Hull City 6 Charlton 0: Standard of our goals fantastic, purrs Steve Bruce after Tigers' romp
Was it Robert Snodgrass’s first league goal in a little over 20 months, a marvellous curled effort with his left foot?
Or maybe the sumptuous half-volley from Mohamed Diame that ensured a wonderful flowing team move got its deserved reward?
Failing that, how about one of the three clinical finishes from Abel Hernandez that brought the Uruguayan the distinction of netting the first hat-trick by a Hull player of Bruce’s three-and-a-half year reign at the KC Stadium?
Bruce, on being asked by The Yorkshire Post to pick his favourite goal of the half dozen, puffed out his cheeks before running through the candidates from an afternoon that brought the joint biggest win of his time in the East Riding.
“The standard of the goals was fantastic,” said Hull’s chief. “Three or four of them, in particular, were standout goals.
“Could I pick one? Probably Diame’s because we had six or seven passes before that. But Snoddy’s was another great goal.
“Once he cut inside and set himself, you knew what was coming. How many times has he done that in his career? He has always got that in the bag.
“Either way, it was one of those nice weekends for us to enjoy. Some of the stuff we played was terrific.”
Bruce’s praise for his players was well deserved.
Even allowing for the totally abject efforts of a Charlton Athletic side whose heavy defeat at the KC took their tally of conceded goals inside four days to 11 following last Tuesday’s thrashing at Huddersfield Town, some of the football played by the hosts was of the highest order.
Midfield belonged to the Tigers throughout, while the near telepathic understanding of Hernandez and Diame up front meant the London club never had a hope of marking Jose Riga’s first game back as manager with anything but a heavy defeat.
There were many, many heroes for Hull, whose dominance was perhaps best illustrated by goalkeeper Stephen Henderson being the visitors’ most effective player despite having to pick the ball out of his net six times.
Hernandez, in becoming the first Tiger to net a hat-trick since Matty Fryatt against Barnsley in April 2012, understandably got the plaudits from the 16,480 crowd.
But Diame, Snodgrass and Sam Clucas were also outstanding, along with Isaac Hayden, who had the satisfaction of scoring his first goal in senior football when making it 6-0 with 10 minutes remaining.
In truth, that maiden goal by the Arsenal loanee – who Bruce admits he would love to sign permanently – owed much to a deflection that cruelly wrong-footed Henderson.
If that was fortuitous, however, then neither Hayden nor Hull could be begrudged being able to match the previous biggest winning margin of Bruce’s tenure, achieved at the KC in December, 2013, against Fulham.
As with that Premier League victory – perhaps best remembered for being the afternoon when Tom Huddlestone ended his goal drought to earn himself a long overdue haircut – the contest was effectively over by half-time.
Hernandez had a big say in that with a 30-minute hat-trick that ensured some sorry defending by the visitors, who had been thrashed 5-0 at Huddersfield Town just four days earlier, was punished.
The Uruguayan’s first came after he had dispossessed Rhys Williams in the centre circle before racing clear to beat Henderson.
His second was even more impressive, Hernandez collecting a looped Clucas pass 40 yards from goal before darting forward to curl an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net.
Snodgrass then stepped centre stage with a sublime left-foot finish, but it was all about Hernandez again six minutes before the break when he fired in from close range to seal only the second matchball of his career, the other having come for Uruguay against Tahiti in 2013.
Four goals ahead at the break, Hull refused to let up and, but for Henderson, would have at least doubled that advantage.
As it was, just two more goals followed as, first, Diame finished with aplomb to cap a fine passing move and then Hayden’s deflected shot capped an afternoon that also brought defeats for promotion rivals Middlesbrough and Derby County.
“I have been feeling that result was going to come because we have got players on the park who are going to score goals and create chances,” said Snodgrass, outstanding after being selected on the right flank ahead of Ahmed Elmohamady.
“We now have to build on this, it shows we can score goals. Since the turn of the year, we haven’t been beaten and long may that continue. We know if we perform like we did against Charlton, we will take care of anyone.”