AN UPLIFTING performance saw Hull City claimed just their second victory in nine matches as they warmed up for Tuesday's derby with Leeds United with a morale-boosting cup victory over Nottingham Forest.
First-half goals from the outstanding Jarrod Bowen and Nouha Dicko did the damage on an afternoon when Hull make light of their toils at the wrong end of the Championship.
Sub Apostolos Vellios pulled back a goal late on, but Hull deservedly saw the job through to claim their place in the last 16 for Monday night's draw.
Backed by a raucous 4,000 following and buoyed by a fine result at Wolves last weekend to herald the arrival of Aitor Karanka, there was a detectable air of triumphalism in the away section ahead of kick-off - but far less so at the half-time interval.
After a bright first five minutes, Forest were completely outgunned by a Hull side who showed hunger, spirit and purpose, qualities that have been sadly lacking in some of their recent league games.
it resulted in a 2-0 interval lead, which was by no means flattering and, indeed, it could have been more as the Tigers' attack-minded players caused considerable problems for Forest's back four.
An early chance saw Mustapha Carayol see a rasping drive flash not far wide before play switched to the other end for the much of the remainder of the half.
A pinpoint free-kick from Markus Henriksen was turned away in the nick of time by Jordan Smith, who then got into a real tangle with his back four.
Indecision reigned and after Joe Worrall's weak clearance was blocked, the ball fell to Bowen, whose enterprising lob clipped the outside of the post, with Smith stranded in no-man's land outside of his goal.
But Bowen was not to be denied on 18 minutes.
After receiving the ball from Kevin Stewart, he drove down the right channel and manufactured half a yard before seeing his rising deflected shot hit the crossbar and bounce over the line for a home opener.
With confidence increasingly coursing through their veins, Hull applied more pressure and an assertive second arrived five minutes before the break.
A deep cross from the energetic Jackson Irvine was nodded back across goal by Bowen and Dicko showed predatory instincts to rise well and see his header sail into the net off the post.
It could and perhaps should have been three, with Bowen finding Adama Diomande in acres of space down the right, but after cutting back inside and checking, his shot was blocked close to the line by Michael Mancienne, with the Hull forward guilty of being tardy.
Two interval substitutions for tactical reasons showed what Aitor Karanka probably thought of his side's first-half display, but it soon almost got worse for the visitors.
Superb play from Bowen, whose reverse pass to Dicko was a delight, provided the Hull striker with a sight of goal and his low angled drive was blocked by the legs of Smith.
Gradually, Forest, attacking their big away following, showed signs of gettinng their act together and went close with Kieran Dowell, who fired a hat-trick in the league fixture in East Yorkshire in the autumn, finally came to the party with his exquisite free-kick curler striking the outside of the post.
But most of the tempo and conviction arrived at the other end before a goalmouth scramble almost provided a way back for Forest after Marshall failed to cope with a high cross.
Smith denied Irvine twice as the hosts sought a killer third before Forest, desperately for a way back into the tie, went close twice.
First, Marshall did well to tip over a point-blank header from Worrall before Ben Brereton's effort clipped the post after Dowell's cross.
The irresistible Bowen almost added a third in the last ten minutes before Forest set off a few flutters by pulling a goal back when Vellios turned in Matty Cash's right-wing cross.
But it was Hull's afternoon.
Boss Nigel Akins said: “I’m pleased we won the game and we more than deserved to win the game.
“We created a lot of opportunities, took two of them and could have taken a lot more.
“We made a few changes, some coming back from injury and some trying to stake a claim for a regular place in the starting eleven.
“We started the game well. We needed that third goal to really kill Nottingham Forest off and we had the chances to get it, but then their goal made it very interesting at the end.
“It was a great cross for their goal, but I want to see us defend those better.”