Hull City made it three home league wins from three home league games as they recorded a 2-0 victory over Preston North End at the KC Stadium on Saturday.
The Tigers were made to work hard for the victory, but a fortuitous Abel Hernandez opener and a late volley from Curtis Davies steered Steve Bruce’s men to all three points.
Hernandez was one of three changes to the starting eleven following last weekend’s defeat at Charlton with Mohamed Diame and Sam Clucas also coming in. Nikica Jelavic, Tom Huddlestone and Sone Aluko were the men to drop out. Shaun Maloney was included amongst the substitutes after international clearance was granted following his arrival from Chicago Fire.
Preston enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges with Michael Dawson forced to make a timely challenge to deny Joe Garner a clear sight of goal and Chris Humphrey making Allan McGregor dive at full stretch to keep out his effort from the edge of the box.
The first threat of the afternoon from the home side came on the counter-attack as Hernandez and David Meyler exchanged passes before the striker curled a shot high over the bar from 20 yards out.
Preston goalkeeper Jordan Pickford struggled to deal with a 17th-minute Ahmed Elmohamady cross under pressure from Akpom, but the keeper recovered before the striker could profit before Garner was shown a yellow card for simulation at the other end when he went down too easily under a Moses Odubajo challenge.
Odubajo was proving dangerous down the right and when he cut in from the wing a shooting chance opened up but a weak left-footer went wide.
The deadlock was broken eight minutes before half time. A Sam Clucas corner was flicked on by Akpom for Hernandez inside the six-yard box but a poor touch from the striker looked to have caused the chance to pass by. However, Neil Kilkenny’s attempted clearance hit Hernandez and rebounded into the back of the Preston net.
Hernandez had chances to put the game beyond Preston as the break approached, curling over a free kick from 25 yards before a golden opportunity came his way when Michael Dawson’s low shot deflected into his path, but the striker couldn’t convert when one-on-one with Pickford, the keeper blocking with his legs.
McGregor made a routine save from Daniel Johnson’s looping, deflected effort early in the second half before some more unconvincing goalkeeper from Pickford at the other end led to a mini-scramble inside the six-yard box before the keeper managed to regather possession.
A rash of yellow cards then followed with Calum Woods and former Tiger John Welsh going into the book for poor challenges, with Akpom cautioned for the home side for his foul on Tom Clarke.
Preston enjoyed plenty of possession after that but never really threatened an equaliser with the majority of McGregor’s work coming under the high ball.
The best chance for the visitors came the way of substitute Alan Browne when he met Paul Gallagher’s cross but he could only head over from close range.
The Tigers sealed all three points eight minutes from time when, after being introduced from the bench for his debut, Maloney delivered a corner onto the boot of Curtis Davies who volleyed powerfully into the net for 2-0.
That proved to be the last action of note and, without ever clicking into the higher gears, the Tigers find themselves with ten points from a possible 15 as the season heads into its first international break.
Hull City: Allan McGregor, Moses Odubajo, Curtis Davies, David Meyler, Abel Hernandez (Sone Aluko 70), Sam Clucas, Mohamed Diame (Shaun Maloney 70), Chuba Akpom (Isaac Hayden 83), Michael Dawson, Andrew Robertson, Ahmed Elmohamady.
Subs Not Used: Eldin Jakupovic, Alex Bruce, Tom Huddlestone, Greg Luer.
Preston: Jordan Pickford, Tom Clarke, Bailey Wright, Chris Humphrey (Will Keane 70), Neil Kilkenny, Daniel Johnson, Paul Gallagher, Joe Garner, Calum Woods (Marnick Vermijl 83), John Welsh (Adam Browne 70), Paul Huntington.
Subs Not Used: Chris Kirkland, Kyel Reid, Josh Brownhill, Jordan Hugill.
Referee: Mr F. Graham.