Hull required an 87th-minute equaliser to keep their FA Cup hopes alive and seal a 1-1 draw against managerless Birmingham at the MKM Stadium.
Matty Jacob bagged the equaliser, marking his first start for the Tigers with a memorable moment to set up a third-round replay at St Andrew’s later this month.
Lukas Jutkiewicz put the Blues in front inside the opening 18 minutes of the contest with a glancing header and for much of the contest it looked as though the Blues, coached by interim boss Steve Spooner, would be able to get life after the sacked Wayne Rooney off to a winning start.
But, they could not withstand the pressure from the home side, meaning this tie will have to be settled in the second city.
After what has been a challenging week at St Andrew’s, it was the visitors who started the quickest in East Yorkshire as Jutkiewicz stung the palms of Ryan Allsop inside the first 10 minutes.
The veteran striker really should have scored four minutes later, pushing an effort wide of the Tigers’ goal after seeing Koji Miyoshi capitalise on an error from Sean McLoughlin to create the opportunity.
However, Jutkiewicz kept knocking on the door and in the 18th minute, he found his goal. Getting away from his man on the right wing, Cody Drameh picked out the 34-year-old with an inch perfect cross and Jutkiewicz did the rest with his deft header nestling into the bottom corner of Hull’s net.
Birmingham almost doubled their advantage a minute later as Siriki Dembele burst into the hosts’ box before rattling the crossbar.
Hull dominated possession for much of the first half, but they struggled to find attacking rhythm and despite their best efforts, they reached half-time without troubling Neil Etheridge in the Blues goal.
The 59th minute introduction of new boy Billy Sharp, signed on a free transfer after a stint in the MLS, seemed to breathe life into the Tigers’ attack and Aaron Connolly went close to finding an equaliser on a couple of occasions.
After dominating possession once more in the second half, Liam Rosenior’s side finally found their goal as Jacob, fresh from his league debut at Hillsborough on New Year’s Day, nipped in at the near post to poke the ball home after seeing Etheridge fail to handle Connolly’s initial effort.
Birmingham came close to a last-minute winner through Jay Stansfield, but Allsop got down well to pull off what was perhaps the save of the game.
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