Hull City signed off the halfway mark of the 2019-20 season with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Birmingham City.
Tom Eaves’ header on the stroke of half-time set the tone for the second half, where the Tigers confirmed victory courtesy of later strikes from Kamil Grosicki and Keane Lewis-Potter.
The Tigers will head into Christmas in the top half of the table before going into their Boxing Day clash at home to Nottingham Forest.
We asses City’s first win in three matches by looking at five of the major talking points between the two sides.
A Christmas cracker
It was the perfect pre-Christmas send off for the Tigers as they made light work of Birmingham.
City knocked on the door throughout the first half, eventually getting their breakthrough goal courtesy of Eaves right before the interval.
That first goal allowed Grant McCann’s side to kick on after the break, where two good moves allowed the Tigers to confirm victory in one of their most convincing performances of the season.
The win was one that showed exactly what happens when everything clicks, the key now is to make it happen on a more consistent basis.
A third straight home win
For the first time since January, City recorded a third consecutive home victory in East Yorkshire.
It is now four wins from their last five on home soil, a return of 12 points from a possible 15 in that time.
After starting the season with just five points from their opening five home matches, playing in front of their own fans is now becoming second nature for them.
They now have the eighth best home record in the division and out of the sides to have played 12 home matches in the Championship this season, only Preston North End and Fulham have earned more points.
Closing the gap
City were 14 in the division and five points shy of the top six heading into kick-off on Saturday afternoon.
Beating Birmingham means that regardless of results elsewhere in the division today and tomorrow, the Tigers will enter Christmas in the top half of the league table.
As things stand, they currently sit 11 and are only four points away from the play-off places, although the large amount of teams in contention means that teams as far down as 14 all sit within five points of the top six.
A win over fellow play-off chasers Forest on Boxing Day could move them nearer again and given their recent home triumphs, the fixture comes at the perfect time for McCann’s Tigers.
Eaves’ header midway through the tie capped off what was one of the number nine’s best performances in a City shirt to date.
He led from the front throughout, drawing a number of fouls out of the visitors.
In a recent patch where the Tigers have been left low on forward options due to injuries, Eaves has stepped up to the task and is starting to prove why he was given the coveted number nine shirt at the start of the season.
Improving on his goal return is the next step for the 6’5” forward, but the fans are certainly on his side and really want him to succeed.
Another Keane Lewis-Potter goal
The game was already won when substitute Lewis-Potter netted his first senior goal at the KCOM Stadium, but City’s teenage forward showed that he is ready for regular senior minutes.
Although his goal at Charlton nine days ago was credited as a Dillon Phillips own goal, there was no mistake with his 88 minute strike against the Blues, with the teenager receiving Eric Lichaj’s through ball superbly before evading the experienced Harlee Dean and scoring.
Since making his Championship debut last month, Lewis-Potter has featured seven times off the bench, scoring twice, although it would be a third had it not been for the harsh realities of the dubious goals panel.
Lewis-Potter’s next target will be a full debut, but a first goal in front of his hometown fans will be one of the teenager’s career high points so far.
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