Hull's new-look strikeforce oiled the wheels of their faltering season to put a forgettable January behind them. Shane Long's home-debut goal was cancelled out by a resurgent second-half display from Tottenham but after their start to 2014 any point is a good point right now.
Winless and goalless in their previous four league outings, no wonder Steve Bruce was thankful for something tangible from a tangle with a Tottenham team retaining top-four ambitions despite suffering a first setback under Tim Sherwood – albeit to Manchester City – last Sunday. "In the end we are delighted we have got something to get us moving again because we've been stuck for a month," Bruce said.
It took a dozen minutes of their respective home debuts for Nikica Jelavic and Long – £14m-worth of recently acquired forward talent – to return the first dividends on Bruce's recent investment. Although Irishman Long misjudged goalkeeper Steve Harper's raking clearance because of the gusty conditions, he anticipated an opportunity further up the pitch and was duly rewarded when Jelavic's cute flick sped him beyond the defence. With only Hugo Lloris to beat, he calmly slotted in with his left foot.
Jelavic remains without a goal in a dozen Premier League appearances this season but went close to annulling that statistic with five good efforts. First, he stretched to toe Tom Huddlestone's 10th-minute cross beyond Lloris's grope but on to the top of the net. Later, after Long was floored by Michael Dawson's robust challenge, he rendered Lloris helpless once more as a 25-yard free-kick curled an inch wide.
In the second period, an instinctive flick hit the base of the upright, he poked substitute Robert Koren's pass beyond the onrushing Lloris only for Michael Dawson to clear and then witnessed the France international goalkeeper push away his angled drive.
"He will be fine for us because he's a goalscorer," said Bruce. "You can see that in him. He just needs to get up and running. But I'm pleased because we've shown that something else up front that we were looking for."
Tottenham have their own misfiring striker in Roberto Soldado and his woes in front of goal continued. The Spaniard, who cost £26m from Valencia in the summer, has found the net once since converting the controversial penalty that defeated Hull in October's corresponding fixture.
Here, he fluffed a couple of volleys and bore the brunt of home supporters' ire in trying to win a first-half penalty under challenge from Maynor Figueroa. "I am not putting any pressure on him, and he's not putting any pressure on himself. He's just got to stick at it and then it will turn around. I am sure it's not the first barren spell he's had," said Sherwood.
Soldado created Tottenham's most presentable opportunity before the break when he teed up his strike partner Emmanuel Adebayor – it took a touch over from Harper to keep out a stinging effort.
Tottenham remained dormant in the January transfer window because of the impending returns to fitness of several of their first-team squad. "If we added more players to what we'd already got it would have been impossible to train with them," said Sherwood.
One of them, the Brazil midfielder Paulinho, capped a higher-tempo showing after the break with an opportunistic equaliser. Danny Rose's long-range drive from a quickly worked deadball situation skewed into Paulinho, whose quick feet transferred the ball from the edge of the Hull area into the net in a flash.
"We managed to get back into it through a great goal but one thing was for sure and that was if we weren't going to win we certainly weren't going to lose," said Sherwood. "That was really pleasing from my point of view and at the end of the season this could turn out to be a really important point for both sides."