Debut goals from Tigers pair Abel Hernandez and Mohamed Diame were only good enough for a draw against West Ham as a Curtis Davies own-goal ensured the spoils were shared in a breathless encounter at the KC Stadium last night.
The home side lost the lead twice, club record signing Hernandez getting the ball rolling with an impeccable first-half header and Diame restoring the advantage against the side he left on transfer deadline day.
In between, Enner Valencia had marked his first league start with a blockbuster strike from 25 yards and the 2-2 draw was settled when Diafra Sakho’s modest shot evaded Allan McGregor, only for Davies to bundle over his own line.
“What a goal from Valencia — that’s why we bought him, it was a terrific strike with brilliant power and accuracy,” said Allardyce after the game.
Valencia almost won it in added time when his header rebounded off Dawson’s shoulder and rattled the crossbar, but that might have been harsh on the home side.
Hull can be particularly pleased with the contribution of Hernandez, who also clattered the woodwork in a display that looked a good down payment on the £9.5million sent Palermo’s way, while Diame was desperate to impress against his former employers.
West Ham, meanwhile, can rightly be enthused by the forward pairing of Diafra and Valencia, who showed real understanding on their first outing together.
It was, in many ways, a shame for the match to be settled by the messiest goal in four, and McGregor in particular will be aggrieved having made two fine saves in the match.
McGregor was partially redeemed when he pawed Sakho’s header out from under the crossbar, but Hull’s attempts to push for the win — in the shape of two more debutants, Gaston Ramirez and Hatem Ben Arfa — came to nothing.
Instead the Hammers almost stole it, Valencia’s header coming off Dawson and hitting the bar.
McGregor, Elmohamady, Dawson, Davies, Robertson, Livermore, Huddlestone, Diame (Ramirez 79), Quinn (Brady 58), Jelavic, Hernandez (Ben Arfa 79).
Adrian, Demel (Jenkinson 76), Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Downing, Zarate (Song 62), Sakho (Amalfitano 87), Valencia.