Bowen double gets Hull back to winning ways
Jarrod Bowen scored twice in the second half as Hull came from behind to win 2-1 at home to Stoke.
The in-demand winger took his tally to 15 goals this season as the visitors succumbed to a third defeat on the spin.
Michael O’Neill’s Stoke side remain in the relegation zone but they led 1-0 at the break when Sam Vokes scored his first league goal of the season after seven minutes.
Vokes has struggled since his move from Burnley in January but he must not have believed his luck so early in the game.
James McClean’s lofted cross from the left was accurate, if not especially dangerous. Yet Hull’s statuesque centre-backs somehow allowed Vokes to rise unchallenged and powerfully steer the ball out of the reach of goalkeeper George Long.
It was just reward for Stoke, whose sprightly start to the contest was in sharp contrast to their sluggish hosts – and also a betrayal to the narrative of the second half.
Hull at least rallied after such a poor concession, with Kamil Grosicki’s curling hit with his right boot pawed away to safety by Jack Butland after 17 minutes.
Butland was later called into action with a save he will have been expected to have made from Bowen’s unorthodox strike from the edge of the Stoke penalty box.
Centre-back Jordy De Wijs should then have done much better when he headed Bowen’s right-flank free-kick over the crossbar after 33 minutes.
Hull manager Grant McCann would nonetheless have demanded a greater sense of purpose from his players at half-time.
And whatever he said at the break clearly worked as Bowen equalised just four minutes after the restart.
Striker Tom Eaves played a good supporting role in the build-up to the goal, with impressive determination to keep possession from a long ball.
Bowen gathered from the resulting skirmish on the edge of the penalty box and never looked like missing with a skidding, left-footed drive into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Stoke reacted poorly to the equaliser, with their fragile confidence further eroded when Hull powered into the lead after 56 minutes.
Eric Lichaj’s chipped cross from the right was gamely headed towards goal by Eaves, who had found a pocket of space at the back post.
Butland parried the ball to his left but was done no favours by lackadaisical defending which granted Bowen the freedom of East Yorkshire to smash home from inside the six-yard box.
Stoke supporters grasping for positives might at least argue their team did not capitulate thereafter.
But they did not look like scoring a second goal, with Long never once unduly troubled in the final quarter of the game.
Hull hardly threatened either but Bowen, not for the first time this season, had already done his job.