The Cardiff manager Malky Mackay bemoaned a remarkable "game-changing decision" after his side had a penalty rescinded en route to only their second Championship defeat of the season.
The Welsh club were level when referee Colin Webster pointed to the spot following Hull captain Jack Hobbs' trip on the Slovak midfielder Filip Kiss, only for a clutch of defenders to appeal for him to consult his linesman. No flag had gone up at that point but it was decided retrospectively that at least one Cardiff body was beyond the last man when rookie Joe Ralls took aim from 35 yards.
"It was a game-changing decision," Mackay said of the 66th-minute incident. "The linesman got it wrong by not putting his flag up, play went on to a second phase, it went on for another 30 seconds, the referee gave a penalty and eventually the linesman called him back and decides it's offside. I have never seen that before. He has since apologised for not putting his flag up but to me that makes no odds. Small margins effect the game and I feel aggrieved."
Even more so within five minutes when Nick Barmby, Hull's 37-year-old player-coach, converted Robbie Brady's delicious cross at the back post, seconds after coming on as a substitute. The win saw Hull leapfrog their opponents into the Championship play-off spots.
Nigel Pearson claimed common sense had prevailed. "It was clearly offside, it wasn't a fractional thing. Sometimes you need things to go your way and it would have been unjust if we had conceded a penalty at that point."
Cardiff were hauled back into the contest, following Matty Fryatt's opportunistic first-half toe-poke, through the league debutant Ralls. The ink may not yet have dried on the professional contract the 17-year-old signed on Friday when he impudently volleyed over Adriano Basso just after the hour.
Ralls was on the field due to a groin injury to Kenny Miller, who is now almost certainly out of Scotland's Euro 2012 forthcoming qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Spain. The early change disrupted the visitors but they played with greater purpose after the break in an enthralling affair.
Fryatt spurned a glorious chance to double Hull's lead 11 minutes into the second period when Martyn Waghorn's deft ball over the top sent him 15 yards clear of the Cardiff defence. But in mistaking the Hull supporters' cheers for groans, he pulled up expecting to witness an offside flag.
David Marshall tipped Robert Koren's deflected drive over the top and was thankful for Brady's audacious effort lacking sufficient bend, during a period of sustained Hull pressure. But ultimately the home fans left the KC thankful for a spot of fortune.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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