Stoke City 5 Hull City 1
Stoke’s victory, which saw them leapfrog their opponents in the relegation fight, came at a heavy cost with the loss of captain and midfield dynamo Joe Allen for the remainder of the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The former Liverpool and Swansea player will also miss Euro 2020 with Wales after picking up the injury after an innocuous challenge from Hull substitute Jay Batty just before the half time whistle.
Manager Michael O’Neill said: “I’m devastated for Joe. Obviously, it’s a huge blow to us to lose Joe and a huge blow with what he had to look forward to in the summer with Wales so devastated for him.
“Obviously, we’re delighted with the result but it [the injury]takes the edge off it. Our thoughts go with him and obviously the club will do everything to look after him and make sure he’s back as soon as possible”.
The Northern Ireland manager was pleased with the display and said; “The performance was very good and we got the performance we asked for from the players.
“It was really important for us to play on the front foot today. We knew Hull came into this game after a difficult run of form and it was important for us to impose ourselves on the opposition and I felt we did that from the word go.
“We had chances before we scored. We scored three good goals and could have scored more before half time.
“The second half I thought it was nice to add to the three goals but I was a little bit disappointed to concede. It would have been nice to keep a clean sheet but overall it was a great day’s work for us in terms of the game but obviously the injury takes a bit of the shine off it”.
Stoke were three up by the 23rd minute and could have had at least six before the break. Nick Powell opened the scoring in the 11th minute when he headed in at the back post from a cross from Tommy Smith.
Tyreese Campbell converted a penalty in the 15th minute following a hand ball by a Hull defender dealing with a wicked Jordan Thompson corner.
Sam Clucas made it three in the 23rd minute heading past George Long in the Hull goal after Danny Bath diverted a Thompson free kick into his path.
Clucas made it 4-0 five minutes after the break and Nick Powell completed his brace with five minutes to go when he fired to the net at the near post after good build up play from debutant Tashan Oakley-Booth down the left.
Hull were outplayed for the most part but Leonardo da Silva Lopes converted a Callum Elder cross in the 73rd minute to put a bit of respectability on the scoreboard and to give the 513 travelling fans in an attendance of 23,126 something to shout about.
Tigers boss Grant McCann described his feelings after the game: “Pretty low, we didn’t deserve anything form the game.
“We were disappointing, very poor. Stoke could easily have won more to be honest. Very low. I think the biggest thing that hurt me today is the fact that we got outmuscled and bullied.
“They got on top of us and there was a 15-minute spell where we couldn’t cope physically. They won every header and every second ball. That was frustrating and disappointing. We ultimately lost the game in that fifteen-minute spell”.