Hull City were relegated from the Premier League after drawing 0-0 with 10-man Manchester United at the KC Stadium on the final day of the season.
Steve Bruce knew he needed to oversee a first victory over United in his managerial career if Hull were to have any chance of escaping the drop at Newcastle United’s expense – as they did in 2009.
Newcastle’s 2-0 victory over West Ham ultimately ensured even a win would not have been enough for Hull, who were unable to find a breakthrough on Sunday despite United substitute Marouane Fellaini’s 77th-minute sending-off.
Fellaini received a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Paul McShane, but there was still no way through for Bruce’s men – FA Cup finalists 12 months ago in their first season back in the top flight.
Hull – who had seen two goals disallowed for offside in quick succession during the first half – will now return to the Championship, having lost half of their Premier League games this term.
United, meanwhile, end their maiden campaign under Louis van Gaal fourth, albeit 17 points behind champions Chelsea, and another close-season of heavy investment appears likely as the Old Trafford club aim to become genuine title contenders once again.
An unchanged Hull started brightly and Dame N’Doye forced a routine second-minute save from Victor Valdes, making his first start in goal for United having replaced the injured David de Gea against Arsenal last weekend.
A swift response from United, who were without Radamel Falcao through injury, saw Wayne Rooney graze the crossbar from 20 yards, but Hull continued to look the more threatening early on and saw two goals ruled out in quick succession.
McShane was correctly adjudged offside as he poked the ball home from close range in the 18th minute after Valdes had spilled a free-kick.
Valdes then made a stunning save, diving to his left to keep out a firm header from Ahmed Elmohamady, before Hull were again denied by the assistant referee’s flag when N’Doye turned home a goalbound shot from Stephen Quinn.
The remainder of the first half passed by with little incident, aside from the injury-enforced withdrawal of Angel di Maria, before United’s Ander Herrera spurned a chance to convert an Ashley Young cross in stoppage time.
Herrera and Hull’s David Meyler wasted opportunities early in the second period and, as news of Newcastle opening the scoring against West Ham filtered through, the hosts were left facing an increasingly desperate situation.
After another effort from Herrera had drifted narrowly wide on the hour, Hull almost capitalised on a goalmouth scramble sparked by another error from Valdes – who missed the ball when attempting to clear a corner and instead made contact with Rooney’s head.
To his credit, Valdes responded with a second superb stop in the 73rd minute, as he showed outstanding reactions at his near post to claw away a shot from Nikica Jelavic.
Hull substitute Abel Hernandez was fortunate not to be sent off for punching Phil Jones in the stomach prior to Fellaini’s dismissal, but the knockout blow was delivered when Newcastle scored their second at St James’ Park to end Hull’s stay in the Premier League.
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