Hull City 3 QPR 0
Hull manager Liam Rosenior hailed Aaron Connolly as a “natural” in front of goal after the Ireland international striker scored twice on his 23rd birthday in the 3-0 victory against QPR in the Championship.
The Tigers had not won at home since early October and were indebted to Connolly, on loan from Brighton until the end of the season, for his contribution against admittedly lifeless opposition.
Rosenior said: “I’ve known him since he was a kid and I love him. If he misses the first chance he’ll take the second one. His timing and movement is so good and he’s showed exactly why I wanted to bring him to the club.
“He’ll be the first to admit he’s made mistakes, but you’ve got remember that he’s just 23.
“He’s emotional at times and when he first came to the club, he was on his best behaviour. But I didn’t want that, I wanted him to be himself.
“I believe in him. He’s a natural. I think he’s a Hull City player and embodies what this club is about.”
Hull are now one point adrift of 14th-placed QPR in the Championship table and have lost just once under Rosenior since the midseason World Cup break.
Connolly’s first goal after 10 minutes was largely down to good work on the right from international team-mate Cyrus Christie, but he still had the composure to loop the ball over Seny Dieng.
QPR improved after the restart, but they were caught in possession after 62 minutes – with a swift counterattack leading to Rob Dickie deflecting the ball into his own net.
Connolly then controlled a reaching Jean Michael Seri pass through the middle to put the game to bed just two minutes later.
Rosenior said: “I’m a relieved man. It’s felt like an eternity since we won at home. But I think it’s been coming. Our performances at home have merited more points.
“To play so aggressively and on the front foot, I couldn’t be happier with the players. It’s been so long to celebrate a home win and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”