Chuba Akpom boosts Hull beyond basement boys Bolton
Hull got back to winning ways and revitalised their Sky Bet Championship title challenge with a 1-0 win over struggling Bolton thanks to Chuba Akpom's first-half goal.
The on-loan Arsenal striker finished clinically in the first half as the home side lit up a dull and damp afternoon at the KC Stadium.
Hull needed a positive start following successive league defeats to Derby and Leeds, but when Sam Clucas swung over a cross from the left Ahmed Elmohamady could not get his far-post header on target.
Bolton, beset by financial problems off the field and sitting bottom of the table going into the game, had their first effort on target when Dean Moxey fired in a low free-kick from the left, but it was easy for Allan McGregor to gather.
Elmohamady looked to get away down the left when released by Mo Diame but Robert Holding got in an important challenge inside the area to halt the winger's progress.
Hull claimed the lead after 19 minutes when David Wheater's goal-line block from Elmohamady's shot saw the ball bounce to Akpom and he fired in for his third Championship goal of the season.
Diame was unable to reach a long ball from Moses Odubajo as Hull looked to press home their advantage.
Warren Feeney fired well off target as Bolton looked in vain for a response to Hull's opening goal.
Hull were looking stronger in midfield and were beginning to get on top with David Meyler and Jake Livermore directing operations.
Bolton's Mark Davies was booked for a cynical foul on Odubajo as the defender tried to lead a Hull breakaway as half time approached.
Clucas should have extended Hull's lead just before the break but volleyed over from Elmohamady's cross following good work by Livermore and Odubajo in the build-up.
Akpom then volleyed at Ben Amos as Hull finished the half well on top.
Hull survived a scare as Bolton went close to equalising early in the second half as Neil Danns hit the post with a shot with McGregor beaten.
Bolton had started the second half with Jay Spearing on for Darren Pratley and were clearly more up for the battle than in the first period.
Livermore tried successive shots from distance but only the second forced Amos into any action.
Just after the hour Robert Snodgrass continued his return from a long-term knee injury when he replaced Diame.
Bolton then brought on Stephen Dobbie for defender Josh Vela in a bid to get something out of the game.
But after good link play by Danns and substitute Emile Heskey, on for the ineffectual Shola Ameobi, Heskey fired high and wide of the Hull goal.
Akpom raced on to a low cross from Elmohamady but steered the ball just wide as Hull looked for a second goal to close out a deserved victory.
The Tigers suffered a late injury blow when their captain Michael Dawson, returning from a hamstring injury, had to be replaced by Harry Maguire.