Substitute Tom Eaves scored a late winner as Hull City beat Doncaster Rovers 2-1 at the KCOM Stadium on Wednesday evening.
It was a fully deserved three points for the Tigers, who had taken the lead through a Josh Magennis strike, his fifth in his last four appearances, before half time. Doncaster thought they had snatched a point in the final ten minutes as they scored from their only shot on target, but Eaves proved to be the match-winner with a close-range finish three minutes from time.
Alfie Jones joined Jacob Greaves at the heart of the back four with Reece Burke on the bench, while Mallik Wilks and Hakeeb Adelakun supported Magennis in the home side’s attack. Greg Docherty also returned from injury in the midfield.
Mallik Wilks, who started down the left, had the first opportunity of the evening when a Richie Smallwood cross found him at the back post but a volleyed effort flew just over.
Josh Emmanuel then dragged an effort wide from the edge of the box, while a deflected Hakeeb Adelakun strike brought a corner that was headed wide by Magennis.
Wilks was causing plenty of problems for the Doncaster defence and his 22nd-minute cross set up a half-chance for Magennis but his volley went wide.
It wouldn’t be long before Magennis would open the scoring, though, as the Tigers took a 26th-minute lead. Wilks was again involved, this time winning a free kick right on the edge of the area. The ball was played off for Magennis, who gave goalkeeper Joe Lumley no chance with a ferocious shot that crashed into the net.
Richie Smallwood picked up a yellow card shortly after, before the home side went close to doubling their lead three times in quick succession. Docherty saw a fine strike come back off the post, with Adelakun seeing his follow-up effort blocked by a defender. With the play still alive, Wilks turned well on the edge of the box but a deflected shot was pushed wide by Lumley.
A dominant opening 45 minutes continued, although there would be no further addition to the scoresheet before the break.
Wilks saw penalty appeals turned down early in the second half and instead received a yellow card for perceived simulation after going down under Lumley’s challenge.
A first home change saw Keane Lewis-Potter replace Adelakun and, although Doncaster had come into the game a little more since the break, it was the men in black and amber that still looked the more dangerous.
Magennis saw an effort blocked as the Tigers hit Doncaster on the counter-attack, with Lewis-Potter’s follow-up effort going wide as a chance to sew the game up was missed, and the price was paid as Doncaster levelled nine minutes from time as Tyreece John-Jules finished from inside the box.
Grant McCann immediately signalled for a double change to be made as Tom Eaves and James Scott replaced Magennis and Wilks, and it brought almost instant rewards as Eaves put the Tigers back in front three minutes from time. Smallwood’s long-range effort was deflected and, although Lumley kept it out, the keeper couldn’t hold onto the ball and Eaves was the first to react and apply a finish from a few yards out.
Docherty saw a low shot well kept out in added on time, but the home side had done enough for the win.
Hull City: Matt Ingram; Josh Emmanuel, Alfie Jones, Jacob Greaves, Callum Elder; Richie Smallwood, Greg Docherty, George Honeyman; Hakeeb Adelakun (Keane Lewis-Potter 66), Mallik Wilks (James Scott 85), Josh Magennis (Tom Eaves 85).
Subs Not Used: George Long, Lewie Coyle, Reece Burke, Regan Slater.
Doncaster Rovers: Joe Lumley, Brad Halliday, Reece James, Tom Anderson, Joe Wright, Ben Whiteman, Fejiri Okenabirhie, Matt Smith (Tyreece John-Jules 63), Taylor Richards (James Coppinger 63), Josh Sims, Cameron John.
Subs Not Used: Louis Jones, Jason Lokilo, Ed Williams, Andy Butler, Lirak Hasani.
Referee: Mr A. Backhouse.