On a night when Jarrod Bowen registered his 50th and 51st goals for the Tigers, Josh Magennis and Kamil Grosicki were also on target as the home side racked up their biggest win of the season to date. The only surprise was that the scoreline wasn’t even greater as Grant McCann’s side produced a rampant display.
McCann made three changes to the side that started against Middlesbrough last weekend. Daniel Batty and Josh Bowler, who both impressed after coming on as substitutes at the Riverside, were promoted to the starting eleven with Kevin Stewart and Leonardo Da Silva Lopes dropping out. Magennis was also back after a four-match ban and started ahead of Tom Eaves up front.
The changes saw Bowen move inside to a more central position, with Bowler playing down the right and Jackson Irvine sitting in alongside Batty in midfield.
Persistent rain meant that the pitch was heavily watered by the time the game kicked off, and Preston went close early on when Sean Maguire struck an upright after the assistant referee had missed a clear offside in the build-up.
Grosicki saw an effort blocked after being picked out by Callum Elder inside the box as the home side threatened for the first time, and Grosicki was denied again in the ninth minute as Patrick Bauer produced a well-timed challenge six yards from goal.
George Long got down well to keep out Tom Barkhuizen’s low effort as Preston broke forward, but it was the Tigers looking the more likely to open the scoring and they did so half-an-hour in. Irvine’s pass found Grosicki wide left and when he crossed low with the outside of his right foot, Bowen made the most of a ricochet to finish from close range and bag his 50th goal for the Club.
Grosicki fired inches wide before Preston had a chance to equalise when Daniel Johnson controlled inside the box but he sliced horribly off target.
Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd kept out another Grosicki effort with Bowen finding the surface too tricky to get on the end of the rebound, while Rudd was also forced to turn Bowler’s effort over the bar.
Rudd was the busiest man on the field as he kept Bowen out after Grosicki had created a great opening, and then Magennis was denied in added time as his acrobatic effort was pushed away by the visiting stopper.
The Tigers were offered the opportunity to double their lead three minutes into the second half – and they took it. Grosicki played Bowler into the box and when he went down under Ryan Ledson’s challenge, the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Magennis stepped up and found the net from 12 yards despite the best efforts of Rudd who got a good hand on the Northern Ireland international’s effort.
It was 3-0 in the 51st minute. Some delightful build-up play involving Magennis and Bowen resulted in the latter pulling the ball back for Grosicki to finish from close range.
The Tigers were roaring and Grosicki almost created a chance for Bowen to add a fourth but the pass was a little too heavy.
Long saved from Billy Bodin at the other end but the home side were soon back on the attack as Bowler sent a powerful drive narrowly wide.
Irvine fired over the bar from close range after Grosicki’s free kick had been kept out by Rudd, before Batty was unfortunate to be booked for a challenge on Paul Gallagher, who himself had been cautioned for an earlier foul on Bowler.
Rudd made another save to keep out Grosicki’s curling effort before Preston substitute Josh Harrop struck the woodwork and Long blocked Barkhuizen’s follow-up.
A first substitution came 19 minutes from time as George Honeyman replaced the impressive Bowler.
The Tigers added a fourth goal in the 77th minute. Honeyman’s ball over the top sent Bowen away and with no support, he went alone as he cut in from the right before beating Rudd at his near post.
A double change saw Eaves and Keane Lewis-Potter come on for Magennis and Grosicki, before Bowen’s chance for a hat-trick arrived but he was eventually crowded out inside the box.
Irvine glanced a Bowen corner just over the bar, Bowen sent a dipping volley over and Eaves fired just wide as the home side continued to attack at will during the closing stages but the job was already well and truly done.
Hull City: George Long; Eric Lichaj ©, Reece Burke, Jordy de Wijs, Callum Elder; Daniel Batty, Jackson Irvine, Josh Bowler (George Honeyman 71); Jarrod Bowen, Kamil Grosicki (Keane Lewis-Potter 78), Josh Magennis (Tom Eaves 78).
Subs Not Used: Matt Ingram, Ryan Tafazolli, Kevin Stewart, Matthew Pennington.
Preston North End: Declan Rudd, Ben Pearson, Daniel Johnson, Paul Gallagher, Jordan Storey, Joe Rafferty, Ryan Ledson (Josh Harrop 58), Patrick Bauer, Sean Maguire (Brad Potts 81), Tom Barkhuizen, Billy Bodin (David Nugent 67).
Subs Not Used: Mathew Hudson, Tom Bayliss, Jayden Stockley, Paul Huntington.
Referee: Mr J. Moss.