Hull City closed in on the Championship’s play-off places with a 2-1 victory over Stoke City at the KCOM Stadium.
Two goals in seven second half minutes from Jarrod Bowen secured a return to winning ways for the Tigers, taking Bowen up to 15 goals in all competitions this season.
City were forced to come from behind and spent the majority of the first half trailing after Sam Vokes headed in his first goal of the campaign.
As the Tigers recorded their third home victory in the space of four matches, we assess five of the major talking points.
Back-to-back home wins
For the first time this season, City picked up consecutive victories at the KCOM Stadium.
Having picked up 39 of their 62 Championship points (62.9%) in East Yorkshire last season, the opening months of the season have seen the Tigers struggle to make their home advantage count.
With only one win in their first five home matches this season, a return of nine points from a possible 12 in their last four home matches has been significantly more encouraging.
Missed opportunities on familiar soil against Cardiff City, Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers highlight certain point-collecting opportunities that the Tigers failed to exploit, but recent improvements in front of City’s home fans bode well heading into the final 26 games of the campaign.
Winning from behind
City’s win saw them come from behind to earn three points for the first time since April.
Whilst the Tigers have been a side capable of coming from behind to earn points this season, including draws against Middlesbrough, Wigan and Millwall, they had failed to win from a losing position under McCann until yesterday.
Even with the Tigers pegged back for more than 40 minutes, they never showed signs of flapping in what was a very dominant, calm and controlled performance from City.
Their next home match comes in a fortnight against Birmingham City, who have made a nuance of being tough to beat, but the Tigers’ performance yesterday showed that they can be patent and clinical when needed to break tricky sides down.
Bowen’s 10th double
For the third time this season and for the 10th time in black and amber, Bowen was on hand with a brace for the Tigers.
Head coach Grant McCann felt that Bowen was quiet for the first half and it was another performance where his moments of prolific and instinctive goal scoring can instantaneously sway the flow of the match.
His second goal took his tally in the Championship up to 50 and takes him to 15 for the season in all competitions, matching the number he managed during the duration of the 2017-18 season.
It is hard not to focus on him when he consistently scores match-winning goals and City’s chances of a top six finish depend heavily on whether the 22-year-old will still be at the club when February comes.
Three points off the play-offs
Despite sitting 12th in the league standings, a home win moves City within three points of the play-off places.
Whilst it is a pleasing position to be in, the Tigers sit in the middle of a large chasing pack, with just six points separating the 11 teams between fifth and 15th.
Given how close they are to the top six, there is a slight sense that the Tigers have missed several opportunities to pick up points already this season, the latest of those being against Barnsley last week.
Should Swansea City beat West Bromwich Albion this afternoon, McCann’s side trail behind the top six will extend to four points. However, many fans would have taken this position after 20 games if you had offered it to them at the start of the season.
Having not started in either of the Tigers’ last two matches, striker Tom Eaves returned to the starting side to lead the attacking line in a move that saw Bowen revert to right midfield.
It was a pleasing performance from Eaves and whilst he didn’t score himself, he was a constant out ball, looked lively and went close on a couple of occasions.
Magennis’and Balogh’s injury issues leave McCann short up front and confidence and form for Eaves could be crucial for him in a time where he will look to consolidate a starting place whilst his direct competitors are sidelined.
You can never fault his attitude and City supporters have taken to him as if he has been there for years; he just needs a few more goals to his name.
15 years ago the Hull Daily Mail conducted a poll of Hull City fans to find the greatest-ever side.
The poll took place to mark the 100th birthday of the Tigers.
You can see the results of that poll by clicking here.
In the years that have followed City have been to an FA Cup final, played in Europe and won promotion to the Premier League three times, with a host of names etching their place into the club's folklore in the process.
What has been the impact of those players and where do they sit in the list of greatest players?
That's what we want to know. So we are launching a new poll to find the greatest Hull City players of all time.
Click the link here to vote: https://forms.gle/jc3jX94m5N7mu89z5
Or pick your first, second and third choice in order and name your greatest manager. Then send an email to [email protected]
Make sure your subject line is Greatest Hull City players. The results of the poll will be published later this year.
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