Wasteful Villa fail to build on bright opening
Allan McGregor denied Villa’s longest-serving player with a fine stop, but was powerless to prevent the 30-year-old converting Alan Hutton’s low cross at the back post moments later.
Agbonlahor, who looked in good nick after well-publicised fitness issues, has now scored in 11 consecutive seasons for the Villains and celebrated with a classy cross-city tribute to Wolves’ cancer-stricken goalkeeper Carl Ikeme.
By half-time, it should have been three. Scott Hogan danced past Michael Dawson but couldn’t beat McGregor, then failed to connect with Ahmed Elmohamady’s enticing centre.
Lansbury, effervescent in the No.10 role, also struck straight at Hull’s overworked stopper. And Villa, thoroughly punched out after their blitzkrieg start, would pay dearly for their profligacy.
Hull had hinted at a revival shortly before the break, Abel Hernandez testing Sam Johnstone, swiftly followed by Kamil Grosicki. The Poland international, patently a class above this division, was the catalyst for a vastly-improved second half.
Keeping the 29-year-old at the KC is critical to Hull’s hopes of a play-off push, as he proved with an expertly dinked cross that Bowen nervelessly thumped home for his first career goal.
Slutsky admitted the first 20 minutes had been “very bad” but is convinced his young squad will improve.
“For them and for me, it was the first match in this league against a big team,” he said. “I am very proud. Of course we need some new players but we have enough leaders to be confident.”
STILL A THREAT: John Terry rises highest to head at goal