• Manager denies his player spat at Manchester City's Joe Hart
• Vincent Kompany awaits decision from Football Association
George Boyd faces an anxious wait to discover whether the Football Association will charge him with spitting at the England goalkeeper Joe Hart during Hull's defeat by 10-man Manchester City.
If the referee, Lee Mason, did not witness the alleged action during the 69th-minute confrontation between the two players – Hart was cautioned for shoving his head towards Boyd's face and will therefore face no further punishment – then retrospective disciplinary measures could be taken. Tempers frayed after substitute Boyd went to ground in trying to round the goalkeeper.
Mason's report is now key but Steve Bruce leapt to Boyd's defence and insists he has no case to answer. "No, that's a load of rubbish. He's tried to talk and something has come out. That's what I've seen. George Boyd wouldn't do that, definitely wouldn't do that. No chance," the Hull manager said.
Hart, incensed by what he perceived to be a dive by Boyd, had to be hauled away by his team-mates but Bruce said: "Look, George is as honest as they come. He was playing non-league six years ago. If you're a football player and you're in that situation, with the goalkeeper hurtling towards you, what are you going to do? Stand there and say 'go on then, whack me'?
"I genuinely think the referee got it right. Boydy was going at full tilt, he's expecting to get clattered. To be fair to Joe, he's done what every experienced goalkeeper does, he's pulled himself out of the road. If he has got an arm out, he's going to hit George with it. He's [Boyd] tried to take evasive action rather than simulate to try and win a penalty."
In contrast, however, Boyd questioned the colour of the card produced by Mason, who had brandished a red to the visiting captain, Vincent Kompany, in the 10th minute for hauling back Nikica Jelavic as he bore down on goal. "He said afterwards he didn't touch me but I thought he touched me a little bit. His reaction was over the top. He didn't nut me but he's put his head in, so he should have got sent off, really," Boyd said.
Kompany may also be concerned by feedback from the fourth official, Anthony Taylor, after a suggestion that the player made a hand gesture before kicking a wall on his way down the tunnel. If such an incident does not feature in Mason's report, the FA can act independently by studying video footage. Any further suspension on top of the one-game ban for the red card would rule Kompany out of the derby against Manchester United on 25 March.
Without their captain, the visitors made light of their numerical disadvantage on what was a tempestuous, and potentially decisive, weekend of this Premier League season. A virtuoso display from their Spanish conductor David Silva – who exchanged passes with Yaya Touré to bend in a wonderful opening goal four minutes after they went down to 10 men and then teased the ball through the home defence for Edin Dzeko to end a nine-match goal drought – suggested City have an individual in the kind of form to make good their standing, six points behind leaders Chelsea with three games in hand.
"Is he the main man? When Kun [Sergio Agüero] scores you say it's him, when Vinnie scores it's Vinnie, when Yaya scores you say it's Yaya," Samir Nasri said. "But I think we're a team with plenty of players and if you want to win the league then you have to think about the team rather than just one player who can make a difference. You cannot win a title with just one player. Does this game make champions? Yes, it does, but sometimes you can win games when you are lucky and that can make you a champion as well. We know if we win our last 11 games we are going to be champions."
The collective resolve was typified by their makeshift central defensive pairing of the much-maligned Argentinian Martín Demichelis and Javi García: boots and heads were offered with precision timing whenever necessary and the pair moved in unison to repeatedly catch Hull's forwards offside.
If that was a good sign in the present – Kompany will now miss Saturday's visit of Fulham – there was also a good omen to be dug up from the past. This was City's first league win in Hull since 1909 – a season in which they were crowned champions, albeit of Division Two.
Man of the match Martín Demichelis (Manchester City)