Kamel Ghilas combined with fellow new signing Jozy Altidore as Hull City finally got back to winning ways with a 1-0 defeat of Bolton Wanderers. Ghilas fired the decisive goal of a scrappy encounter at the KC Stadium after being set up by Altidore's first touch with 61 minutes gone.
Until then Hull had been second best to Bolton, who wasted clear-cut chances through Johan Elmander and Kevin Davies. But the Tigers were a different team after the goal and debutant Altidore, whose first appearance had been delayed by red tape, and Ghilas both spurned further opportunities.
Bolton produced a late rally, but Hull held on for their first win in 13 Premier League games and their first at home since last December. Manager Phil Brown made four changes in an attempt to kickstart Hull's season after their 5-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in midweek.
Brazilian playmaker Geovanni was handed his first start and added considerable quality to the midfield while Ghilas brought industry and, eventually, a cutting edge. Brown showed faith in Michael Turner, after a poor game against Spurs, by handing him the captaincy as George Boateng was left on the bench.
Bolton almost made the perfect start as Elmander was presented a glorious opportunity with less than two minutes gone. Fabrice Muamba played in the Swede on the right, but the Trotters' record signing, still without a goal in 2009, blazed across the face of the target as he closed in on goal.
There was little by way of quality in the early exchanges, but Bolton shaded the possession and continually lofted balls into the box looking for Kevin Davies. Hull pieced together their first threatening move after 11 minutes as Kamil Zayatte, playing at right-back, threaded a ball into the box for Ghilas. The Algerian, getting forward from a midfield role, turned well and forced Jussi Jaaskelainen to save.
Stephen Hunt, goalscorer in Hull's opening two games, then shot over after more good work by Zayatte. Geovanni tested Jaaskelainen with a fierce low shot after a brilliant piece of individual play on the half hour. The former Barcelona man cut inside from the left touchline and beat Muamba, but Jaaskelainen turned his 25-yard effort away for a corner.
Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill was kept busy by Bolton's aerial play, but had no trouble dealing with a mis-hit Elmander shot. Elmander then set up Kevin Davies after Muamba won the ball in midfield, but his shot went wide.
A foul on Mark Davies by Seyi Olofinjana allowed Matt Taylor to shoot from a free-kick, but Myhill got a hand to it and stood up to beat away Kevin Davies' cross. Hull had another let-off on the stroke of half-time as Kevin Davies volleyed wide from a Sean Davis free-kick.
Geovanni had a chance moments after the restart as an Andy Dawson cross fell his way, but his well-struck half-volley dipped just over. Hull's defence was beaten again as Taylor clipped in another free-kick, but Kevin Davies failed to make clean contact with his header. Taylor also got in a shot when the ball rolled his way after Elmander lost possession, but Myhill saved.
Brown made the decisive change just before the hour by bringing on Altidore for Caleb Folan. Folan had toiled away fruitlessly, but Altidore made an immediate impact with a neat flick from his first touch that put Ghilas in on goal.
The former Celta Vigo player made no mistake as he waited for the ball to bounce and then drilled powerfully past Jaaskelainen. Hull could have had another moments later, but Zayatte headed wide from Hunt's free-kick.
Altidore then missed a gilt-edged chance to underline his instant hero status as he raced into space to collect a Geovanni pass. His control was excellent and he looked certain to score as he deftly lifted the ball over Jaaskelainen, but it agonisingly rolled just wide. Ghilas could then have made the game safe after shrugging off Paul Robinson, but his strong drive rebounded off the crossbar.
Hull seemed a different side and Altidore had a shot saved at point-blank range by Jaaskelainen and Ghilas put the rebound over. Yet the hosts almost paid for their profligacy as Myhill tipped away a Taylor shot destined for the top corner. Bolton then finished strongly with Sam Ricketts, returning to Hull after his sale this summer, forcing Myhill to save and Kevin Davies seeing another shot bobble wide.