Pass, pass and pass again
That was certainly the case for Mike Phelan's men who produced an all too familiar backs to the wall job against their visitors. Southampton dominated the game at the KCOM, enjoying 66.4% possession and using their passes effectively 85% of time. In comparison, Hull succeeded with a dour 71% of passes reaching their desired target.
Not only were Claude Puel's side pinpoint with their delivery but they also threatened in dangerous areas. The Saints played much of the game in either the middle or final third of their opposition, with only 78 of their 631 passes going backwards. Hull managed just 319 passes. Southampton were particularly prevalent down the right with the able Dusan Tadic pulling the strings.
It was not as if Southampton did not create chances from their sufficient possession. 19 shots resulted in one goal, six saves, seven heroic blocks and a rattled frame of the goal as the visitors hunted down three points. 37 Hull clearances showed just how much they were under pressure.
Take your chances
Yet possession is becoming less and less important in football, particularly against an inspired defensive display. It is the intensity and cutting edge that really makes the difference. With Southampton taking an early lead and running the tempo of the game, they went into cruise control and that was to be their downfall.
With the defence barely troubled, Robert Snodgrass used his class and experience to pounce on a couple of complacent moments in a 125-second tirade. He was first to react to a Sam Clucas cross and swept home an equaliser against the run of play. Fraser Forster and his red and white defence barely had time to recover before Snodgrass found Michael Dawson with a floating free-kick before the defender nodded home what was to be the eventual winner. The Tigers only won 15 from 40 aerial duels.
A telling point in the contest was to be the overall statistics of the goalkeepers. Whereas Forster has found inspired form this season and conceded just ten goals before the game, his opposite number David Marshall has been part of the leakiest defence in the league. Yet it was as if the two shot-stoppers had swapped shirts on Sunday. Marshall made six saves and when he was beaten in the final minute Clucas helped him out with a clearance off the line. On the other hand, Forster did not make one save in the entire game.
It certainly was not pretty, but could this be the result that turns Hull's season around?