the sending off unsettling City and giving Blackpool a shot in the arm, we’d be taking away from the fact the defending in that moment was atrocious.
Reece Burke wasn’t the reason City threw away two points here, it was their inability to do the very basics in defence.
Burke now misses Tuesday’s night’s visit of Accrington so one would assume Alfie Jones will step into that role alongside Jacob Greaves, with Burke likely to be back at Fratton Park next weekend.
Chances, chances, chances
At the risk of sounding repetitive week after week, once again City have failed to take maximum points, not because the opposition were better or deserving necessarily – and I mean that with the greatest of respects – but because of their own inefficiency, at both ends.
Once again, the Tigers created plenty of openings and while that might not have translated into shots at goal against Blackpool, there were numerous moments which should have been capitalised on.
Although he scored a fine goal in the second half, Mallik Wilks should really have done better with one in the first half when he dragged an effort wide, and Jacob Greaves missed two outstanding close-range headers.
And because of that profligacy in the final third, you’re always risking leaving yourself open at the back for a sucker punch and that’s exactly what happened when Burke was dismissed and Yates tapped in the equaliser.
We’ve said this before and it needs to be said again; the one reason Hull City won’t get promoted this season is because they are not clinical enough in both boxes when it matters most, and that’s something McCann must rectify – and quickly.
Gavin Whyte hadn’t played a first team game since the 63 minutes he had against Birmingham for Cardiff in mid-December, and although he faded in and out of the game, this was a bright and promising debut.
The 24-year-old, signed from Cardiff on Thursday, showed his intent inside the first ten minutes, taking down a Wilks cross before unleashing an effort at goal.
His link-up play with George Honeyman (terrific again) and Josh Emmanuel (superb again) in the first half was very good, and that continued into the second when the former fed Whyte down the right to cross for Josh Magennis to lay it cleverly off for Wilks to score.
It will take him a bit of time to adjust to being back in League One and with a new set of players under a different manager, but there’s no doubt that the signs for the coming weeks are hugely promising.
Now it remains to be seen what business McCann does in the next couple of weeks, though we do know Dan Crowley is arriving from Birmingham and the manager wants a striker.
Solving the Lewis-Potter situation which is now a full-blown saga is key because there you have a goalscorer that would feed off Whyte’s delivery and then some.
Stuck in a sticky patch...
Over the last few games, Hull City’s form has not been great, has it?
City are ranked 20th in League One with one win in six, or two league wins in eight – however you dress it up, City’s form over the last six weeks or so dating back to the win over Doncaster at the beginning of December is far from ideal.
Because of their form in the early weeks of the season, City had credit in the bank but two draws in a row and those three defeats to end the year have seen that credit largely erased by the chasing back.
On the face of it, form so far this year in 2021 has been alright, a win over Charlton and a point at Sunderland could be considered very good, but the manner of this point has left one or two questions - and frustrations.
Of course there will be bumps in the road, there will be setbacks and there will be problems – what’s important for City is that McCann gets back to finding that resolute defensive shape of the early weeks which saw clean sheets become as regular as a George Honeyman appearance in the Team of the Week.
A week to shape the season?
Which brings me seamlessly on to the final talking point this weekend and that’s the next week.
The media often like to big-up fixtures when in reality it probably isn’t the case, but this week, the importance cannot be underestimated.
Between now and next Saturday night, City will have played Accrington Stanley twice and be on their way back from Fratton Park.
Accrington, prior to Saturday’s defeat to Gillingham were the form team in the division despite a coronavirus break and their visit to the KCOM on Tuesday night is a big one – they still have three games in hand on City and the pair will meet again the following week at the Wham Stadium – a trip City are probably not relishing.
Sandwiched in between those two games with Stanley is Saturday’s trip to Fratton Park, and that really is a big one.
A six-pointer? Yes, quite possibly.
Pompey were winners at City just before Christmas and as I pen these notes, sit a point behind the Tigers in third place and the Blues have a game in hand, though that could all change in midweek.
Without wishing to add too much pressure to what McCann and his staff will already know is an important week, the next three games could go a long way towards shaping what happens in the coming months.