Hull 2 Manchester City 1
Hull followed up Tuesday’s draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea by defeating Manchester City at the KC Stadium to climb out of the relegation zone.
Phil Brown’s side had not won since November but were buoyed by their performance against the Blues and deservedly took a 31st-minute lead through the impressive Jozy Altidore.
City then found themselves two down nine minutes after the break thanks to a rocket from George Boateng and, although Emmanuel Adebayor quickly pulled one back, they rarely threatened to equalise.
The talking point before the game was the inclusion in the City side of Wayne Bridge after two months out with a knee injury and amid the fall-out from John Terry’s alleged affair with his former partner.
Craig Bellamy and youngster Dedryk Boyata also returned to the City starting XI while January signings Adam Johnson and Patrick Vieira were among the substitutes.
Hull boss Phil Brown named an unchanged XI from the side that drew with Chelsea.
Having booed Terry relentlessly when Chelsea visited the KC Stadium in midweek, the Hull fans also subjected Bridge to some taunts.
It was the hosts, clearly buoyed by their performance against the league leaders, who began the brighter and Altidore won a free-kick 20 yards out when he was felled by Kolo Toure, who picked up a yellow card.
The USA striker had looked lively from the start but his set-piece was deflected behind by the visitors’ wall.
Boyata looked nervy and he became the second City defender to be booked inside 20 minutes when he pulled back Altidore after the striker had out-muscled him.
Stephen Hunt’s free-kick from the left was headed away but, when it was launched back in, Steven Mouyokolo headed on for Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, who fired wide of the far post from 10 yards.
City simply could not get into their rhythm and it was Hull who deservedly took the lead in the 31st minute.
Boateng played the ball into Vennegoor of Hesselink just inside the area and his lay-off was expertly curled round Shay Given by Altidore for his first Premier League goal.
The visitors finally threatened in the final moments of the half but Mouyokolo did well to block Carlos Tevez’s close-range effort and Bridge then saw his shot saved by Boaz Myhill after a neat move down the left.
Hull again came out of the blocks the faster at the start of the second half and Altidore felt he should have had a penalty for a challenge by Nigel de Jong but referee Phil Dowd waved play on.
But the home fans did not have long to wait for a second, and there cannot have been many better goals scored at the KC Stadium.
Hunt’s corner, which came after Bridge was beaten for pace by Craig Fagan, was cleared but only as far as Boateng 25 yards out and his beautifully-struck volley flew past Given.
That gave Hull breathing space after only nine minutes of the half but five minutes later City were back in it.
Johnson came on for his debut in place of Stephen Ireland and it was his corner, after Myhill had pushed Tevez’s shot round the past, that eventually resulted in Adebayor netting from inside the six-yard box.
City boss Roberto Mancini chose that moment to reintroduce former Arsenal midfielder Vieira to English football in place of Bellamy.
The momentum was now with the visitors and Myhill had to be alert to tip Johnson’s free-kick behind while Amr Zaki replaced Altidore for Hull.
The home side were mostly playing on the break and Zaki got away down the left but his shot was easily saved by Given.
Bridge’s afternoon ended five minutes early as Mancini sent on Martin Petrov as a final throw of the dice and Johnson then almost caught out Myhill with a cross from the right that the keeper was grateful to see drop behind for a corner.
Tevez’s snapshot drew another stop from Myhill while a late barrage ended with Adebayor poking a tame shot at the keeper as Hull celebrated a priceless win.