As far as Hull City are concerned, Saturday afforded a glimpse into what they may lose – as opposed to win – in January following a special moment from Jarrod Bowen, which added a few more pound notes to his value.
For Tigers’ manager Nigel Adkins the sight of Bowen shrugging off the disappointment of seeing a first-half penalty saved to score twice and crown a dramatic Hull riposte may have proved a double-edged sword.
It served notice of just what he brings to the party for Hull although his contribution is likely to have resonated beyond the boundaries of the East Riding.
His first goal may have been standard, but his second was sublime with his magnetic run ending with a sumptuous curler that carried the stamp of high class.
It sealed a remarkable rally from Hull, who turned the game on its head with a pulsating three-goal salvo in the space of 10 minutes deep in the second half.
Suddenly the league table is looking a whole lot more palatable than it did a month ago when Hull were second-bottom.
Now they are in the vicinity of mid-table and should the Tigers keep hold of the likes of Bowen and fellow winger Kamil Grosicki next month then they should continue to look upwards as opposed to over their shoulders.
On the impact of Bowen – who took his season’s goal tally to an impressive eight – and addressing his future, phlegmatic Adkins acknowledged: “We are going to talk about Jarrod Bowen every window that he is at this club.
“He demonstrated he can deal with missing a penalty and showed resolve. The quality he showed was brilliant.
“I am sure we are going to get bids. From our point of view the budget is the budget and that is it.
“We are where we are, but if someone changed in January, for example someone getting sold or coming off the wage bill, then we can utilise that.
“We are not in a situation as a club where we say, ‘Oh damn, we have got to sell anyone for the hell of it’. That is not the situation, we are making that perfectly clear.
“If anyone does want to come and get a Jarrod Bowen you are not going to get him on the cheap because the owner is selling the club. We are in a position where we do not need to.”
A tiny contingent of Swansea supporters – handed a punishing near 600-mile round trip on the weekend before Christmas – made it north, and they were in good early voice with a defiant chant of Land of My Fathers just before kick-off.
Given the Swans’ masterful display in the first half-hour when Hull did not lay a glove on them, the trek looked worth it as the Swans outclassed the hosts.
It yielded a smart third-minute opener from Wilfried Bony, whose deadly low left-footed drive represented his first goal since January in his first start this term, but could – and should – have been more.
The impressive Matt Grimes tested David Marshall before Bony’s acrobatic effort flew just over – with Nathan Dyer then off target when well placed.
The tally of chances continued to stack up with Todd Kane making a key block to deny Bony before Hull finally announced themselves when Grosicki fired over from Bowen’s radar-like cross. The latter soon took centre stage again after Erwin Mulder was penalised after racing out and catching Fraizer Campbell in the area.
Bowen’s penalty was accurate, but Mulder guessed right to fling himself to his left and make a top-notch, one-handed parry.
Mulder soon showed his mettle again to block Grosicki’s effort following a wonderful dribble from the Pole, with the interval whistle coming at a relieving juncture for the Welsh visitors.
It proved timely, too, with the break stymying Hull, who returned to bad habits in a low-grade opening to the second period when the Swans enjoyed the hegemony again.
A key moment saw the unmarked Wayne Routledge drag an excellent chance wide with Hull throwing on the fit-again Evandro midway through the half in an attempt to change the game’s narrative.
It did the trick with a 70th-minute leveller being the cue to the Swans’ defensive implosion.
Slick work from Grosicki and Campbell was finished off close in by Bowen and, six minutes later, Hull forged a lead that had scarcely looked believable 10 minutes earlier.
Tommy Elphick won the air miles to reach Grosicki’s corner with his looping header sailing over Mulder for his first Hull goal.
Swansea’s creaking back four were then beguiled by the brilliance of Bowen before the next development in a compelling finale saw substitute Bersant Celina fire in with the aid of a deflection off Elphick.
Oli McBurnie almost restored parity at the finish with a floated header. But the points belonged to Hull, who secured back-to-back wins for only the second time this season to extend their unbeaten sequence to five games.
Hull City: Marshall; Kane, Elphick, Mazuch (de Wijs 45), Kingsley; Stewart, Batty (Evandro 66); Bowen, Irvine, Grosicki; Campbell (Martin 85). Unused substitutes: Long, Dicko, Fleming, McKenzie.
Swansea City: Mulder; Roberts, Rodon, Van Der Hoorn, John (James 77); Fer, Grimes; Routledge, McKay, Dyer (Celina 77); Bony (McBurnie 64). Unused substitutes: Nordfeldt, Carter-Vickers, Naughton, Fulton.
Referee: O Langford (West Midlands).