• Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Hull City
• Wolves move out of the bottom three on goal difference
Kevin Doyle has endured a difficult couple of years like his club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the Ireland internationalstriker's eighth goal of the season may prove the one that preserves Wolves' Championship status.
Nor was the result, which lifts Wolves out of the bottom three on goal difference above Huddersfield, undeserved.
Hull enjoyed the vast majority of possession during the first half in particular but they created very few opportunities before Doyle's goal 10 minutes into the second. Jay Simpson subsequently hit a post for the Tigers but Wolves also spurned several excellent chances before the final whistle.
"Things went for us tonight, here and elsewhere," said the manager, Dean Saunders. "We needed to dig a result out and we did. We're out of the bottom three and, if we win our final three games, nobody can catch us.
"We had to dig deep in the final 10 minutes, chasing back and staying with the runners, but the crowd got behind us and drove us on. It's incredible, though. We're 10 points clear of last season's relegation tally and there's still three games left. I looked in the mirror this morning and I've got grey hairs on my chest."
Fourteen months ago Wolves offered Steve Bruce, then "between clubs" but now manager of Hull, the opportunity to replace the sacked Mick McCarthy before hours later changing their minds. Given the direction of the respective fortunes since, it seems safe to say there must have been times when the Molineux powers-that-be at Molineux reflected on the wisdom of that decision.
For once, however, footballing fortune decided to favour the old gold over the amber. The first half was cagey in the extreme and, although the wrong-footed Wolves goalkeeper, Dorus de Vries, was relieved to see Stephen Quinn's shot from a half-cleared corner deflected past his left-hand post, neither De Vries nor his opposite number, David Stockdale, was required to make a single save before the break.
It was ironic that it should be Hull's Ahmed Fathi, the game's best player up to that point, who was responsible for his team going behind. The Egyptian midfielder was caught in possession by Tomba Doumbia well inside his own half, enabling Bjorn Sigurdarson to give Doyle the yard of space he needed to drive the ball past Stockdale.
It was a goal the game, as a spectacle, badly needed. Hull immediately upped a gear but Wolves too had been lifted and their closing down in midfield and penalty-area defending acquired a new determination. They also broke with purpose and Tongo Doumbia, picking up the loose ball in the Hull penalty area after good work by Doyle and Stephen Hunt, missed a glorious chance to put his side two up.
As the game became stretched City came within inches of equalising when Simpson shot across De Vries but saw the ball rebound away off the goalkeeper's left-hand post. Within moments Wolves contrived to miss a double opportunity of their own, Stockdale saving from Hunt before Sigurdarson, with more time than he knew what to do with, shot into the side-netting.
Bruce's disappointment was assuaged by Watford's defeat at Millwall, a result that leaves Hull still six points clear in the second automatic promotion place. "We didn't turn our possession into opportunities but I still couldn't see us getting beat until Fathi, who had a wonderful debut, got caught in possession," he said.
"All season we've prided ourselves on not making mistakes but at least it's still all to play for. Other people have failed to get a result, we need four points from our last three games to be sure, and we go again at home to Bristol City on Friday."