Tony Pulis is understood to have negotiated what is being described as a "hefty" bonus if he keeps Crystal Palace up this season, and the former Stoke manager was watching from the stands as the Eagles made the best possible start towards earning him that reward.

Not, however, that Pulis will have been misled as to the size of his task. Barry Bannan's late goal notwithstanding, this was a match of desperately low quality, throughout which neither side looked remotely as though they belonged in the Premier League. The question for Pulis, who has signed a two-and-a-half year contract and starts work on Monday, is whether there are three worse teams, and on the evidence of this match, Hull City may be one.

Even so, the 55-year-old acknowledged the result. "I'm very happy to be at the club, and this result makes it a great start," he said. "The first thing I'd like to do is thank [caretaker manager] Keith [Millen] for what he's done over the past few weeks. It's terrific to come in on the back of a win."

Millen himself, who will find out on Monday whether he will continue to be part of the club's coaching team, said he had told Pulis the players he will be working with still believe they can escape the drop.

"I spoke to him on Friday and this morning and told him I honestly believed these lads can stay up. You pick up on the vibes in training, and there is a belief there that we have a fighting chance, and I think Tony was pleased to hear that," said Millen.

They will need help though, and Pulis has been given the go-ahead to bring in as many as five new players in the transfer window, a fact which can only have added to the motivation of the starting XI selected by Millen. A formation featuring Mile Jedinak playing just in front of the back four suggested a draw would suit them just fine, and a horribly sterile first half, during which each team mustered precisely one shot on goal, confirmed as much.

Crystal Palace were playing with ten men for much of the first 15 minutes, an early clash of heads between Paul McShane and Marouane Chamakh seeing the Moroccan twice having to leave the pitch to have the flow of blood from the resulting wound staunched. The delays and stoppages meant the game struggled to gather momentum.

With nothing going on on the field, the crowd's interest featured on a protest in which some of the home supporters against the club's mooted change of name to Hull City Tigers were initially prevented from parading a banner reading 'We Are Hull City' in front of the East Stand. Eventually the stewards relented, taking the heat out the situation, but the chanting continued, and the episode left club owner Assem Allam's assertion that most supporters do not care about the issue looking ridiculous.

City manager Steve Bruce made a change at half-time, bringing on Danny Graham for Robbie Brady and switching to a conventional 4-4-2. Millen left Cameron Jerome ploughing a lonely furrow up front, but the game did become a little more open, and City should have taken the lead when George Boyd slipped the ball into the path of Yannick Sagbo in the Crystal Palace penalty area. The striker scuffed his effort, allowing Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni to make the save.

With 13 minutes remaining the game changed. Yannick Bolasie's poor touch let him down, and diving in with studs up to try and retrieve the situation, he slid into Jake Livermore and was sent off. It looked like Hull's game to win, but within a minute Dwight Gayle had found Jerome, who pulled the ball back across goal for Bannan, coming in at the far post, to turn the ball past Allan McGregor.

There was still time for Liam Rosenior to volley a half-cleared corner against Speroni's left-hand post, but Hull's luck was very much out.

"The biggest disappointment is the performance, because although I don't think we deserved to lose, we just didn't do enough to win the game," said Bruce. "The big issue in the Premier League is whether you can create and score goals, because everyone is well organised."

He also added his voice to the chorus applauding the appointment of Pulis. "He's been there, done it and got the T-shirt, hasn't he."

Millen agreed. "I said from the start what was needed was someone with experience at this level, because the club hasn't got that." Now it has.