2017-18 English League Championship, Regular Season

Aston Villa and Hull City draw in Steve Bruce's return to KCOM Stadium

Richard Sellers/EMPICS Sport

Steve Bruce's first return to Hull ended with the former Tigers boss having to share the points from a 0-0 draw as his Aston Villa side struggled to break down a resolute home defence.

Bruce left under acrimonious circumstances a little under two years ago and came back to the KCOM Stadium for the first time with a Villa team firmly in the Championship playoff places.

The Tigers find themselves fighting to stay out of the relegation zone at the other end of the table and earned a battling point with some resolute defending, particularly from centre-backs Michael Dawson and Angus MacDonald -- though they were also unlucky to be denied a penalty just after half-time.

In the early exchanges Villa's Albert Adomah tested Allan McGregor with a low ball across the area which the Hull keeper dealt with comfortably.

Adomah should have done better when he clipped the ball over the bar from a Robert Snodgrass cross as Villa continued to look the more threatening in the early stages.

Hull had the ball in the back of the net with 16 minutes gone but their first attack did not produce a goal as Abel Hernandez was offside on the edge of the area when he received Markus Henriksen's pass before firing into the top corner.

Former Hull winger Snodgrass then tested McGregor with an effort from the edge of the area as Villa again looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

Harry Wilson fired wide after good build-up by Hull involving Seb Larsson and Jackson Irvine as the home side struggled to find regular openings.

Adomah was only denied a good opening from a Jack Grealish pass when Dawson got in a fine block just after the half-hour.

Hull started the second half brightly and Sam Johnstone was called on to make his first serious save as he beat away a shot from MacDonald -- though Hull claimed furiously for a penalty after Larsson's free kick hit the arm of Grealish in the defensive wall.

As Villa looked a little more suspect in defence, Hull threatened again but substitute Jon Toral headed over under pressure from Alan Hutton.

But as both sides struggled to come up with telling moves it was difficult to see where a winning goal would come from.

A determined run from Grealish won Villa a hotly-disputed corner but again the visitors lacked a telling ball into the area.

Henri Lansbury then got back well to prevent Jarrod Bowen getting the finishing touch as Hull broke out following sustained Villa pressure.

But in a game with little quality, both sides had to settle for a point each which was of small use to either in their respective battles at opposite ends of the table.

English League Championship Standings

1 West Bromwich Albion 22 +22 49
2 Leeds United 22 +22 47
3 Preston North End 22 +8 37
4 Brentford 22 +16 36
5 Sheffield Wednesday 22 +13 36
6 Fulham 22 +9 35
7 Bristol City 22 +2 35
8 Nottingham Forest 21 +6 34
9 Blackburn Rovers 22 +2 34
10 Swansea City 22 +2 34
11 Millwall 22 0 33
12 Cardiff City 22 +2 32
13 Queens Park Rangers 22 -7 31
14 Hull City 22 +3 30
15 Birmingham City 22 -7 28
16 Derby County 22 -7 26
17 Charlton Athletic 22 -2 24
18 Reading 21 -2 23
19 Huddersfield Town 22 -10 22
20 Middlesbrough 22 -12 21
21 Luton Town 22 -18 20
22 Stoke City 22 -11 18
23 Wigan Athletic 22 -15 18
24 Barnsley 22 -16 16