Match ends, Southampton 2, Hull City 0.
- Southampton climb to fifth in Premier League
- Graziano Pelle scores first league goal since December
- James Ward-Prowse opens scoring with a penalty
- Hull just two points clear of relegation places
Striker Graziano Pelle claimed his first Premier League goal in 15 matches to help lift Southampton up to fifth place in the table and add to Hull's relegation worries.
Substitute James Ward-Prowse opened the scoring from the penalty spot after former Hull striker Shane Long had been fouled by Tigers defender Alex Bruce.
James Chester almost equalised but his header was cleared off the line.
Pelle then drove home his 13th goal of the season as Hull stayed in 17th spot.
Ronald Koeman's side have now matched their Premier League record of 56 points which they achieved last season when finishing eighth under Maurico Pochettino.
They have won their last three home games, while Hull's losing run now stretches to three matches and they remain only two points above the relegation places.
Hull face a tough run-in with games to come away to Crystal Palace, home to Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley, away to Tottenham and then at home to Manchester United on the final day.
Southampton, also chasing a highest top-flight finish since they came fifth in 1985, have been short of goals in recent weeks with just five in their last nine games.
But a return to form for Pelle, whose last goal came in the FA Cup in January, was another bonus on a positive afternoon for the Saints, who rested England international Nathaniel Clyne.
With Fraser Forster also out injured, and Scotland's Allan McGregor dropped by Hull, the combined age of the two goalkeepers added up to 78, with 40-year-old Steve Harper earning his first start since January.
And while neither he nor Kelvin Davis were over-worked in a goalless first half, Harper justified his recall with one fine save to deny Pelle.
Long had been guilty of wasting an early chance from a poor back-pass from Jake Livermore but Hull matched the home side with a committed performance.
Sone Aluko, also back in the Hull side as one of five changes made by Bruce, tested Davis after just five minutes and Stephen Quinn might have made more of a volleying opportunity from an Ahmed Elmohamady cross.
Davis made an excellent stop from Livermore's low cross eight minutes into the second half and two minutes later Southampton went in front.
Sadio Mane looked keen to take the spot-kick but England Under-21 international Ward-Prowse, a second-half substitute, drilled the ball past Harper to claim only the second goal of his club career.
Hull almost levelled when Chester's effort from a corner was cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand but Southampton cruised to victory once Pelle had ended his long wait after being teed up by Morgan Schneiderlin's unselfish square pass.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman:
"In the first half we looked nervous. Hull should have been like that.
"We have to compete and we didn't do that but the penalty broke the game open and at 2-0 we were very comfortable.
"Graziano played well and worked very hard but he has to score goals. That's the best feeling a striker can get.
"He lives to score goals and if it's been a long time it does something for your confidence.
"Now he will be back to the player he was at the beginning of the season."
- 6José Fonte
- 12WanyamaBooked at 42minsSubstituted forWard-Prowseat 45'minutes
- 7LongSubstituted forEliaat 74'minutes
- 10ManéSubstituted forTadicat 61'minutes
- 19PellèBooked at 33mins
- 5ChesterSubstituted forDiaméat 64'minutes
- 27El Mohamady
- 8HuddlestoneSubstituted forSagboat 74'minutes
- 24AlukoSubstituted forHernándezat 84'minutes
- Kevin Friend
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Southampton 2, Hull City 0.
Attempt blocked. Dusan Tadic (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Dusan Tadic (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jake Livermore (Hull City).
Corner, Hull City. Conceded by Maya Yoshida.
Attempt missed. Steven Davis (Southampton) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Toby Alderweireld with a cross.
Offside, Southampton. Morgan Schneiderlin tries a through ball, but Eljero Elia is caught offside.
Eljero Elia (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City).
Foul by Ryan Bertrand (Southampton).
Yannick Sagbo (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Hull City. Abel Hernández replaces Sone Aluko.
Maya Yoshida (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Yannick Sagbo (Hull City).
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Mohamed Diamé (Hull City).
Goal! Southampton 2, Hull City 0. Graziano Pellè (Southampton) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Morgan Schneiderlin.
Eljero Elia (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mohamed Diamé (Hull City).