Michy Batshuayi and Fikayo Tomori put the visitors two goals to the good before substitute Kamil Grosicki’s deflected free kick set up a thrilling finale in front of a sell-out crowd, but the visitors held on for a 2-1 win.
Grant McCann made four changes to the side that face Derby County a week earlier. Callum Elder’s injury saw Robbie McKenzie come in to play at right back with skipper Eric Lichaj switching to left back, while Mallik Wilks made his first start since joining on loan from Barnsley with Josh Bowler absent. George Honeyman and third round hat-trick hero Tom Eaves also started, with Jackson Irvine and Josh Magennis dropping to the bench.
Chelsea had former Hull City loanee Tomori in their starting eleven, while the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma and Pedro were also part of Frank Lampard’s line up.
The Tigers certainly started brightly enough with some positive attacking play bringing a couple of early corners but deliveries from Jarrod Bowen and Herbie Kane didn’t pick out a black and amber shirt.
However, Chelsea struck in only the sixth minute when a ball in from the right fell for Michy Batshuayi and his deflected effort found the net.
A good cross from Wilks almost provided Eaves with a chance to level at the back post but the Chelsea defence recovered in time, while another deflected effort from Batshuayi ended up in the side-netting.
George Long was off his line quickly to save from Ross Barkley after he had been played through in the 16th minute, and on the whole the home side were doing a decent job of containing the visitors after the early goal.
Long again stood tall, this time to deny Mason Mount after the midfielder had burst into the Tigers’ box, before Bowen registered the home side’s first effort on goal but a rather scuffed effort was easily claimed by goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
Long made his third big save of the half in added time when he denied Pedro at his near post to leave Chelsea with a one goal lead at the interval.
Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic picked up a booking within a minute of the restart for bringing down Bowen in full flight, with Kane sending the resulting free kick wide from 25 yards.
McCann’s men were certainly trying to force the issue with much of the game being played in the Chelsea half of the field, but a final ball to open up the visiting defence was just lacking.
Bowen ran at the heart of the Chelsea back line before firing just over the bar before a first change saw Grosicki replace Wilks.
Lichaj was booked just after the hour for taking down Mount, giving Chelsea a free kick in a decent position and Ross Barkley’s ball in picked out Tomori who headed past Long to double his side’s lead.
A double change from the home side brought Magennis and Martin Samuelsen on for Eaves and Honeyman, while Pedro missed the chance to add third for the visitors when he dragged wide of the post.
Tomori almost bagged his second when the Tigers failed to clear a corner but Long was there to make a block, before Pedro hit the side-netting after controlling nicely inside the box.
A foul on Magennis right on the edge of the Chelsea box game McCann’s side a great opportunity from a set-piece with 12 minutes remaining and from it they halved the deficit as Grosicki’s free kick was deflected past Caballero.
It set up an exciting finale with Grosicki firing wide after being played in by Bowen and the Tigers throwing men forward, but there was no dream comeback as McCann’s spirited side were beaten.
Hull City: George Long; Robbie McKenzie, Reece Burke, Ryan Tafazolli, Eric Lichaj ©; Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, Herbie Kane, George Honeyman (Martin Samuelsen 68); Jarrod Bowen, Mallik Wilks (Kamil Grosicki 59), Tom Eaves (Josh Magennis 68).
Subs Not Used: Matt Ingram, Sean McLoughlin, Stephen Kingsley, Jackson Irvine.
Chelsea: Willy Caballero; Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori, Marcos Alonso; Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount (Willian 68); Callum Hudson-Odoi (Billy Gilmour 68), Pedro (Tariq Lamptey 90), Michy Batshuayi.
Subs Not Used: Jame Cumming, Andreas Christensen, Emerson, Ian Maatsen.
Referee: Mr C. Pawson.