Hull City 1 Bristol Rovers 0

Last updated : 04 January 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Gary Alexander struck a first-half winner as Peter Taylor's Hull side overcame lowly Bristol Rovers in unconvincing style.

Nearly 15,000 fans turned up, expecting an improvement on a disappointing Christmas programme and Alexander obliged with his first goal in nine games.

After the match Hull boss Taylor admitted: "We needed a win and it was a very important three points for us. Our keeper kept us in it at times, but I am very pleased for Gary to get his goal and I was impressed with his overall play." With Ray Graydon suffering from flu, Rovers assistant boss John Still said: "We are starting to show some consistency, and we did everything right but just didn't get anything out of this." Hull wasted the first opening of the game when Stuart Elliott saw a left-footed volley superbly saved by Scott Howie, but then the visitors spurned a golden chance.

Wayne Carlisle's free-kick from the right was glanced goalwards by Paul Tait, but Paul Musselwhite saved brilliantly and then smothered Kevin Austin's follow-up from point-blank range.

Hull broke the deadlock on 25 minutes though, when Stuart Green's corner was headed goalwards by John Anderson and when Howie parried the ball, Alexander was on hand to tap home.

Moments later Elliott's goalbound shot was knocked off the line by Austin, but if Hull had planned a straightforward second half the visitors had other ideas.

The home side wasted a great opening in the opening moments of the second half when Alexander played in Lawrie Dudfield, but his composed finish ended up just wide of the mark.

Rovers then piled forward, and were unlucky when Tait's effort was deflected just wide of Musselwhite's near post, before the Hull keeper was again on hand to deny substitute Giuliano Grazioli.

Tait's shot on the turn rolled inches past the post and then he flicked the ball on to Grazioli, who was thwarted by the brave Musselwhite, who kept Rovers at bay by diving at the substitute's feet.