Blackburn Rovers moved back into second place in the Championship after a controlled display against Hull City followed up with a fourth win in a row.
Sammie Szmodic’s classy finish early in the first half proved enough as Rovers comfortably held off a frustrated Tigers side.
Top scorer Ben Brereton Diaz and Sam Gallagher were denied by smart stops from Nathan Baxter after the break.
Hull never threatened to repeat their success against Rovers in last season’s corresponding fixture in January – after owner Acun Ilicali completed his takeover – failing to produce an effort on target all afternoon as Jacob Greaves and Dimitrios Pelkas lost with free headers.
Rovers’ 11th win of the season moves them back up to second, three points clear of Queens Park Rangers, and two behind leaders Burnley.
In-form Rovers started brightly with Szmodics – after missing last Saturday’s win over Birmingham – showing their confidence in possession and he finished a sweet move to put the visitors ahead.
Receiving a perfect pass from Hull’s defensive line from Adam Wharton, Szmodics found the bottom left corner of the net with a right-footed effort for his fourth goal of the season.
The Tigers were chasing a third successive league win over Blackburn for the first time since 1970, but only occasionally threatened in the first half as Thomas Kaminski parried Ryan Longman’s early cross and Greaves headed in at best gave a comprehensive effort. .
They were lucky not to fall further behind just before half-time when Baxter headed over Brereton Diaz’s shot from 12 yards after some poor defending.
Interim boss Andy Dawson made a double change at half-time to cheer up Hull’s lackluster appearance and it looked to be having an effect, only for Greaves to return from a corner and Pelkas to miss good chances with headers.
Baxter then had to be at his best to prevent Rovers from extending their lead – pushing back Brereton Diaz’s effort from 12 yards before Gallagher was denied one-on-one after he was found by the Chilean striker .
Hull were enjoying themselves more as the match wore on, but suffered a first defeat in three games after Rovers failed to let their narrow advantage slip away.
Hull interim chairman Andy Dawson told BBC Radio Humberside:
“I was disappointed with the first half – we showed them too much respect, we were definitely not aggressive enough.
“I think the one thing we’ve done really impressively lately is protect the ball and I think we’ve turned it over too cheaply. That’s the last thing you want to do against a possession team.
“We had a really good run in the second half and we created a couple of good chances but they were small ones – we came up against a really good team today.”
Blackburn Rovers head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson told BBC Radio Lancashire:
“I think it was worth it – great credit to the players.
“We got the tactics right in the first half, controlled the game and scored a big goal – we should have scored more and killed the game before half-time.
“It was a great win and a good performance.”
- 6FigueiredoBooked in 78 minutesSubstitutedCoylewind 90′minutes
- 5JonesSubstitutedFlemingwind 45′minutes
- 24HeadSubstitutedStormwind 45′minutes
- 15WoodsBooked in 29 minutes
- 8DochertySubstitutedEstupiñánwind 67′minutes
- 16LongmanSubstitutedSmallwind 80′minutes
- 16WhartonBooked in 61 minutes
- 36WhartonSubstitutedAyalawind 62′minutes
- 10DolanSubstitutedCarterwind 62′minutes
- 8SzmodicsSubstitutedDakwind 71′minutes
- 9GallagherSubstitutedValewind 71′minutes
- David Webb
Match ends, Hull City 0, Blackburn Rovers 1.
Second Half over, Hull City 0, Blackburn Rovers 1.
The attempt was blocked. Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Goal by Ryan Woods (Hull City).
Bradley Dack (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitute, Hull City. Lewie Coyle replaces Tobias Figueiredo.
Foul by Dogukan Sinik (Hull City).
Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Hull City. Approved by Daniel Ayala.
Hand ball by Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers).
The attempt failed. Regan Slater (Hull City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Helped by Dimitris Pelkas.
Substitute, Hull City. Dogukan Sinik replaces Ryan Longman.
Foul by Dominic Hyam (Blackburn Rovers).
Dimitris Pelkas (Hull City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Tobias Figueiredo (Hull City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Tyler Morton (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tobias Figueiredo (Hull City).
Foul by Jack Vale (Blackburn Rovers).
Cyrus Christie (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Dominic Hyam (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.