Keane Lewis-Potter was the match-winner for Hull City, scoring his first professional brace for his home-town club against Oxford United and moving the Tigers six points clear of Peterborough United in Sky Bet League One.
Story of the match
City got the game underway but it was Oxford who had the first chance. Mallik Wilks was fouled, but the referee waved play on - which allowed Oxford to counter. Matt Ingram had to be alert to push the ball away to safety after only 30 seconds.
Lewis-Potter was brought down in the area on five minutes, but the officials ended up deciding the youngster was offside after much deliberation. Oxford then flashed a ball across the area, with the game starting in a frantic pace. United were looking to get the ball forward and cross at any opportunity for either Dan Agyei or Olamide Shodipo to get on the end of it.
Hull needed to settle down and start to move the ball forward quicker, and after a good ball by Alfie Jones to George Honeyman, the home side won a free kick. Lewis-Potter shot from the resulting set piece but his effort was blocked. Lewis-Potter certainly showed flair on the left hand side, causing all sorts of problems once he had settled into the match from around ten minutes in. City looked to have ridden the early pressure and were starting to look to create openings of their own.
On 21 minutes the Tigers took the lead. Lewie Coyle picked up the ball in his own half and sent a 40-yard ball over the top to Lewis-Potter, who controlled well. He drove at the defenders, cut inside and bent his shot into the bottom corner to open the scoring. The vision from Coyle was superb, and the finish equally so. Oxford were certainly looking to push City for an equalizer in an incredibly open game. Wilks shot straight at Jack Stevens soon after when he possibly could have played in Honeyman.
Josh Ruffles had a great chance just after the half hour mark, heading goal wards from a Mark Sykes cross - but Ingram saved well. Lewis-Potter turned Elliot Lee superbly and won a free kick just after, but Jacob Greaves' knock down didn't drop for Gavin Whyte. Wilks was bizarrely penalized for handball after being fouled and falling on the ball, but the free kick came to nothing. Lewis-Potter went close to a second just before half time with his effort just whizzing over the bar.
The second half got underway in blustery conditions and it was City who had the first chance. Whyte's cross was overhit and went out for a goal kick. Both sides kept up the intensity from the first half, and the home side should have had a penalty on 54 minutes. Coyle drove into the box and went down under the challenge from the defender, which the referee simply ignored. With two men in the middle to pass to, there seemed no reason for Coyle to go to ground unless he was fouled.
Whyte tested Stevens soon after from the edge of the area, and Oxford cleared for a corner after another Callum Elder/Honeyman free kick routine. Just after the hour mark, Whyte intercepted and drove forward before playing in Wilks. He rounded the keeper but lost his footing and the ball drifted out for a goal kick. The home side should have capitalized on a counter-attack on 65 minutes, but the Oxford defense managed to block Honeyman's pass which would have seen Whyte or Lewis-Potter clear through on goal.
Lewis-Potter doubled his and his side's lead with a devestating counter-attack on 70 minutes. He drove at the defense before his shot deflected off Robert Atkinson and went into the net. It was no more than the youngster deserved, as he had been superb all afternoon. Josh Magennis then replaced the two goal hero and Wilks shifted out to the left hand side. Dan Crowley also came on, replacing Whyte. Coyle then went down with a head injury - fortunately he was able to walk off the pitch, but he was replaced by Josh Emmanuel.
Oxford tried to create chances to get back into the game, and it was Agyei who had an opportunity with five minutes to go. He tried a back-heeled attempt which Ingram gathered easily. With nine minutes of added time to play, United started to pile the pressure on the home defense to halve the arrears. Magennis found himself through on goal after Wilks' pass, but the ball got tangled in his feet and the chance was lost.
Takeaways from the match
Lewis-Potter inspires victory
After a slow start, the Tigers found inspiration from one of their three Hull-born starters. Lewis-Potter scored both City goals and was a constant threat throughout, showing excellent touches and runs that caused all sorts of problems for the Oxford defense. The home side came under an early spell of pressure and were also indebted to Matt Ingram who made vital saves at key moments. Lewie Coyle - until he went off injured - was also superb.
Oxford start brightly but undone on the counter
Karl Robinson's side started very well, but couldn't make their early pressure tell. Once Coyle's ball put Lewis-Potter in behind the Tigers never looked back, but there were a few hairy moments for Grant McCann's side. It was certainly clear why United haven't lost too many games of late, and the Tigers cement their place at the top of Sky Bet League One with Lincoln City slipping up at home against Rochdale.
Keane Lewis-Potter was outstanding for the home side. City were slow to start in the game, but some of the touches and runs from the Hull-born youngster were absolutely superb. His opening goal saw him display an amazing touch off a pin-point Coyle ball over the top before cutting onto his right foot and curling into the bottom corner. His second was similar, and although his shot took a deflection it was still credited to him.