Hull City made a winning return to the Sky Bet Championship as they came from behind to thump Preston North End 4-1 at Deepdale on the opening day of the season.
Recovering after conceding the first goal in the opening ten minutes, the Tigers came roaring back as Keane Lewis-Potter levelled ahead of the interval before Richie Smallwood, Josh Magennis and Andy Cannon added second half goals to send a vocal away following home happy.
Lewis-Potter was in the Tigers’ starting line-up alongside Mallik Wilks and Magennis as last season’s high-scoring attacking trio looked to find goals in the second tier. Summer signing George Moncur was included in the midfield alongside skipper Smallwood and Greg Docherty, while the back four in front of goalkeeper Matt Ingram consisted of Lewie Coyle at right back, Josh Emmanuel on the left with centre backs Alfie Jones and Jacob Greaves in between.
Midfielder Matt Smith, signed on a season-long loan from Manchester City on Friday, was on the bench.
There was an early injury to Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd, who collided with Lewis-Potter on the edge of the box as both competed for a ball that turned out to be dead anyway after Magennis was flagged offside.
The keeper initially recovered and Preston went on to take the lead in the eighth minute as they found plenty of space on their right for Tom Barkhuizen to deliver a low cross for Emil Riis to slide home at the far post.
Rudd succumbed to his injury five minutes later and was replaced by Daniel Iversen as a ‘concussion substitution, meaning that Grant McCann would be able to make four changes during the game should he wish to.
It looked as though the Tigers should have been awarded a penalty on 27 minutes when Lewis-Potter was shoved over inside the area but the referee was unmoved by the appeals.
The Tigers levelled matters ten minutes before half time. Smallwood’s lovely ball split two defenders and sent Lewis-Potter through and his delicate finish sent the ball beyond Iversen and into the bottom corner.
Moncur curled an effort over the top as the visitors continued to enjoy a good spell, although there was a scare a minute before the interval when the ball dropped kindly for Riis inside the area but he volleyed high over the bar.
Matt Ingram made a fine save to deny Preston substitute Brad Potts early in the second half, and the keeper was there again to keep out Barkhuizen as he sniffed a loose ball.
Magennis headed over from Coyle’s cross at the other end before Wilks clipped an effort off target at the end of a promising move.
The Tigers took a deserved lead just after the hour mark. After patiently passing the ball around the edge of the Preston box, the ball was teed up for Smallwood 20 yards out who saw his low shot take a big deflection which wrong-footed Iversen and rolled into the net.
Preston’s Ryan Ledson was booked for a nasty challenge on Wilks moments later, while Ingram saved a deflected Ched Evans effort.
Lewis-Potter was cautioned after running on and shooting after being flagged offside before Smith came on for his debut in place of Wilks ten minutes from time.
The Tigers sealed the win with a third goal five minutes from time. Lewis-Potter’s superb ball in from the left was met at the near post by Magennis who got his goal account for the season up and running.
Magennis was soon replaced by Tom Eaves while Cannon came on for Moncur, and the two substitutes combined to great effect as Cannon made it 4-1 in added time with a low strike from the angle which found the bottom corner.
Preston North End: Declan Rudd (Daniel Iversen 13), Greg Cunningham (Sepp Van Den Berg 46), Ben Whiteman (Daniel Johnson 70), Liam Lindsay, Alan Browne, Ched Evans, Jordan Storey, Andrew Hughes, Ryan Ledson, Emil Riis (Brad Potts 46), Tom Barkhuizen.
Subs Not Used: Patrick Bauer, Joe Rodwell-Grant, Jamie Thomas.
Hull City: Matt Ingram; Lewie Coyle, Alfie Jones, Jacob Greaves, Josh Emmanuel; Richie Smallwood ©, Greg Docherty, George Moncur (Andy Cannon 89); Mallik Wilks (Matt Smith 80), Josh Magennis (Tom Eaves 89), Keane Lewis-Potter (James Scott 90).
Subs Not Used: Nathan Baxter, Brandon Fleming, Di’Shon Bernard.
Referee: Mr G. Ward.