Jarrod Bowen’s double, Josh Magennis’ penalty and another effort from Kamil Grosicki saw Hull City take the points with a 4-0 win over Preston North End at the KCOM Stadium.
Bowen opened the scoring on the half hour mark, before Magennis’ penalty early in the second half gave the hosts additional momentum, as Grosicki added a third with 20 minutes to go before Bowen rounded off the scoring for the evening.
Alex Neil made four changes from the side that lost at Derby County last time out – partly forced with the absence of Ben Davies, Darnell Fisher and Alan Browne – as Ryan Ledson, Paul Gallagher, Jordan Storey and Billy Bodin were reintroduced to the starting line-up.
North End might have taken the lead as early as five minutes in when Sean Maguire picked up possession on the left-hand angle of the box and once he had picked his spot, he sent a fine curling effort towards the far post, rebounding agonisingly off the post, before Paul Gallagher’s drilled strike deflected just wide seconds later.
There were also heroic blocks from Joe Rafferty and Patrick Bauer to deny Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki from close range in a frantic opening to proceedings, before the Lilywhites began to see more of the ball.
Maguire again showed his quality down the left flank with two scintillating runs to break down that side of the opposition box, just before the half hour mark, with Johnson taking over without providing the shot initially, before the Irishman;s cross was hacked clear by goalkeeper George Long on the second occasion.
It was the hosts who took the lead though as Bowen found the net after 30 minutes. The Lilywhites failed to clear Grosicki’s low cross in from the left and when the ball fell fortuitously for the Hull forward, he converted past Declan Rudd from minimal distance.
Daniel Johnson had the chance to level matters just seven minutes later when Bodin picked him out in space in the middle but he miskicked his effort, sending it comfortably wide.
Declan Rudd was on top form at the other end, tipping over from Josh Bowler before doing magnificently to deny Bowen one-on-one before the break.
There was an early second half chance for PNE, but Bodin couldn’t make a proper connection with the cross in from the right when it came to him centrally.
But the home side then picked up where they left off from the first half and when Grosicki threaded a pass into the area for Bowler, the midfielder was brought down by Ryan Ledson – enough for the referee to signal for a penalty, which was converted by Magennis in the 48th minute, despite Rudd getting a hand to his strike.
Grant McCann’s side were three ahead just three minutes later when a quick move culminated with Bowen pulling back from the right byline to find Grosicki to tap home.
Bodin tested Long at the other end with a fierce strike from distance which forced the Hull ‘keeper to bat away, with Rudd also required at the other end to palm away by Bowen’s low free-kick, before Jackson Irvine fired the rebound over.
The game calmed down somewhat again though, with the second half having begun in the same frantic vain as the first, and North End did go close on a couple of occasions.
Paul Gallagher’s diagonal free-kick found Patrick Bauer in the box who took the ball down well, but shot into the side netting with his left foot.
Substitutes Josh Harrop and David Nugent, who came on either side of the hour, then combined as the former guided his team-mates low cross onto the foot of the post.
Magennis and Maguire exchanged shots from the right side of the area, the latter’s on target and drawing Long into a close range stop, before the visitors
Bowen added his second of the night with less than a quarter of an hour remaining, his shot from the right byline finding its way in from a tight angle.
That completed the scoring on a disappointing evening for the Lilywhites, who next face West Bromwich Albion at Deepdale next Monday night.
Hull City line-up: Long, Lichaj, De Wijs, Burke, Batty, Grosicki (Lewis-Potter, 78), Bowler (Honeyman, 71), Bowen, Elder, Magennis (Eaves, 78), Irvine. Subs not used: Ingram, Tafazoli, Stewart, , Pennington.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Pearson, Johnson, Gallagher, Storey, Rafferty, Ledson (Harrop, 58), Bauer, Maguire (Potts, 81), Barkhuizen, Bodin (Nugent, 67). Subs not used: Hudson, Bayliss, Stockley, Huntington.
Referee: Mr J. Moss.