Greg Docherty's early goal proved to be the difference as Hull City gained a hard-earned 1-0 at home to Swindon Town.
Story of the match
Youngster Keane Lewis-Potter showed determination right from the off, charging down the Swindon kick off but unable to keep the ball in. Swindon then counter attacked, winning a corner in an end-to-end start to the game.
Hull took the lead on five minutes. Great play from Daniel Crowley on his first start for the Tigers saw him put in George Honeyman, who cut the ball back for Docherty to smash the ball home confidently. After much graft from both sides, Lewis-Potter had an effort smartly saved by Mark Travers at the expense of a corner on 12 minutes. The goal-mouth scramble after Jacob Greaves' header had Hull claiming for handball, but the referee remained unmoved.
Swindon had much of the ball, but it was Hull who were creating the chances. Lewis-Potter almost got on the end of Callum Elder's cross on 25 minutes but it was deflected away for a corner. Superb defending down the other end from Greaves saw a certain chance for Tyler Smith cleared for a corner. As fast paced as the first half had started, however, it fizzled out and there were no chances for either side as the half time whistle sounded.
There were no changes for either side as the second half began, with Hull trying to carve out openings to increase their lead. Hull were knocking at the door in the first five minutes or so, but the ball would just not sit right from them to muster an attempt at goal. Docherty had the first shot of the second half which was well saved by Travers.
Swindon started to apply some pressure of their own and Scott Twine went close from a free kick on 58 minutes. Just after the hour mark, there was a delay after Jordan Lyden went into George Honeyman with what seemed like an elbow. Lyden was lucky to escape with a caution as Honeyman took a while to walk off the pitch to be checked. Alfie Jones came off injured with Richie Smallwood replacing him on 68 minutes.
With 18 minutes to go, Josh Magennis replaced the impressive Crowley as Grant McCann's team tried to find the elusive second goal. Wilks had a chance that he just couldn't stretch to meet effectively before shooting high and wide from the edge of the area. Docherty also had an attempt go over the bar as the game entered the final ten minutes.
Billy Chadwick and James Scott came on for the last five minutes of the match as Hull were made to defend deep by a Swindon side intent on grabbing a leveller. There were six minutes of added time to be played but Hull controlled it to claim the priceless points that see them go top of League One.
Takeaways from the match
Tigers go top on goal difference
Grant McCann brought in Reece Burke and Dan Crowley after the mid-week defeat to Accrington Stanley, and the early goal created by the latter was enough to see the Tigers leapfrog Lincoln City, who lost by a solitary goal at home to Doncaster Rovers. Once again the Tigers should have scored more than the one goal, but they did enough to grind out the win.
Sheridan's Swindon draw a blank
There was lots of huffing and puffing from Swindon, but no real clear cut chances created by John Sheridan's side. They were cut open in the early stages and despite growing into the game, no-one could deny the home side deserved the win. Their home form will be key to Swindon staying up as their away form continues to be poor.
Greg Docherty was excellent for the Tigers, as was Dan Crowley. The on-loan Birmingham City midfielder was superb on the ball throughout the first half especially, despite being hooked for Magennis for the final quarter of the match. Gaining match fitness will be a number one priority for Crowley as he has the potential to be a stand-out performer for City in the second half of the season.