Keane Lewis-Potter provided another glimpse of his star quality as he put the icing on Hull City’s Christmas cake at the KCOM Stadium.
The 18-year-old local boy came off the substitutes’ bench to wrap up the Tigers’ 3-0 success over Birmingham City, a result that lifts them up to 11th in the Championship standings.
Lewis-Potter nodded in his first senior goal for the club at Barnsley earlier this month, then followed that effort up with a another header at Charlton last time out, helping to salvage a point at the death.
What would have been his second strike in black and amber was later ruled to be an own goal, but there was no denying him on Saturday afternoon as he beat Blues gloveman Connal Trueman with a confident, clinical finish.
A chorus of “he’s one of our own” rang out in the aftermath of that strike and City manager Grant McCann admitted he was happy to see his exciting young prospect deliver once again.
“I’m delighted for him because, in front of his hometown fans, he’s scored his first goal at the KCOM for his home-town club,” the Tigers manager said.
I’m delighted for him because in front of his hometown fans, he’s scored his first goal at the KCOM for his hometown club,Grant McCann
“He must be buzzing. He’ll be absolutely delighted.
“That’s more Keane. The two goals that he’s scored, we couldn’t believe it, two headers. But, that’s him. Shift, shot. We see that every single day in training. “
In the end, the final score was probably a fair reflection of how comfortable the second period was for Lewis-Potter and his team-mates, a result of them upping the tempo after the interval, according to McCann.
“I thought maybe in the first half we were slow in our play,” he said.
“We didn’t take as many risks as I’d have liked. I just thought our movement was a wee bit slow and that we didn’t pass quick enough – I’d have said that to the boys at half-time even if we hadn’t have scored.
“I thought in the second half we upped the tempo a lot more.
“We played forward a lot more, we had a lot more runners and we were much better.”
Josh Bowler cut in off the right and saw an early effort deflected narrowly wide, before City spurned their first clear opportunity of the afternoon with 10 minutes on the clock.
Tom Eaves met a right-wing corner kick and directed a header towards the far post, where a stretching Jackson Irvine somehow failed find the back of the net barely a yard out.
Kamil Grosicki then crossed from the left and found Bowler in space inside the box, however despite taking a touch to set himself, the Everton loanee got his finish all wrong.
With the opening period seemingly destined to end goalless, Hull then forced what was their eighth corner of the match and got their noses in front.
Kamil Grosicki delivered from the left and Eaves made a run to the near post where he cleverly glanced a header over Trueman.
The early stages of the second period saw City again getting into dangerous positions without managing to profit from them.
Grosicki got in behind down the left, only to miss everyone with his pull-back, then Jarrod Bowen raced towards goal and could have slipped the flying Pole through, but delayed his pass too long.
A one-goal lead is often not enough and, at this stage, one was still left wondering if McCann’s men would be left to rue their lack of ruthless edge.
Then, just before the hour mark, Bowen made a better decision than the one he took just two minutes previous, releasing the ball early and sending Grosicki in on goal. What followed was a moment of genuine class, the former Rennes attacker speeding towards the onrushing Trueman before dinking the ball over him in sumptuous fashion.
From there on in, it was pretty much plain sailing for the Tigers, though Birmingham should have pulled one back on 74 minutes when Jefferson Montero crossed from the left for Alvaro Gimenez to nod a great opportunity narrowly the wrong side of the upright.
That was about as good as it got for Pep Clotet’s team and they were put out of their misery on 88 minutes.
Picking the ball up inside the box, Lewis-Potter stood up marker Harlee Dean before confidently sending a finish low and hard across goal and beyond Trueman.
McCann had revealed in the build-up to the game that he was not satisfield by what he had seen from his team during the opening half of the season and said that they needed to be much better during the second.
And while he was adamant that his opinion had not changed despite beating Birmingham so convincingly, the Tigers chief did concede that the result should provide his players with a boost heading into the festive period.
“I stand by what I’ve said – we’re at the halfway point and 33 points is not good enough,” he added. “We know we’ve got a lot of learning and a lot more improvement to do in the second half of the season.
“This performance will give us a lot of confidence going into three games in such a short space of time.
“We’ve another tough game against (Nottingham) Forest on Boxing Day and we’ll look to do the same.”
Hull City: Long, Lichaj, Burke, De Wijs, Elder, Lopes, Irvine, Bowler (Batty 63), Bowen, Grosicki (Honeyman 81), Eaves (Lewis-Potter 76). Unused substitutes: Tafazolli, Ingram, Kingsley, Pennington.
Birmingham City: Trueman, Colin, Dean, Bajrami, Pedersen, Bela, McEachran (Crowley 69), Sunjic, Villabla (Montero 63), Bellingham (Gimenez 54), Jutkiewicz. Unused substitutes: Camp, Maghoma, G Gardner, Davis.
Referee: G. Eltringham.