Championship: Kevin Phillips hat-trick helps Crystal Palace overcome Hull at Selhurst Park
Kevin Phillips struck a hat-trick to steer Crystal Palace to a comfortable 4-2 win over fellow promotion-hopefuls Hull.
Last Updated: 05/03/13 10:33pm
Although it took 44 minutes for the hosts to get started, the spoils were a worthy reward for a team securing a fifth league win in seven to keep breathing down the necks of their rivals at the top of the table.
The visitors too were a team in flying form - four victories in five at the start of the evening in London - and will be fuming over the opening goal that inspired their downfall with the defeat forcing them to concede second spot in the table to Watford.
Keeper David Stockdale had already kept the Tigers in the game on the half-hour when he shut out brilliantly Glenn Murray's spot-kick (28) after a tame David Meyler challenge on Jonathan Williams.
But the decision at the end of the first half proved hugely decisive as it sparked the contest into life when Jack Hobbs was harshly penalised for handball when sliding into the path of Murray's blast.
Referee Mark Haywood pointed to the spot and was swiftly surrounded by the Hull players, but the 39-year-old Phillips stayed cool to slot in the first goal from 12 yards.
The loaned striker from Blackpool was a man on a mission and needed only six minutes in the second period to fire in his second from deep inside the box after good work by Wilfried Zaha.
Steve Bruce's men were on the ropes and 108 seconds later the advantage was extended to three as Phillips looped in his third following more good work by his trusty winger Zaha.
Jay Simpson nodded in Ahmed Elmohamady's cross to get some consolation but the Eagles sizzled on and Zaha deservedly got on the scoresheet with a smart finish (76).
To their credit, Hull battled on and in injury time grabbed a second with Robbie Brady setting up Meyler to head in but the night belonged to Phillips and the soaring Eagles.