Hull promoted after win at Lincoln
Hull City have been promoted back to the Championship at the first attempt after victory over fellow League One promotion hopefuls Lincoln City.
The top-of-the-table Tigers arrived at Sincil Bank knowing their fate was in their own hands.
Josh Magennis fired Hull in front from close range early on only for Lewis Montsma to pull the Imps level.
But Mallik Wilks calmly slotted home a late penalty after Tom Eaves was fouled to give Hull the win they needed.
It was apt that it would be goals from forwards Wilks and Magennis that would ensure promotion. The pair now have 19 and 17 league goals respectively in what has been a hugely impressive season from both players.
At the other end, Grant McCann’s side have conceded a division low 36 goals, a stark contrast to the last season when they let in 87 goals on their way to finishing bottom of the Championship.
From 8-0 despair to promotion
The Tigers endured a dreadful start to 2020 following the sale of star players Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki to West Ham and West Brom respectively.
They were eighth on New Year’s Day after a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday but slumped to 16 defeats in their subsequent 20 matches to suffer relegation on the final day of the extended season.
Amid the miserable run they lost 8-0 at relegation rivals Wigan, having been 7-0 down at half-time, as they were beaten in their final six matches to finish 24th.
The club kept faith with McCann though and that decision has proved astute as Hull have spent the whole of this season in the top six.
A 1-0 defeat by Ipswich on 23 February, their last reverse in the league, left them in third having played at least two more games than Peterborough and Lincoln above them.
However, a subsequent 13-match unbeaten run has propelled them back up to top spot and promotion back to the Championship looked like it would be a mere formality after they drew 2-2 with third-placed Sunderland in midweek.
Victories in their final two matches will see them claim the title, their first divisional crown since they finished top of the old third division – now League One – in 1965-66.
McCann praises Tigers’ response to ‘hit upon hit’
Hull boss Grant McCann believes promotion showed the strength of character of his players after coming under some intense scrutiny this season.
“My staff and the players have been outstanding, it’s been a real team effort,” he said. “The players have taken hit upon hit and criticism upon criticism when they have lost games – and they’ve responded.
“It’s been a tough season, particularly without having any fans in the ground and it’s a shame they weren’t there today to witness that.
“Hopefully sometime soon we can get together and have a proper party.
“For us today, we’re just delighted to get over the line. I made a real point to the players at the hotel about concentrating on the performance.
“I knew, deep down, it was all about the win, and we’ve done it. I couldn’t be more proud of everybody.”
- 7EdunSubstituted forJonesat 73′minutes
- 10GrantBooked at 30minsSubstituted forBramallat 62′minutes
- 18McGrandlesBooked at 35minsSubstituted forBridcuttat 73′minutes
- 11ScullySubstituted forHopperat 78′minutes
- 18SlaterSubstituted forCrowleyat 68′minutes
- 7WilksBooked at 57mins
- 10HoneymanBooked at 17minsSubstituted forBurkeat 45′minutes
- 19Lewis-PotterSubstituted forWhyteat 65′minutes
- 27MagennisSubstituted forEavesat 74′minutesBooked at 88mins
Match ends, Lincoln City 1, Hull City 2.
Second Half ends, Lincoln City 1, Hull City 2.
Morgan Rogers (Lincoln City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Lewie Coyle (Hull City).
Brennan Johnson (Lincoln City) hits the right post with a left footed shot from outside the box.
Tom Hopper (Lincoln City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Greg Docherty (Hull City).
Tom Eaves (Hull City) is shown the yellow card.
Callum Morton (Lincoln City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Reece Burke (Hull City).
Foul by James Jones (Lincoln City).
Daniel Crowley (Hull City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Gavin Whyte (Hull City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mallik Wilks.
Foul by Tom Hopper (Lincoln City).
Mallik Wilks (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Lincoln City 1, Hull City 2. Mallik Wilks (Hull City) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Penalty conceded by Regan Poole (Lincoln City) after a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty Hull City. Tom Eaves draws a foul in the penalty area.
Lewis Montsma (Lincoln City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tom Eaves (Hull City).