Hull City may look back on this result as the turning point in their season. With just one point from a possible 24 and stuck in a rut of six consecutive Premier League defeats, the Tigers looked bereft of confidence and almost assigned to relegation even at this early point in the season.
Just seven minutes into their contest against Southampton and the downward spiral looked set to continue as Charlie Austin converted an early penalty. Yet a remarkable turnaround with two goals in as many minutes from Robert Snodgrass and Michael Dawson could have turned the tide for the Yorkshire club.
Stale Hull sink to new lows
Mike Phelan had decided to keep faith in the same formation and line-up that had barely been changed during Hull's disappointing slide down the table. However when Curtis Davies hacked down Maya Yoshida inside the penalty area within minutes of the game beginning, the hosts looked assigned to a seventh consecutive league defeat. Southampton's main marksman Austin stepped up with the outcome set in stone as soon as he confidently struck the ball.
Double figures had not even registered on the KCOM clock when Hull's main goal-getter Abel Hernandez picked up a nasty injury causing him to limp off and be replaced by Dieumerci Mbokani. The visitors raised the tempo further as they smelt blood and Austin was only denied another by a last ditch Dawson block. The Tigers were hanging on but lost another striker midway through the half as Will Keane had to be replaced by Snodgrass. A blessing in disguise maybe?
At that time it did not matter who was plying their trade in the more attacking area of the pitch for the hosts. It was all about Southampton and in particular Austin. The striker was denied first by an Ahmed Elmohamady block, before David Marshall produced a smart stop on half-time. Hull left the pitch to jeers from a half empty crowd. Where next for Phelan's men?
Smash and grab
If Charlie Austin was the main threat in the opening 45 minutes, Virgil van Dijk was the man to pick up that mantle in the opening stages after the break. The unlikely source was first denied by Marshall and then the crossbar as nobody in amber and black could pick up the giant central defender from set-pieces.
Then on the hour mark the pendulum was to unexpectantly swing the other way. Snodgrass drew Hull level with a sweeping finish from Sam Clucas' driven cross, before the Scotsman found Dawson with a curling free-kick who duly headed past Fraser Forster. Jeers quicky turned to cheers inside the KCOM.
Southampton were clearly stunned and struggled to find their rhythm after taking their foot off the gas. Steven Davis saw an effort blocked by Davies, before Austin rekindled his threat when he forced Marshall into another fine stop.
Time was running out for the visitors but the nerves were papable for the hosts. James Ward-Prowse struck a long range effort just wide, before Austin was prevented again by his nemesis between the Hull sticks. The Saints finally thought they had earned a point in injury time only for a goalmouth scramble to be hacked away by Sam Clucas off the line.
The Tigers were to hang on and win their first league game since August. The turning point for the rest of their season? Watch this space.