The floodlight failure that overtook Sunderland's aptly named Stadium of Light summed up Hull's dismal and lifeless display as they slipped to a disappointing defeat against their fellow relegation rivals.
Lifeless up front and leaky in defence
Looking to build upon a 2-1 victory over Southampton last time out, the Tigers took to the field with a roar to their play for the opening 20 minutes, but were unable to convert the pressure they exerted. As the first half wore on, the hosts grew in confidence and Hull gradually slipped back into their shell. The gap between the visiting midfield and lone striker Dieumerci Mbokani became bigger and bigger, with only top goalscorer Robert Snodgrass offering any kind of support.
Yet perhaps more concerning were the gaps appearing between the midfield line and back line of the Tigers. With Victor Anichebe in particular dropping into pockets of space, Hull's central midfielders looked unsure who was supposed to block out this area of the pitch.
Occassionally teams can get away with such discrepancies in their tactics, but Hull's defence was quite simply a shambles. Rarely did the back four even do the schoolboy basic of keeping in line, an issue exploited by Jermain Defoe towards the end of the opening 45 minutes. The experienced striker faced up Ahmed Elmohamady and Curtis Davies, with no other amber and black shirt in sight. Despite being a couple of comrades down, the two defenders did not help themselves by poking out a couple of hopeful legs that were easily avoided by the former England international, duly sending the hosts into the lead.
Men against boys
Hull afforded their opponents too much space throughout the contest and Anichebe followed in his strike partner's footsteps by taking advantage. Up against the inexperienced 17-year-old £150-per-week Josh Tymon, Anichebe really did make it a case of man against boy. Dropping off his opponent, the powerful striker leathered home a second, which should have been saved, before Tymon was eventually put out of his misery and replaced midway through the second half.
Yet Mike Phelan's tactical adjustments were still not enough to prevent the reborn striker from grabbing a second. Sam Clucas slotted into the left-back position but also afforded Anichebe time and space who duly put the three points beyond doubt.
The visitors did offer sporadic moments of hope going forward but were constantly thwarted by a sea of red and white shirts. The Tigers quite simply lacked ideas and creativity and struggled to make inroads against an improved Sunderland defensive display.
Back to the drawing board for Phelan has he looks to tighten up his defence and find a more ruthless approach up front.