It was very much a routine victory for Hull City at home against Northampton Town as the Tigers ran out 3-0 winners at the KCOM Stadium.
Callum Elder, Keane Lewis-Potter and Gavin Whyte all scored to see Grant McCann' side go three points clear at the top of Sky Bet League One, taking full advantage of the 1-1 draw between Peterborough United and Sunderland.
Story of the match
Both sides struggled to get a hold of the ball in the opening stages, with balls played over the top and in behind. Lewie Coyle was down after two minutes of the game, with the Hull City captain giving his side a scare before returning to the field. Greg Docherty showed great feet to win a free kick, but the Cobblers cleared their lines.
Elder whipped a free kick in from near the corner flag on seven minutes, but it evaded everyone and went out for a goal kick. After a stop-start affair, Lewis-Potter drove at the defense and went down in the area. It seemed to be a legitimate penalty claim, but the referee remained unmoved. Shaun McWilliams then steamed in with a robust tackle that somehow managed to escape the booking, but the freekick opportunity was wasted by the home side.
Josh Magennis had the ball in the net on 16 minutes, but the linesman flagged for offside and the goal was chalked off immediately. It was good build up play by the home side though, and they were starting to create chances. Elder's crosses were increasingly dangerous, but the attackers were failing to connect with the balls in.
As the half-hour mark approached, neither side really looked like breaking the deadlock, although the Tigers were creating more chances. However, as another free kick seemed to have been wasted, Elder came in from the right to curl the ball into the top corner for the opening goal of the game and his first of the season.
Lewis-Potter had an effort smartly saved by Jonathan Mitchell with around five minutes to go before half time as Hull City looked for a second to kill their opponents off. Lewis-Potter then did get his goal just before half time after Magennis put him in for a golden chance. His shot deflected off Lloyd Jones and looped into the net for 2-0.
Neither side made changes at half time, and the second half continued as the first left off. Hull had chances to extend their two goal advantage, but the score remained 2-0 as the clock ticked over the 50 minute mark. Great work from Coyle saw a headed chance for Magennis, but the Northern Irishman couldn't get his header on target.
Greg Docherty grazed the bar with an effort on the hour mark, and City pushed with what seemed an endless succession of corners as the 70-minute mark approached. Wilks went down in the area but the referee was unmoved again, and George Honeyman saw an effort blocked as the Cobblers held on. Lewis-Potter went close yet again on 72 minutes with his effort just going wide of the far post.
Hull had yet another claim for a penalty on 81 minutes after Coyle was upended, and a corner was rather bizarrely given. The Cobblers cleared the resulting set piece and the opportunity was gone. Fraser Horsfall produced an outstanding last-ditch tackle on Honeyman to prevent a certain goal with four minutes to go, with the ex-Sunderland man hobbling off in what could be the only downer from the game - as well as Jacob Greaves hobbling off minutes before the final whistle.
The victory was sealed by Gavin Whyte, latching on to a superb through ball by Elder to round Mitchell and tap in with ease.
Takeaways from the match
Dominant Tigers get the job done
Hull City were excellent throughout, and with goals from Elder, Lewis-Potter and Whyte they were convincing winners. They could and perhaps should have had many more, but this rounded off and excellent Easter weekend for McCann's side. The amount of chance the Tigers created were enormous, but they may have to start being more ruthless in front of goal if they are to get automatic promotion.
Northampton struggle against League Leaders
It is clear why the Cobblers are struggling at the bottom of the table. They lacked crisp passing and didn't really muster an effort on goal all game. They will look to pick up points against those around them in their bid for survival, but this was a poor performance by Jon Brady's side.
Greg Docherty and Regan Slater were both excellent for the home side, with the former continuing his good form and the latter staking a claim for a regular starting spot. In truth Hull could have had many more, with profligate finishing being their downfall yet again. Fortunately for the Tigers, this did not come back to haunt them as it had throughout the season.