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Folan gives Hull a dream start

SoccerNews in English Premier League 16 Aug 2008

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Hull celebrated their first ever Premier League match in style as Caleb Folan's late goal clinched a 2-1 win over Fulham on Saturday.

Phil Brown's side were playing among English football's elite for the first time in their 104-year history and Folan sent a sold-out KC Stadium home happy.

The Tigers got off to a rocky start when South Korea winger Seol Ki-Hyeon fired Fulham into an early lead with his first goal for the west London club.

But Hull, who won promotion via the play-offs, refused to be overawed by the step-up in class and equalised through Geovanni before Folan's winner in the final minutes.

Brown gave debuts to Anthony Gardner, Geovanni, George Boateng and Marlon King, with fellow new-boys Craig Fagan, Bernard Mendy and Peter Halmosi on the bench.

With record signing Andrew Johnson sidelined due to a thigh injury, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson gave a debut to Bobby Zamora.

Fulham created the first opportunity as Seol surged past Michael Turner on the left, but Simon Davies was unable to convert his cross.

Hull went even closer when Geovanni met Richard Garcia's flick with a goalbound header that Australian keeper Mark Schwarzer clawed away. Schwarzer then recovered well to scramble clear Ian Ashbee's follow-up.

The Cottagers took full advantage of that escape as Seol struck in the eighth minute.

Jimmy Bullard was given plenty of time to cross from the right wing and Seol burst into the penalty area to beat Boaz Myhill with a perfectly-placed header into the far corner.

Davies twice went close to increasing Fulham's lead but Hull equalised in the 22nd minute with a magnificent strike from Geovanni.

The Brazilian, who joined from Manchester City in pre-season, made a surge towards goal from the right flank and curled a left-footed shot past Schwarzer from 20 yards.

Geovanni's strike sent a wave of confidence surging through Hull. They were suddenly a more dynamic force and Nick Barmby headed just wide from a Sam Ricketts cross late on in the half.

Fulham winger Zoltan Gera wasted an excellent opportunity within two minutes of the restart when he beat the offside trap, but scuffed the ball harmlessly wide from 10 yards.

Geovanni missed a glorious chance to give the home side the lead when he sliced wide from six yards after latching onto Barmby's cross.

The hosts continued to threaten and Garcia forced Schwarzer into a fine low save after good work by Halmosi.

Fulham were fading fast and Hull snatched the winner with nine minutes left.

Fagan robbed Paul Konchesky near the byline and unselfishly squared the ball for Folan to slide the ball into an empty net.

Hull finished down to 10 men after Boateng hobbled off injured but the hosts survived five minutes of injury-time to claim an historic victory.

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