Hull City 2-0 Watford: Tigers remain two points clear with four games remaining

Lazar Markovic and Sam Clucas netted in a crucial 2-0 win for Hull City as they kept afloat of the relegation zone.

Their victory against a lacklustre Watford side looks to have drawn several teams back into the relegation battle as the Tigers look to complete a previously unlikely survival bid.

Controversy reigns in goalless first half

Hull lost to Watford in the reverse fixture under Mike Phelan, with the Hornets battering their goal as they formulated 23 shots. This result, against all odds after Oumar Niasse received his marching orders midway through the first half, shows just how far the Tigers have come under Portugese manager Marco Silva who simply cannot be beaten at home.

Silva has not lost a home match for over three years, extending that record with Hull since his arrival at the KCOM, winning six and drawing one from seven. Yet that record appeared to be in doubt when striker Niasse received a straight red card for catching M'Baye Niang in the 25th minute. It was a decision that infuriated Silva as Niasse appeared to only lightly catch the Watford midfielder.

The dismissal automatically opened up a cagey contest as Watford smelt blood. Increased pressure saw Sebastian Prodl force Eldin Jakupovic into an acrobatic tip over as the defender rose highest from a corner. The Hornets began to employ a more direct approach as Prodl's defensive partner Miguel Britos also went close with a header. 

Yet the game was to spark again just before the break. Jakupovic thwarted Etienne Capoue's point blank effort before Hull had a strong penalty appeal turned down as Nordin Amrabat caught Kamil Grosicki. Silva was close to breaking point on the sidelines but focussed his attentions on a critical half-time team talk.

Niasse was stunned to receive his marching orders (photo: Getty Images)
Niasse was stunned to receive his marching orders (photo: Getty Images)

Finishing proves key as Hull extend home record

The Hull boss responded positively, bringing on Abel Hernandez for Evandro as he identified the importance of earning another three points at home. After a spell of dominance pivoted through Amrabat, Watford appeared to lose their way as Hull began to settle. Then came the telling moment on the break as the hosts piled forward and Grosicki picked out fellow winger Lazar Markovic. The Serb cannoned his effort off the crossbar before poking home on the rebound to open the scoring.

Watford piled on the pressure as expected but could not pull off an effort of note. Eventually they were made to pay as Sam Clucas chested the ball down on the edge of the box and smashed the ball past Heurelho Gomes to double Hull's lead ten minutes after they broke the deadlock.

That goal effectively killed the game off as Hull battened down the hatches to earn a valuable three points. Swansea City also won but the result brings Hull within a handful of points of the teams above them.