HULL CITY’S survival hopes were dealt a serious blow on an afternoon when Marco Silva’s proud unbeaten home record was ended by already relegated Sunderland.
Second half goals from Billy Jones and Jermain Defoe condemned the Tigers to a damaging defeat and hand third bottom Swansea City a major lift ahead of their own tea-time clash with Everton.
City had chances but Jordan Pickford proved an unbeatable barrier in the visitors’ goal as Silva tasted defeat on home soil for the first time since March, 2014.
It was a dreadful setback for Hull, who threw everything at the visitors but still became the Black Cats’ first league double of the season.
The first half was something of a tame affair, as the hosts struggled for rhythm. Despite that, Abel Hernandez went close with a searing drive, while Jordan Pickford got down smartly to keep out a Sam Clucas shot.
Oumar Niasse also had an appeal for a penalty turned down by referee Neil Swarbrick after John O’Shea had blocked his overhead kick.
Too often, however, the Tigers squandered good approach play with a poor final ball, a lack of communication or a heavy touch such as the one from Hernandez that meant a precise through ball from Andy Robertson went to waste.
Sunderland’s most threatening moment came early on, George Honeyman heading wide from a Billy Jones cross.
The second half was a much livelier affair, as Pickford denied Lazar Markovic with a fine save and Alfred N’Diaye made a hash of trying to convert Alfred N’Diaye’s cross.
John O’Shea then denied Abel Hernandez after Andrew Robertson had raced clear down the left flank.
At the other end, Jermain Defoe was kept out by Jakupovic after the England striker had seized on a mix-up between N’Diaye and Maguire.
Defoe then fired high and wide after being set up by Victor Anichebe before Sunderland made the breakthrough 21 minutes from time.
O’Shea’s near post flick-on from a corner created the opening for Billy Jones to head in from close range.
Niasse wasted a great opening to equalise by shooting wide following good work from Robertson and Clucas.
Pickford also saved acrobatically from Hernandez as the hosts pushed for an equaliser that just wouldn’t come before Defoe added a second for the visitors deep into stoppage time.
Even then, there was still time for a late City chance but Andrea Ranocchia’s header was blocked on the line by Sebastian Larsson.