Everton cemented their fifth placed finish with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hull City at the KC Stadium.
An early James McCarthy goal saw the Toffees on their way before Romelu Lukaku crowned his final loan appearance with a goal just after half-time.
Steve Bruce admitted that despite all the glamour of reaching the FA Cup final it has been a distraction in recent weeks so much so that Hull are on a four game win-less run in the league prior to kick-off. The Tigers were looking for a much improved performance from the last one which saw them beaten 3-1 against Manchester United on Tuesday night.
Everton also arrived at the KC Stadium with mixed fortunes of late only picking up one win, albiet against Manchester United, in their last four top flight games. Their final home game of the season saw them give Manchester City a scare but they were however beaten 3-2 by the newly-crowned title winners.
Hull made six changes to the side that got beat at Old Trafford amongst them goalkeeper Allan McGregor now fit following a nasty kidney injury. Elsewhere Paul McShane returned from injury and Sone Aluko played down any fitness concerns surrounding him by starting the fixture while Elmohamady started his 38th consecutive league game for Hull, meaning that he started all the club’s league games this season.
Roberto Martinez made three changes to his starting eleven with starlet Ross Barkley, John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz all rested.
Hull City: McGregor – Figueroa – Davies – Bruce – McShane – Elmohamady – Quinn – Livermore – Huddlestone – Aluko – Jelavic
Subs: Rosenior – Koren – Fryatt – Boyd – Sagbo – Long – Harper
Everton: Howard – Coleman – Jagielka – Distin – Baines – McGeady – Barry – McCarthy – Osman – Naismith – Lukaku
Subs: Robles – Hibbert – Deulofeu – Pienaar – Troare – Alcaraz – McAleny
Hull began slower out of the blocks than the visitors and went behind in the ninth minute. Lukaku combined with Steven Naismith before sending James McCarthy down the left side of the box, despite the returning McGregor getting a hand on the formers shot, he couldn’t prevent it from bouncing into the net.
The game had an unusual feeling to it with the result having no real effect on either side with Hull already securing safety and Everton already guaranteeing a fifth placed finish barring a Tottenham miracle result.
With the real drama on the final day set to take place elsewhere around the county news filtered through to the traveling support that arch-rivals Liverpool had gone a goal down to Newcastle much to their delight.
Sone Aluko had a chance four minutes after going a goal behind but his effort from all of 25-yards was well over the crossbar leaving Tim Howard untroubled.
Naismith then failed to find the target after good work from Gareth Barry before Jake Livermore fired wide after a Nikica Jelavic free-kick had hit the wall.
Seamus Coleman almost had a tap-in at the far post but fellow Irishman Stephen Quinn tracked the defender all the way to deny a certain goal.
Tom Huddlestone so nearly found a bursting Aluko run but the ball just ran through to Howard and the half came to an end with McGregor gathering a close range shot from Lukaku.
The second-half started in similar fashion to the first but this time Lukaku managed to get his name on the scoresheet. The Belgium international shrugged off the defensive efforts of Paul McShane before slotting the ball into the back of the net for his 16th goal of the season.
Matty Fryatt was brought on ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup final in place of Jelavic who received a rousing reception from all corners of the ground.
Aiden McGeady then outpaced Livermore buying himself some time and space but his shot was easily stopped by McGregor in the Hull goal.
The home side had penalty shouts in the 65th minute waved away by referee Howard Webb for a high challenge by Sylvain Distin on Fryatt.
Substitute Liam Rosenior found space on the left-flank before striking a shot straight at Howard before Robert Koren entered into the fray on what could well be his final appearance in the black and amber of Hull. The midfielder, desperate for a final goal, brought about a smart save from Howard as the American tipped his strike beyond the post.
The best chance of the game for Hull came in the closing stages of the game Curtis Davies rose highest from a Huddlestone corner but the Player of the Year couldn’t get his effort on target.
The result mattered little with Hull setting a new club record for their highest ever position and looking to cause an upset in the FA Cup final. Everton meanwhile, said a fond farewell to Romelu Lukaku and recorded their best points tally for 27 years.
Published on May 11 2014 for KingFut.