Blackburn Rovers moved into second place in the Championship after a controlled display against Hull City for a fourth win in a row.
Sammie Szmodic’s superb finish early in the first half was enough as Rovers easily held off a disappointing Tigers side.
Top scorers Ben Breton Diaz and Sam Gallagher were denied further goals after brilliant stops from Nathan Baxter broke through.
With Jacob Greaves and Dimitrios Pelkas missing free headers – after owner Acun Ilicali completed his takeover – Hull never threatened to repeat their victory over Rovers in last season’s corresponding fixture.
Rovers’ 11th win of the season moves them into second place, three points behind Queens Park Rangers and two behind leaders Burnley.
In-form Rovers started brightly with Szmodics – back in the side after missing out on last Saturday’s win over Birmingham – expressing their confidence in possession and he finished off a sweet move to put the visitors ahead.
Szmodics picked up a perfectly weighted pass from Adam Wharton beyond the Hull defense and found the bottom left corner of the net with a right-footed effort for his fourth goal of the season.
The Tigers were chasing a third successive win against Blackburn and back-to-back league wins for the first time since 1970, but they did pose an occasional threat in the first half, with Thomas Kaminski tipping away Ryan Longman’s early cross and Greaves sending an effort wide in one of their best moments. .
They were lucky not to fall further behind before half-time when Breton Diaz’s shot from 12 yards was pushed away by Baxter after some poor defending.
Interim boss Andy Dawson made a double substitution at the break in an attempt to make up for Hull’s lackluster display which looked to be having an impact, only for Greaves from a corner and a diving Pelkas to waste good chances with missed headers.
Baxter then had to do his best to stop Rovers extending their lead – denying Gallagher one-on-one after finding the Chile forward before deflecting Breton Diaz’s effort from 12 yards.
Hull enjoyed more possession as the game wore on, but suffered their first defeat in three games after finding Rovers in a mood to not let their narrow advantage slip away.
Hull interim boss Andy Dawson told BBC Radio Humberside:
“I was disappointed with the first half – we respected them too much, we certainly weren’t aggressive enough.
“I think one of the things we’ve done very impressively recently is keep the ball. I think we’ve turned it over very cheaply. That’s the last thing you want to do against a possession-based team.
“We had a really good run in the second half. We created some bright chances, but they were small margins – we came up against a good team today.”
Blackburn Rovers head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson told BBC Radio Lancashire:
“I think it’s well deserved – great credit to the players.
“We got the tactics right in the first half, controlled the game and scored a great goal – we should have scored more and killed the game before half-time.
“It’s a great win and a great performance.”
- 6FigueredoBooked in 78 minutesSubstituted forCoilat 90′minutes
- 5JonesSubstituted forFlemingat 45′minutes
- 24SeriSubstituted forTufanat 45′minutes
- 15WoodsBooked in 29 minutes
- 8DochertySubstituted forEstupiñánat 67′minutes
- 16LongmanSubstituted forCynicat 80′minutes
- 16WhartonBooked at 61 minutes
- 36WhartonSubstituted forstrayat 62′minutes
- 10DolanSubstituted forCarterat 62′minutes
- 8SzmodicsSubstituted forDakat 71′minutes
- 9GallagherSubstituted forVeilat 71′minutes
- David Webb
Match finished, Hull City 0, Blackburn Rovers 1.
Second half ends, Hull City 0, Blackburn Rovers 1.
The attempt was blocked. Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Full by Ryan Woods (Hull City).
Bradley Dack (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Hull City. Lewie Coyle replaces Tobias Figueiredo.
Foul by Dogukan Sinik (Hull City).
Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Hull City. Provided by Daniel Ayala.
Handball by Ben Bretton (Blackburn Rovers).
The attempt was missed. Regan Slater (Hull City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Dimitris Pelkas.
Substitution, Hull City. Dogukan Sinik replaces Ryan Longman.
Foul by Dominic Hyam (Blackburn Rovers).
Dimitris Pelkas (Hull City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Tobias Figueiredo (Hull City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Tyler Morton (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tobias Figueiredo (Hull City).
Foul by Jack Vale (Blackburn Rovers).
Cyrus Christie (Hull City) wins a penalty in the defensive half.
Dominic High (Blackburn Rovers) wins a penalty in the defensive half.