Keane Lewis-Potter scored the winner as Hull City came back from behind to beat Fleetwood Town 2-1 at the KCOM Stadium in a pulsating affair in East Yorkshire.
Kyle Vassell put the visitors in front after 21 minutes, but goals from Josh Magennis and Lewis-Potter ensured victory for the Tigers to give their promotion credentials a real boost going into the last few fixtures.
Story of the match
Hull City had the majority of the ball in the opening couple of minutes, trying to play the ball in behind the Fleetwood back line - but with little joy. The first real chance came when Dan Crowley - in for the injured George Honeyman - carved out an opening on the edge of the area, but the shot was blocked and the hosts won a corner. Janoi Dancaian picked up the first booking of the game, cynically taking out Mallik Wilks after the Hull forward sold him a dummy.
On 12 minutes, great work from Greg Docherty released Keane Lewis-Potter and his cross set up a chance for Magennis. However, the forward was adjudged to have fouled Fleetwood captain Callum Connolly and a free kick was given.
After a quick counter attack on 16 minutes, Barrie McKay had a chance with a shot from the edge of the area, but Hull goalkeeper Matt Ingram made an important save to keep the scores goalless. Vassell then clashed with Regan Slater, going down easily to win Fleetwood a free kick as the visitors started to come into the game. The chance came to nothing, however, as the offside flag went up against Callum Camps.
On 21 minutes, Vassell got his goal. Wes Burns went past Callum Elder far too easily and crossed for a simple tap in for the Fleetwood striker. This was exactly the sort of scenario Grant McCann would not have wanted, with Burns causing his side trouble last time out back in January when Hull had to come from behind against Fleetwood in the Papa John's Trophy.
Ingram had to be at full stretch after a shot from McKay as Fleetwood still threatened the Tigers defense. Burns almost got himself a goal but his half volley hit the side netting on 36 minutes. Jordan Rossiter then went down and received treatment after Town manager Simon Grayson was warned by the fourth official for his expletive attack on the linesman. Grayson felt the ball came off Jacob Greaves and a Fleetwood throw should have been given, but it went the way of the home side.
The Tigers started to push forward to try get on the scoresheet, but they were missing the energy of Honeyman in the middle. Fleetwood were happy to sit back and counter, and another injury then occurred with Elder the unfortunate casualty. Fleetwood felt they should have had the ball kicked back to them, but nothing came of the attack as half time rolled around.
Half time - Hull City 0-1 Fleetwood Town
There were no changes from either side at half time, and the pressure was very much on the home side to get back into the game. Dan Batty thought he'd scored after a deflected shot looped over Ingram, but the linesman's flag came to Hull's rescue and offside was given. The referee was then in the spotlight again as Lewis-Potter cut in from the left and shot goalwards, with the forward feeling that there was a Fleetwood hand in the block. As it was, a corner was given which came to nothing.
Hull had the ball in the net on the hour mark through Lewis-Potter after knocking on the door for a while, but somehow he was adjudged to be offside. Magennis looked to be in an offside position, but he didn't touch the ball and Lewis-Potter was furious his effort didn't count. There was justice a minute later however when an excellent through ball by Docherty put in Magennis who finished expertly to tie up the score.
Hull City then got a second goal that they deserved from their second half performance. Good play from Lewie Coyle found Crowley on the right hand side and his cross missed Mallik Wilks but Lewis-Potter finished spectacularly to give Hull the lead. Hull were clearly buoyed by the disallowed goal, and felt that they had got what they deserved.
Into the final ten minutes, the ever-impressive Docherty drove down the right hand side, shrugged off Camps and crossed for Magennis - but the ball just wouldn't sit for the Northern Ireland International. Magennis should have made it 3-1 late on after an excellent break from Gavin Whyte saw his effort cleared off the line by a desperate Fleetwood defence. Mark Duffy was put in for Town towards the end of the match, but a huge tackle from Alfie Jones saw the points go to the Tigers.
Takeaways from the match
Tigers do it the hard way
The Tigers fans may have thought that their team hadn't got the message about a 12:30 kick off, with Fleetwood the better side in the first half. Just as they did back in January in the Papa John's Trophy, Hull came back strong in the second half and definitely deserved the win based on the second half showing.
All eyes will be on the KCOM on Tuesday night when the Tigers entertain Sunderland.
Fleetwood lead lead slip again
As good as Fleetwood were in the opening half, they showed openings in their back line that City eventually exploited. They will look to Batty's disallowed goal as a turning point and argue they could have been two up, but they allowed Hull back into the game and gave them chances - which in their current form is a dangerous game.
Greg Docherty was outstanding second half, and was at the heart of everything going forward for Hull City. In the absence of George Honeyman, it took the Tigers a little bit of time to start firing on all cylinders - but Docherty was commanding in the middle. Lewis-Potter and Magennis got the goals, bu the Scotsman will take the plaudits. Alfie Jones showed how important he has been to the side with a last minute block to deny Mark Duffy a certain equalizer. Wes Burns was excellent for the away side and certainly caused Callum Elder problems, especially in the first half.