ANOTHER dazzling contribution from Jarrod Bowen helped Hull City maintain their play-off pitch as they were afforded home comforts again at the expense of a top-six rival in Birmingham City.
Needing a victory to keep up the pressure upon those above them, Hull were again indebted to their star asset in Bowen, who netted midway through the first half and added a second from the penalty spot - after earning the spot-kick himself - on the hour mark.
Should the dubious goal panel credit him with a contentious goal in Tuesday’s win over Millwall, Bowen will have equalled the Tigers record set by Bill Bradbury in 1958-59 by scoring in seven successive home matches.
What was not in doubt was that Bowen’s contribution helped secure a seventh home victory in nine unbeaten league matches for Hull
With a draw possessing limited value to either side in their outside push for the play-offs, Hull and their visitors displayed attacking intent in an entertaining first period, which saw the hosts for a breakthrough from a familiar source.
It arrived on 23 minutes when good persistence from Marc Pugh, who had a lively opening 45 minutes, set up Bowen from close range and he showed the instincts of a central striker to emphatically fire home high into the roof of the net past Lee Camp.
The Blues custodian was also forced into action to block two efforts from Pugh, while Todd Kane fired a stinging volley over early on for Hull, courtesy of the supply line of Kamil Grosicki, which was again productive.
At the other end, Blues showed sporadic evidence of the traits which saw Nigel Adkins label them as the best counter attacking team in the Championship.
David Marshall was kept honest to make an alert near post save to keep out Che Adams’ effort, while the unmarked Lukas Jutkiewicz, who had fired a couple of early sighters, headed wastefully over following Maxime Collin’s right-wing centre - when he should have done better.
The half ended with the hosts spurned an excellent chance to double their tally, when Grosicki, left in space down the left, cut inside before dragging a low shot tamely wide, with plenty of the goal to aim at.
The lead was a deserved one for Hull, who showed glimpses on why they have been so potent on home soil since the start of last winter, while being mindful that a second goal was the pre-requisite on the restart against a dangerous Blues side blessed with two accomplished frontmen.
Early pressure on the restart from Blues with Adams seeing a close-range shot blocked after brief panic in the Hull rearguard before Jutkiewicz fire a hooked volley straight into the arms of Marshall.
Thankfully, the Tigers allayed any nerves with a key second goal from the spot on the hour mark.
The ball broke for Bowen, who powered forward towards goal and displayed too much pace for the Blues defence with Camp racing out and catching the Tigers’ top-scorer in full flight with Tony Harrington showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Bowen coolly sent Camp the wrong way to continue his goal glut in East Yorkshire.
A moment of brief alarm saw Adams slalom around Marshall after being sent clear, but with the angle tight, the Blues marksman could only find the side-netting.
At the other end, Bowen, clearly with his sights on taking home the match-ball, danced away from a couple of challenges before seeing his shot fly into the side-netting from a tight angle.
A fine jinking run from Pugh also hinted at a third, with his low shot held by Camp.
Marshall made a key late save to deny Blues sub Jacques Maghoma.
Hull City: Marshall; Kane, Burke, De Wijs (Ridgewell 76), Lichaj (McKenzie 85); Henriksen, Irvine; Bowen, Pugh, Grosicki; Martin. Substitutes unused: Long, Stewart, Evandro, Dicko, Milinkovic..
Birmingham City: Camp; Collin (Harding 44), Dean, Morrison, Pedersen; Mrabti, G Gardner, Davis (C Gardner 56), Mahoney (Maghoma 78); Adams, Jutkiewicz. Substitutes unused: Trueman, Kieftenbeld, Vassell, Jota.
Referee: T Harrington (Cleveland).