An Abel Hernandez double helped Hull City to a crucial three points against Bournemouth, as they made their way off the bottom of the table and began a long climb up the Premier League mountain.
Key Tigers return
With 15 first team players rumoured to be potentially unavailable prior to the squad announcements, new Hull City manager Marco Silva was able to field a relatively strong starting eleven in his first experience of the Premier League. The experienced duo of Michael Dawson and Curtis Davies recovered to allow Harry Maguire to move into the right-back position, whilst Abel Hernandez proved his fitness to start as the focal point in a 4-3-3 formation. New signings Oumar Niasse and Evandro made the substitutes bench after just one training session each.
Eddie Howe was boosted by the return of Tyrone Mings last week and he continued to occupy the vacant central defensive position alongside Steve Cook, whilst Simon Francis remains suspended and Nathan Ake returned to Chelsea. Ryan Fraser got the nod to start in a wide area after recovering from a knock previous to an impressive run of form, whilst Benik Afobe was granted the lone striker role after being given permission to withdraw from the DR Congo African Cup of Nations squad.
Stanislas stuns in second minute
With nine Premier League defeats in a row, Hull would have been desperate for a solid start to the game. Yet within a minute of kick-off, Fraser broke into the penalty area and was hacked down by Maguire who stretched out a leg from the wrong side of the winger to where the ball was, leaving referee Martin Atkinson with no choice but to point to the spot. Junior Stanislas placed the ball down and lashed home the penalty into the bottom corner and out of reach of Eldin Jakupovic. It was the tenth penalty Hull have given away already this season.
The Tigers were clearly stunned by the fast Bournemouth start, as Maguire continued to look uncertain in an unfamiliar position and Davies continually gave the ball away as his fitness looked questionable. Yet the latter was on hand to produce a block when Jack Wilshere went powering through an all too familiar static Hull midfield. The industry of the Cherries' midfield is always recognised as a strength and Harry Arter was next to try his luck as he flashed a low effort just wide of Jakupovic's goal.
As the visitors continued to take control of the contest, a long ball from Mings found Afobe who muscled Dawson off the ball before firing a shot that was thwarted by Jakupovic with a smart block. Fraser in particular looked threatening but the hosts held firm to prevent constant waves of attacks from a rampant Bournemouth side.
Hernandez hits back
The Tigers' resistance was then duly rewarded. Robert Snodgrass fired a warning that Hull were not out of the contest as his dipping volley went just over the crossbar. Left-back Andy Robertson then ventured forward and whipped across a teasing delivery that was duly converted by Abel Hernandez with an excellent header to prevent Artur Boruc keeping a clean sheet in his 100th Premier League appearance. From hanging on just to stay the match, Hull found themselves level on the half hour mark.
That equalising goal bolstered the intentions of the home side and a Snodgrass free-kick was headed just wide by Davies as the Tigers began to push further forward. All of a sudden it was Bournemouth clinging on for dear life as a flurry of corners pressurised the visitors before they were offered a period of respite as the half-time whistle blew.
Hull go for the jugular
Yet the Tigers picked up where they left off, getting down the flanks against a Bournemouth side still on the ropes. Within five minutes of the restart, Hull had scored again and it was Hernandez the grateful beneficiary. Snodgrass found the Uruguayan on the right side of the box, before running at Mings with a couple of stepovers and slashing the ball into the bottom corner. Just moments later Davies headed just wide from another excellent Snodgrass delivery as the Tigers pressed to open a clear advantage.
Bournemouth responded with a double substitution but the hosts looked like a side reborn. Ryan Mason picked up the ball outside of the box and fired an effort just wide as he connected sweetly from range. Adama Diomande then found space when released by Maguire, firing a cross to Hernandez who headed just wide in search of his hat-trick.
Hull have been guilty of sitting back on leads earlier in the season but it was certainly not the case in this match as their endeavours produced a cushion for the hosts. A Snodgrass free-kick was not dealt with by Bournemouth, as Tom Huddlestone controlled the ball in the area and fired an effort off Mings and into the back of the net for a 3-1 lead.
Hosts hold on to climb up the table
Bournemouth had to respond and they looked towards the experience of Jack Wilshere. The Arsenal loanee fired two efforts in quick succession at Jakupovic, the second of which had to be pushed behind with the goal threatened.
Yet it was only to be a flash in the pan for the visitors, as Hull's Maguire produced a trademark drive forward before striking a shot wide in between Silva granting debuts to Evandro and Niasse.
The contest had effectively been killed off by the hosts as the Tigers uncharacteristically saw the game out in comfortable fashion, lifting themselves off the foot of the table in the process.