Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 4, Hull City 2.
West Bromwich Albion 4-2 Hull City: Baggies win to cut gap to leaders Leeds
West Bromwich Albion moved back to within a point of Championship leaders Leeds and restored their five-point cushion over the play-off pack as they finally saw off Hull City in a stunning game of six goals.
Albion were twice pegged back by equalisers from relegation-threatened Hull, who were kept out of the bottom three only thanks to Middlesbrough's home defeat by QPR.
But the quality of their football shone through after top scorer Charlie Austin had given them an early lead on his 31st birthday.
Although former Liverpool youngster Kevin Stewart levelled on 24 minutes, Albion defender Ahmed Hegazi headed his first goal since November 2018 to put the Baggies back in front before the break.
Mallik Wilks headed in Hull's second equaliser three minutes after the restart but this time the Tigers stayed on level terms for less than 60 seconds.
Almost straight from the restart, Hull old boy Kamil Grosicki, on his full Baggies debut, cashed in on Matheus Pereira's third assist of the day to score.
And the points were beautifully wrapped up on 76 minutes by Grady Diangana, just four minutes after coming on as a substitute.
The West Ham loan man cut in with a parallel run along the edge of the box from the right before finishing with a neat low left-footed Mohamed Salah-style shot to wrongfoot Hull keeper George Long and steer the ball just inside his left post.
Albion finished the game with 10 men after Hegazi was shown a second yellow card in stoppage time for a poor foul on Wilks.
Baggies have it to lose now
Albion's fate now remains very much in their own hands if they are to go one better than last season when they narrowly lost to Aston Villa in the play-offs.
Three of Slaven Bilic's Baggies' last five games are at home, the next two of which are against play-off chasing Derby (8 July) and Fulham (14 July).
And the Championship's second top scorers - only Brentford (73) have netted more than their 71 in 41 games - still look like they have a lot more goals in them, with their threat coming from all over the park.
With both Hegazi and Grosicki getting on the scoresheet, Albion have now had 19 different scorers in the Championship this season - matching their tally from last season, but three short of the record at this level, 22 by Ian Holloway's Blackpool in 2011-12.
They were one up inside four minutes when Austin chested down Pereira's deflected cross and bravely hooked in from 10 yards past the fast-approaching Long for his 10th league goal of the campaign, and a second in as many games.
But Hegazi's powerful header from Pereira's corner, Grosicki's cool curled finish and Diangana's pick of the bunch hinted at more to come.
Tigers far from shabby
Having been seemingly in freefall prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Hull looked doomed when they returned to action on 20 June and lost to one of their main rivals, Charlton.
But a 3-3 draw at Birmingham and a late midweek win over Middlesbrough had raised hopes.
And, although they this time did not get an equal share of another six-goal game on their second visit to the West Midlands in eight days, Grant McCann's men did not perform badly, playing their part in a really good game worthy of having a crowd to watch it.
They had the character to twice come back, first when home keeper Sam Johnstone, baulked by several bodies, could only get a palm to a corner, and Stewart muscled his way past Grosicki to blast a low right-foot shot which deflected in off Austin.
Then Wilks headed Hull level for a second time - his second goal in four days. But Albion's instant response quickly shut the door, and it always looked a home victory from that moment on, until Diangana's strike settled it.
Hull are next in action on Wednesday against managerless Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
West Bromwich Albion head coach Slaven Bilic told BBC Sport:
"All the pressure is on us and Leeds. The others are hoping. But we have to cope with it and we wouldn't swap places with any of them.
"It was a frantic match. A very open game. On the ball, we were excellent, we created so many chances.
"But they put us under pressure with a simple way of playing, long ball, second ball, quick attacks, So, on that basis, I wasn't happy. At times we played with fear."
Hull City boss Grant McCann:
"I think some of the goals are unacceptable. The first one we tried to bring it down rather than head, we switched off for the third and the fourth was a sucker punch. In an attacking sense we were excellent.
"The second goal was the worst. Jordy (De Wijs) knows himself, he made a mistake and hopefully he doesn't make any more.
"We've worked hard on attacking set-pieces. We're seeing benefits of that. Every ball (George) Honeyman put in we were so close. The work has gone in and we're looking better defending and attacking set plays."
- 5BartleyBooked at 78mins
- 26HegaziBooked at 90mins
- 3GibbsSubstituted forTownsendat 36'minutes
- 16HarperSubstituted forDianganaat 72'minutes
- 19SawyersSubstituted forLivermoreat 62'minutes
- 12Costa Pereira
- 7KrovinovicSubstituted forBruntat 72'minutes
- 15AustinSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 62'minutes
- 4de Wijs
- 37Da Silva Lopes
- 6StewartSubstituted forBattyat 73'minutes
- 10ToralBooked at 79minsSubstituted forScottat 90+3'minutes
- 42SamuelsenSubstituted forLewis-Potterat 45'minutes
- 27MagennisSubstituted forEavesat 66'minutes
- Oliver Langford
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 4, Hull City 2.
Grady Diangana (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Matthew Pennington (Hull City).
Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by George Honeyman (Hull City).
Attempt blocked. Matthew Pennington (Hull City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Foul by Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion).
James Scott (Hull City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Hull City. James Scott replaces Jon Toral.
Second yellow card to Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion) for a bad foul.
Foul by Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion).
Mallik Wilks (Hull City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion).
George Long (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Jon Toral (Hull City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mallik Wilks.
Foul by Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion).
George Honeyman (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Grady Diangana (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kamil Grosicki.
Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.