Niasse's second-half brace lifts Hull past Swansea in 'must-win' game

The most important win of Hull City's season? Without question. Just as belief was threatening to fall into the crevice opening up between the Tigers and safety, Marco Silva's men delivered the victory that had been so desperately needed. Oumar Niasse emerged off the bench in the second half to plunder two clinical finishes, lighting up an otherwise mundane fixture.

Swansea City responded in stoppage time but the damage had been done by the smiling assassin, Niasse. The Tigers are back to within a point of safety and have clawed Swansea and Leicester back into the mix.

Positives

Niasse was outstanding after his introduction as a 63rd minute substitute. First he ran on to Abel Hernandez's flick to open the scoring and then he produced another unstoppable finish to transform his side's fortunes inside nine minutes. Hull were not always polished and relied upon the profligacy of Wayne Routledge but they deserved credit for taking three points from a fixture that Silva had publically declared a must-win game. They might lack quality in certain areas but this Hull side have become a resilient bunch at the KCOM Stadium.

Negatives

Silva's greatest concern was the state of the pitch after rugby league side Hull FC had played there the previous night but that summed up what a satisfying afternoon it had been for the Portuguese. He had a grumble that Swansea had become the latest side to score from a set piece through Alfie Mawson's late header. Even then it was a minor gripe at the end of an uplifting fixture.

Elsewhere, there was a slight disappointment that Bournemouth had snatched a late win to keep a six-point lead intact. The Cherries had begun to look like one of the better teams to catch down the final straight.

Manager rating out of 10

7 -- Marco Silva was watching his side struggling to convince inside the final third for the first hour but the bold decision to bring on Niasse for Alfred N'Diaye, a midfielder, was the inspiration for the victory.

Player ratings

GK Eldin Jakupovic, 5 -- An important stop kept out Routledge but he almost set up the Swansea winger when pushing Tom Carroll's cross into his path after the break. Never quite looked at ease in an uncomfortable outing.

DF Omar Elabdellaoui, 7 -- A performance like this made you wonder why Silva dropped the right-back seven days earlier. Always composed and assured, playing a crucial part in the attack that brought Hull's opener.

DF Harry Maguire, 6 -- Not up to his recent high standards for once and could have been punished when playing an awfully misplaced cross-field ball. Handled Fernando Llorente well enough before the Swans' top scorer was forced off.

DF Andrea Ranocchia, 7 -- As Curtis Davies and Michael Dawson edge back to fitness, the Italian showed he is up for the challenge of keeping them out. Barely put a foot wrong, marshalling the defence well.

DF Andrew Robertson, 7 -- A vital covering clearance denied Routledge from Carroll's early cross in an improved defensive effort. Some probing forward runs helped support Kamil Grosicki, especially in an otherwise bland first period.

MF Lazar Markovic, 6 -- Better than the abject showing at Leicester seven days earlier but there is a continued sense that the winger is playing within himself. Notable contributions could be counted on one hand.

MF Tom Huddlestone, 6 -- Struggled to get a foothold through the opening half hour but as Swansea were happy to sink deeper, Huddlestone's influence grew. An improved second half owed plenty to his improvements.

MF Alfred N'Diaye, 4 -- A ponderous and hesitant performance in the centre of midfield, landing his side in hot water on a number of occasions. Fortunate not to collect a second yellow before getting the shepherd's crook for Niasse.

MF Sam Clucas, 6 -- Playing in the gaps between midfield and attack was not the ideal position for Clucas, especially when Swansea retreated to stifle his strengths on the counter. Better when filling N'Diaye's void.

MF Kamil Grosicki, 6 -- Encouraging and infuriating in equal measure. The Polish winger stretched Swansea as much as any teammate only to be routinely let down in the final third. Denied by Jordi Amat when rounding the keeper.

FW Abel Hernandez, 7 -- Forced to feed off scraps in the first half but was transformed by the arrival of Niasse in support. Far better when he is one of two forwards and his pass for Niasse's opener was excellent.

Substitutes

FW Oumar Niasse, 8 -- Impossible to understate the value of his impact, scoring two fine goals to revive his team in a flash.

MF Ahmed Elmohamady, n/a -- Dropped to the bench but reacted well when playing a part in the second goal.

MF David Meyler, n/a -- Not much came from a brief cameo as Hull held on.