The Tigers went in level at the break after Jarrod Bowen’s third goal of the season cancelled out Benik Afobe’s 44th-minute penalty. However, two goals in three second half minutes – a Reece Burke own goal and Afobe’s second of the afternoon – ensured all three points for the visitors.
There were three changes to the side lost to Blackburn Rovers at home in midweek. George Honeyman replaced Dan Batty, who dropped to the bench, in midfield, while Grant McCann opted to switch his full-backs with Leonardo Da Silva Lopes and Brandon Fleming – making his first league start at the KCOM – replacing Robbie McKenzie and Stephen Kingsley. With skipper Eric Lichaj still sidelined by a hamstring problem, Jackson Irvine wore the captain’s armband once again.
The opening period of the game saw the Tigers have more of the ball without really creating any clear-cut goalscoring opportunities and it was the Robins who had the first effort of the game when Andreas Weimann found row Z behind George Long’s goal with an audacious attempt on the volley.
Honeyman was required to make vital tackle inside his own box to prevent Famara Diedhiou from getting a shot away before the Tigers’ had their first shot of the game with a low drive from Kamil Grosicki, which hit Irvine and went behind for a goal kick.
The visitors saw loud penalty appeals waved away on 20 minutes when Afobe went to ground under Da Silva Lopes’ challenge but referee Dean Whitestone was left unimpressed by the claims and allowed play to continue – much to the frustration of the Robins’ players and coaching staff.
McCann’s men twice came close to breaking the deadlock in quick succession shortly after. Following more lovely passing play from the home side, Tom Eaves was superbly denied by Bentley before Reece Burke saw a sweetly-struck volley from the edge of the box blocked on the line by Tomas Kalas.
The Tigers were now beginning to create opportunities and another came along when Irvine released Grosicki down the left. The Winger checked inside the box to create space for a shot, which was pushed behind by Bentley at the near post.
Lee Johnson was forced into a first change of the afternoon on the half-hour mark when Kasey Palmer was introduced into the action in place of the injured Kalas.
The first yellow card of the game was produced with nine minutes remaining the opening half when Tommy Rowe was booked for preventing the Tigers from taking a free-kick – with the first goal of the afternoon following four minutes later.
Kevin Stewart was adjudged to have fouled Josh Brownhill inside the box – with referee Whitestone this time pointed to the spot. Afobe took responsibility for the spot-kick – and calmly sent George Long the wrong to put the visitors ahead.
Long produced an outstanding save to prevent Diedhiou from doubling the Robins lead shortly after the restart – tipping the striker’s header onto the crossbar with the ball somehow failing to cross the line on its way down.
And it proved to be a key moment as the Tigers immediately went upfield and levelled the scores in the penultimate minute of the half. Stewart’s pass released Bowen, who advanced into the box before finding the bottom corner with a well-taken right-footed finish for his third goal of the campaign.
The Tigers went straight on the attack after half time with Bowen’s low centre picking out Irvine. The Australian’s initial effort was blocked by Brownhill, with the ball spinning to Grosicki. He teed up Eaves, who saw his strike from a narrow angle gathered by Bentley after hitting a defender.
The visitors responded with their first effort of the second half. A through-ball released Andreas Weimann down the right, with the wide-man venturing into the box before firing wildly over the bar.
The end-to-end action continued as de Wijs, Bowen and Grosicki combined to create an opening for the latter – with the Pole’s well-struck effort pushed behind by Bentley.
Although the resulting corner came to nothing, the ball was delivered back into the box by Honeyman. His cross picked out Bowen at the back post, but the winger was unable to guide his header on target under pressure.
Substitute Palmer picked up a yellow card for a needless foul on Lopes down the right flank on 63 minutes. Bowen’s set-piece routine resulted in a corner for the hosts, which came to nothing.
Lee Johnson made a second change with 25 minutes still to play when introducing Jack Hunt into the action in place of Pedro Pereira.
A swift counter-attack almost saw the Tigers take the lead on 74 minutes. Grosicki pinched possession and powered his way forward before seeing his angled strike clip the outside of the post.
Both sides made changes on the 75-minute mark – with Antoine Semenyo replacing Diedhiou for the Robins while Ryan Tafazolli came on for the injured Jordy de Wijs.
The visitors made certain of the points with two goals in quick succession. It was 2-1 on 78 minutes as the unfortunate Burke put the ball into the back of his own net when attempting to intercept Hunt’s low cross – before Afobe added a third goal for the visitors shortly after. Weimann delivered an inviting cross into the area and Afobe was there to roll the ball into the far corner for his second of the afternoon.
Weimann was booked for a cynical foul on Grosicki before McCann made a double change on 87 minutes as the two Josh’s, Bowler and Magennis, came on for Honeyman and Irvine.
Magennis was the first to try and make an impact, but the Northern Irishman’s low drive from 25 yards failed to seriously test Bentley.
Eaves saw a decent penalty shout waved away in stoppage-time. The striker appeared to have his shirt pulled by a defender in red and white as he looked to make contact with Magennis’ right-wing cross only for the man with the whistle to say no as the Tigers slipped to a second successive home loss.
Hull City: George Long, Jordy de Wijs (Ryan Tafazolli 75), Reece Burke, Kevin Stewart, Tom Eaves, Kamil Grosicki, George Honeyman (Josh Bowler 87), Jarrod Bowen, Stephen Kingsley, Jackson Irvine (Josh Magennis 87), Leonardo Da Silva Lopes.
Subs Not Used: Matt Ingram, Daniel Batty, Nouha Dicko, Stephen Kingsley.
Bristol City: Daniel Bentley, Nathan Baker, Josh Brownhill, Famara Diedhiou (Antoine Semenyo 75), Andreas Weimann, Tomas Kalas (Kasey Palmer 31), Taylor Moore, Tommy Rowe, Pedro Pereira (Jack Hunt 65), Benik Afobe, Han-Noah Massengo.
Subs Not Used: Niki Maenpaa, Callum O’Dowda, Sammie Szmodics, Niclas Eliasson.
Referee: Mr D. Whitestone