Hull 6-1 Birmingham - 30-Sep-2017 : Match Report
Steve Cotterill was given a glimpse of the sizeable challenge awaiting him at struggling Birmingham as he saw his new side crumble to a 6-1 defeat at Hull.
Cotterill was in attendance at the KCOM Stadium ahead of taking the reins from soon-to-be assistant Lee Carsley on Monday but watched the Blues put in a limp, jaded display as Hull clinched their first win in six Championship matches.
Strikes from Fraizer Campbell and the in-form Jarrod Bowen either side of David Meyler's penalty put the Tigers three goals to the good inside the first 26 minutes before second-half efforts from the influential Kamil Grosicki, Markus Henriksen and Seb Larsson gave shell-shocked Birmingham and Cotterill plenty to think about.
They ended the scoring through Sam Gallagher but that will be scant consolation for a side that looked to have turned the corner under Carsley, having claimed four points in the two games that followed Harry Redknapp's sacking.
But, perhaps in part due to the same personnel playing for the second time in four days, they delivered a tired performance that underlined why they find themselves languishing in the relegation zone.
Hull were only a point clear at the beginning of the day and their midweek defeat to Preston left Leonid Slutsky apologising to the club's supporters, but his players responded with vibrancy on Saturday afternoon almost from the off.
Having switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation, the home side came flying out of the traps and were in front as early as the seventh minute, with Campbell coolly slotting home having been put through on goal by Meyler's robust challenge on an idling David Davis deep inside the Birmingham midfielder's own half.
The Hull pair then switched roles seven minutes later as Campbell earned a penalty after being tripped by Emilio Nsue attempting to clear, and Tomasz Kuszczak was powerless to stop Meyler's fierce spot-kick despite guessing the right way.
Birmingham's plight was summed up when their chief antagonists collided, freeing the roving Grosicki down the left and his cross led to Campbell heading narrowly over.
But Birmingham's net was breached once again in the 26th minute as Bowen celebrated signing a new contract earlier this week with his seventh goal of the season from just outside the area, with Kuszczak unsighted.
The Birmingham goalkeeper did better to keep out the ever-threatening Grosicki, who curled just over as Hull ended the half firmly in the ascendancy.
The visitors were on much more of a level footing at the beginning of the second half but they were ruthlessly exposed on the counter as the ball broke to Grosicki to deservedly get on the scoresheet after 72 minutes.
Henriksen, having only been on the pitch for seven minutes, put the finishing touch to a fine free-flowing move with a quarter of an hour to go before Larsson became the sixth goalscorer of the day after stroking home from Grosicki's delicate chip over the top.
Gallagher's header deep into injury time was scant consolation for Birmingham, with Hull celebrating their first win since August 25.