Harry Maguire gave Hull City hope, but away-day woes continue
An attack-minded performance, but the same old story for Hull City on their Premier League travels. Marco Silva's men recovered well from a rotten start after Marko Arnautovic opened the scoring and were deserving of Harry Maguire's equaliser early in the second half. Chances were engineered by both teams throughout, but Stoke decisively took theirs. Goals from Peter Crouch and Xherdan Shaqiri took Mark Hughes' side clear and left the Tigers peering anxiously over their shoulders at the bottom three.
It was no exaggeration to suggest Hull City might have scored five or six goals, and for a team that has so often struggled as an attacking force away from home, that felt like a breath of fresh air. Had others taken chances like Maguire had, including Oumar Niasse, Lazar Markovic and Kamil Grosicki, it could have been a very different story. The best news of the afternoon was reserved for Silva upon his return to the dressing room. Swansea City's 1-0 loss at Watford preserved the Tigers' two-point lead over the relegation zone with just five games to play.
Although City were able to breathe easy after Swansea's failings at Vicarage Road, they left the bet365 Stadium with regrets. Another shabby defensive showing meant it is now 13 goals leaked in four away games, but the Tigers still had abundant opportunities to peg an anxious Stoke team back. An erratic streak continues to hurt City. Grosicki and Markovic both continually lack the end product needed out wide, while Niasse's search for a first goal away from home goes on. The striker missed two big chances.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Marco Silva surprised a few when naming Maguire at right-back, and that change took time to bed in. His team recovered well enough and there was little he could do to halt individuals' wastefulness.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Eldin Jakupovic, 6 -- Absolutely nothing he could do about Stoke's three excellent finishes, and he denied Walters with a fine low stop. Stoke produced plenty of chances but failed to work the keeper too often.
DF Harry Maguire, 7 -- The fans' favourite came good again, even when bumped across to the unusual position of right-back. A superb cross-field pass set up Markovic's volley before he was the unlikely goal scorer.
DF Andrea Ranocchia, 6 -- Crouch lured him in and brushed him aside for Stoke's second, and the Italian had to be stronger. He has not looked as comfortable since his partnership with Maguire was broken up.
DF Michael Dawson, 5 -- Two games back and six goals conceded for the veteran defender. Playing with an uncertainty not often seen during his time with City, typified by one late attempt to spring an offside trap.
DF Andy Robertson, 6 -- An excellent attacking outlet from full-back, particularly in the first half. Given a defensive test by the elusive Shaqiri but emerged with his head up. Never one to shirk the challenge.
MF Lazar Markovic, 5 -- Denied a first-half equaliser when Grant parried his volley, but he continues to frustrate both his teammates and supporters. Drifts in and out of games and offers his full-back scant protection.
MF Tom Huddlestone, 6 -- A welcome return after a three-game suspension, adding a calm head to midfield. Picked some great passes at times, even if a stretched game did not always play to his strengths before being subbed.
MF Alfred N'Diaye, 5 -- Produced a wonderful pass to send Grosicki in behind Stoke, but he only ever played on the periphery of a high-tempo game. The on-loan midfielder shows flashes, but not enough to control games.
MF Sam Clucas, 6 -- The central midfielder was asked to provide extra support in the box and did precisely that thanks to his relentless engine. Sent in the cross that brought Maguire's equaliser in the second half.
MF Kamil Grosicki, 5 -- The winger extended a pattern in which he does plenty right before failing to deliver the final ball in key areas. Unfortunate to be denied by Lee Grant's low save when getting behind Ryan Shawcross.
FW Oumar Niasse, 5 -- Two big chances, one in each half, were both missed, hurting his side's prospects of taking a much-needed away point. No faulting his work rate in the final third, but he ought to have done better.
FW Abel Hernandez, 5 -- Unable to play as a lone striker, but his introduction alongside Niasse came too late.
MF Ahmed Elmohamady, N/R -- Dropped after his own goal last week and received only a brief cameo.
FW Dieumerci Mbokani, N/R -- A return to action was short after two months out injured.
Philip Buckingham is ESPN FC's Hull City blogger. Follow him on Twitter: @PJBuckingham.