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Jarrod Bowen brace lifts Hull to victory over Birmingham

Jarrod Bowen scored twice as Hull boosted their Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes with a 2-0 win over fellow contenders Birmingham at the KCOM Stadium.

Bowen opened the scoring in the first half when he fired into the roof of the net from close range before winning and converting a penalty just before the hour mark.

Birmingham rarely threatened, with their best chances falling to Che Adams who shot into the side-netting before substitute Jacques Maghoma saw his shot saved late on.

Marc Pugh created an opening after five minutes when he crossed from the left but Todd Kane’s long-range volley was off-target.

Birmingham responded but when Maxime Colin cut the ball back, Gary Gardner lifted his shot from distance well over.

Hull’s Jordy De Wijs then sent his forward ball just too far in front of the charging Bowen as both sides started brightly.

Lukas Jutkiewicz shot wide across goal as Birmingham counter-attacked in numbers, before shooting at David Marshall as the visitors went forward again.

Lee Camp palmed away a deflected shot from Pugh after 20 minutes following good work by Kamil Grosicki as Hull had their first shot on target.

Marshall kept out a low effort from Adams who had fought hard to claim a long ball, and then it was Hull’s turn to counter-attack but Bowen’s shot from distance was saved by Camp.

But the goalkeeper was left exposed when Birmingham failed to clear and Pugh’s persistence set up Bowen who fired into the roof of the net from close range in the 23rd minute.

Jutkiewicz headed wide when Colin’s deep cross picked him out at the far post as the visitors responded.

Pugh should have done better with Grosicki’s low ball but shot straight at Camp as the home side looked for a second.

Connor Mahoney saw his shot deflected behind for a corner early in the second period before Jutkiewciz shot at Marshall.

Hull were awarded a penalty in the 58th minute when Camp brought down Bowen and the winger stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way from the spot and increase his side’s lead.

Adams shot into the side-netting from a tight angle after rounding Marshall as the visitors reminded Hull about the dangers of losing concentration with 25 minutes left.

Bowen also shot into the side-netting after running on to a Jackson Irvine pass with 12 minutes remaining and Pugh shot straight at Camp after a run to the edge of the area as Hull looked to put the result beyond doubt.

Substitute Maghoma forced a late save out of Marshall but the Tigers had already done enough to claim the win and go level with Birmingham on 50 points in a congested battle for a play-off place.