HULL FC produced one of the most remarkable victories in the city’s long history of derbies after somehow recovering from 20-0 down just before the hour mark to edge out hosts Hull KR today.
Lee Radford’s side were woeful in the first half and not much better at the start of the second period as they trailed to a vibrant Robins team.
However, they came to life in the final quarter, finally finding some rhythm to stun Rovers who thought they had only their second win of the season all tied up.
Jamie Shaul began the fightback with a classy try from halfway in the 59th minute, latching onto Kirk Yeaman’s offload and showing pace to outstrip full-back Ben Cockayne.
Inspirational hooker Danny Houghton added their second four minutes later as the visitors pack produced countless offloads - admittedly one was forward - and then, as KR imploded further, Mahe Fonua marked his return from injury with their third in the 70th minute.
Marc Sneyd improved them all to leave it at 20-18 but the club from the west side of the River Hull were not finished.
George Lawler produced a thoughtless offload of his own just as Rovers looked like getting a breather and FC pounced.
Centre Fonua bumped off a tired Iain Thornley and then winger Steve Michaels did likewise to Cockayne for the critical score six minutes from time.
It was left to Sneyd to curl in the difficult conversion to win it and he did.
KR, with new coach James Webster earlier on course for a second successive win since taking over three games ago, had no response.
It was such a far cry from the first half.
Rovers, who welcomed back half-back Albert Kelly after a three-game absence, were far more threatening with the ball offering pace and variety out wide
They were good value for a 12-0 interval lead following a well-executed and finished 14th minute try for winger Ryan Shaw and another for his centre Ken Sio, who raced in from 60m after intercepting Mark Minichello ill-conceived offload on the last tackle.
Josh Mantellato converted the latter and added a penalty just before the break.
Hull had seen two efforts ruled out, firstly for Carlos Tuimavave after just 60 seconds and then Danny Washbrook, but video referee James Child was correct both times and, in fairness, the visitors hardly deserved any points.
They were too often disorganised in attack, producing forward passes and taking other bad options, while they lacked line speed in defence at times as well.
Granted, they were not helped when Tuimavave - their third stand-off already this season - went off after a heavy hit inside just 12 minutes, Washbrook coming on at No6 when ordinarily playing back-row.
Radford had also seen in-form second-row Sika Manu withdraw before kick-off due to illness.
They had chances to cut the deficit early in the second period but were too wasteful again and Rovers’ defence proved too disciplined for them also.
Instead, Maurice Blair - the master tactician who inspired KR’s first win of the season against Salford last Sunday - showed them how it is done.
He burst through some weak tackles to break the Hull line and John Boudebza supported for centre Iain Thornley to deliver a fine finish in the 51st minute.
Mantellato celebrated as he curled in the touchline conversion thinking that Hull would surely not recover from 18-0.
When he slotted a penalty six minutes later, the home fans were already partying.
But how things then changed.
Hull KR: Cockayne; Shaw, Sip Thornley. Mantellato; Blair, Kelly; Walker, Lawler, Tilse, Clarkson, Horne, Allgood. Substitutes: J Green, Greenwood, Mulhern, Boudebza.
Hull FC: Shaul; Michaels, Fonua, Yeaman, Naughton; Tuimavave, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Pritchard, Minichiello, Ellis. Substitutes: Paleaaesina, C Green, Washbrook, Bowden.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).