Match ends, Norwich City 1, Hull City 0.
Ryan Bennett's late header earned struggling Norwich City a vital victory over Hull and eased the pressure on manager Chris Hughton.
Bennett headed in from a corner to secure a first home Premier League success since November and relieve the tension after a frustrating afternoon.
Tigers debutant Nikica Jelavic hit the post inside two minutes, but the hosts had the better chances after that.
Hull's miserable day got worse when Tom Huddlestone was sent off late on.
The midfielder was dismissed for a second yellow card, seemingly ending Hull's hopes of an equaliser, but they might still have salvaged something in injury time only for Curtis Davies to head wide when well placed.
Hull's shocking away record - just five points on the road this season - hardly gave cause for much pre-match optimism, even against a Norwich side who had not won at home since beating Crystal Palace on 30 November.
But the Tigers started in the same impressive manner they had maintained for long spells before eventually succumbing to an Eden Hazard-inspired Chelsea last Saturday.
Jelavic looked busy and dangerous throughout but spurned a wonderful chance to make an impact inside two minutes of his debut, hitting the outside of the post with a left-footed strike after a fine move involving Liam Rosenior and Robert Koren.
Rosenior then had a difficult opportunity at the far post, which he volleyed wide.
But the hosts began to settle and Hull's early rhythm seemed further affected by a defensive reshuffle that saw the injured James Chester replaced by Maynor Figueroa.
With Robert Snodgrass increasingly influential in midfield, Norwich started to dominate possession and create chances.
Summer signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel was unlucky not to grab his second Canaries goal with a smart turn and half-volley, but he could not swivel in time to get his close-range effort on target following a Snodgrass header.
Snodgrass and Bradley Johnson also both had decent long-range strikes saved.
And Scotland international Snodgrass sent over a series of teasing crosses, two of which could easily have resulted in headed goals for van Wolfswinkel.
Hull, whose other recent signing Shane Long, was denied a debut because of an ankle injury, ended the first half strongly but Norwich were the more threatening side after the interval.
Nevertheless, a series of blocked shots was as close as the hosts had come to a goal, despite mounting pressure, until Bennett rose to head in his first goal for the club when Tigers keeper Allan McGregor flapped at a late corner.
Davies could still have earned an unlikely point after Huddlestone was sent off, but the Canaries held on to pick up the three points that move them up to 12th, level on points with Hull.
Norwich City manager Chris Hughton:
"I saw it as a big win. It is so tight down there it is very difficult to talk about must-win games, but I know it is an important win - for the fact the opposition are close to us in the division and it is a close game.
"You have to not panic and be composed. Things can change over one game or a two-game period.
"It is never nice when there is a lot of criticism around, but it is part and parcel of the game and for any criticism that I might have had or feelings about my job, maybe next week it will be someone else.
"On the balance of the game I don't think there is anybody that could not agree that we deserved to win the game. I thought we were the better team over 90 minutes, but they are a good side and defend very well.
"We perhaps didn't create enough clear-cut chances, but we put them under a lot of pressure. At that stage of the game there is a part of you that thinks, 'It isn't going to be our day', but the lads were resilient."
Hull City manager Steve Bruce:
"We had a big chance in the first couple of minutes when Jelavic hit the post and Liam Rosenior had a really big chance, but overall in the second half we were a touch disappointed with how we handled the ball.
"He [Jelavic] has done everything right. His connection with it was right, he struck it really well and I was expecting it to nestle in the back of the net. It has hit the post and missed by two inches. What a start that would have been for the lad.
"When you play like that away form home, to come away with a point would have been terrific for us, another point on the board, but it wasn't to be.
"It is about expectation. We are a newly promoted club. Everybody expects us to be in the bottom three and when you have been here for two or three years everybody expects you to be in the top six. That is how it is in the Premier League, but Chris has been around it a long time."
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- 5Bassong Nguena
- 4JohnsonBooked at 45mins
- 9van WolfswinkelSubstituted forBecchioat 80'minutes
- 15GutiérrezSubstituted forPilkingtonat 68'minutes
- 27El Mohamady
- 2RoseniorBooked at 49mins
- 5ChesterSubstituted forFigueroaat 15'minutesBooked at 39mins
- 10KorenSubstituted forFryattat 82'minutes
- 20SagboSubstituted forBoydat 67'minutes
- 8HuddlestoneBooked at 89mins
- Howard Webb
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Norwich City 1, Hull City 0.
Attempt missed. Curtis Davies (Hull City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ahmed Elmohamady with a cross.
Foul by Luciano Becchio (Norwich City).
Maynor Figueroa (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Matty Fryatt (Hull City) header from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Liam Rosenior.
Foul by Sébastien Bassong (Norwich City).
Nikica Jelavic (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Ryan Bennett (Norwich City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Second yellow card to Tom Huddlestone (Hull City) for a bad foul.
Leroy Fer (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Tom Huddlestone (Hull City).
Corner, Hull City. Conceded by Russell Martin.
Attempt blocked. Jake Livermore (Hull City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jake Livermore.
Corner, Hull City. Conceded by Russell Martin.
Goal! Norwich City 1, Hull City 0. Ryan Bennett (Norwich City) header from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Robert Snodgrass with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Tom Huddlestone.
Attempt blocked. Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Bradley Johnson (Norwich City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Maynor Figueroa.