Football: Hull, Stoke draw in game of two halves

KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom (AFP) - Former Manchester United team-mates Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce shared the spoils after Stoke City drew 0-0 at Hull City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Hull enjoyed the best of the first hour, with visiting goalkeeper Asmir Begovic producing three fine saves, but Stoke came closest to snatching victory when Ryan Shawcross hit the bar in the latter stages.

The result meant that Hull remained in 12th place in the table, one point and one place above Stoke, who had stunned title-chasing Chelsea 3-2 in their previous outing.

Hull manager Bruce kept faith with the team that had started in Monday's 1-1 draw at Swansea City, while Stephen Ireland and Oussama Assaidi were both drafted into the Stoke line-up by visiting manager Hughes after scoring against Chelsea.

The hosts had beaten Liverpool 3-1 in their previous home fixture and they were the dominant team in a one-sided first half at the KC Stadium.

Begovic had to save smartly from Ahmed Elmohamady and Yannick Sagno, while Curtis Davies planted a downward header narrowly wide from a Tom Huddlestone free-kick.

Hull were also the first team to threaten in the second period, with Jake Livermore volleying just wide, but Stoke could have made the breakthrough moments later when Shawcross was unable to make telling contact with a Marko Arnautovic corner.

Elmohamady thought he had put Hull ahead with around half an hour to play, but his well directed back-post header drew a stunning full-length save from Begovic.

Stoke continued to menace on the counter-attack, however, and they put the ball in the net when Ireland tapped in after Peter Crouch's header was parried by Allan McGregor, only for the flag to go up for offside.

The visitors drew encouragement from the near-miss, and after McGregor plunged to his left to turn away a snapshot from Crouch, Shawcross sent a header against the bar from the resulting corner.

Neither side was able to land a telling blow in the closing stages, leaving both glancing nervously over their shoulders ahead of the busy Christmas period.

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