Hull City made it two wins from their opening two Sky Bet League One fixtures, although they were made to work hard for all three points as a late goal saw them beat Crewe Alexandra 1-0 at the KCOM Stadium.
Mallik Wilks came up with the game’s defining moment, glancing home a cross from substitute Thomas Mayer nine minutes from time to earn the victory.
Grant McCann’s starting eleven showed just one change to the side that started against Gillingham in the previous League One outing, with Callum Elder coming in for Brandon Fleming at left back. There was a return for goalkeeper George Long from injury as he took the place of Harvey Cartwright on the bench.
The home side started brightly and enjoyed plenty of possession inside the Crewe half, although no goal-scoring chance were forthcoming during the opening ten minutes.
There was a brief delay as one of the assistant referees required some technical assistance with his earpiece and on the resumption of play, Matt Ingram made a routine save from Mikael Mandron.
Greg Docherty lashed a volley wide before the first big chance of the afternoon fell to Wilks. Keane Lewis-Potter and Josh Magennis set up the opportunity as they took play into the Crewe box before Magennis squared to Wilks who was denied at close quarters by goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen.
Wilks then saw a diving header saved by the Crewe stopper, with Ingram replying with an important save from Owen Dale.
Crewe threatened again when Oliver Finney’s low cross flashed through the six-yard box, while there was a controversial end to the first half when the Tigers should have been awarded a penalty as, after a Wilks effort had been deflected wide for a corner, Docherty was bundled over as he attempted to get on the end of the resulting set-piece.
Jordy de Wijs picked up a booking during the opening ten minutes of the second half and, with McCann’s men struggling to make any real inroads after the interval, a double substitution was made as James Scott and Mayer replaced Magennis and Lewis-Potter.
Richie Smallwood was yellow carded after his slip caused him to commit a foul in centre field, while a first yellow card came Crewe’s way when Henry Pickering was punished for a foul on Mayer.
Smallwood’s free kick brought a save out of Jaaskelainen with the game in its final 15 minutes before de Wijs missed a great opportunity at the back post as he put an unmarked header wide.
The Tigers made the breakthrough nine minutes from time. Scott set Mayer up to deliver a beautiful cross from the right wing and Wilks, playing through the middle following the departure of Magennis, was there to glance a header into the net.
Mayer was then booked for a foul on Pickering as the home side set about seeing the game through, and they did just that as a positive start to the season continued.
Hull City: Matt Ingram; Josh Emmanuel, Reece Burke, Jordy de Wijs, Callum Elder; Richie Smallwood ©, Greg Docherty, George Honeyman; Mallik Wilks, Josh Magennis (James Scott 64), Keane Lewis-Potter (Thomas Mayer 64).
Subs Not Used: George Long, Lewis Coyle, Daniel Batty, Alfie Jones, Callum Jones.
Crewe Alexandra: Will Jaaskelainen, Perry Ng, Henry Pickering, Ryan Wintle, Charlie Kirk, Mikael Mandron, Oliver Finney (Callum Ainley 77), Luke Offord, Owen Dale (Josh Lundstram 84), Luke Murphy (Offrande Zanzala 87), Omar Beckles.
Subs Not Used: Dave Richards, Oliver Lancashire, Billy Sass-Davies, Travis Johnson.
Referee: Mr B. Toner.