N'Doye shines on Hull debut to sink struggling Villa
Hull City 2 Aston Villa 0
Dame N'Doye scored one and set up another on his full debut as Hull climbed out of the relegation zone at the expense of a brow-beaten Aston Villa.
The Senegalese striker, a £3m deadline-day signing, was the key figure in a scrappy win that could nevertheless have a profound effect on both sides' battle against the drop.
He showed a fine first touch and good awareness to tee up Nikica Jelavic for the 22nd-minute opener and settled matters deep in the second half with a close-range finish.
After drawing with Manchester City at the weekend, a rare win on home soil - just their third this term - confirmed a feeling of renewed optimism, with Hull up three places to 15th.
But for Villa, the outlook is grim. Not only does the result see them slump into the bottom three, it poses serious questions about their ability to bounce back.
Having ended their long goal drought in a losing cause against Chelsea, normal service was resumed with a seventh blank in their last eight Premier League matches.
When they started without Christian Benteke, they looked bereft up front; when they added him at half-time they barely improved.
The home team had hardly been electric up front but took the lead in thoroughly uncomplicated fashion. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor launched the ball upfield where N'Doye cushioned it before threading a pass for Jelavic, who found the net courtesy of a huge deflection off Ireland defender Ciaran Clark.
Villa had been sucker-punched and their reaction was to fall flat, inviting further pressure for the next 10 minutes.
Hull seemed likelier to add to the scoring, despite committing fewer men forward as the minutes ticked past, and Robbie Brady should have done more with Jake Livermore's clever pass.
It was N'Doye who made it safe in the 74th minute. Ahmed Elmohamady's cross and Ramirez's header combined to pick out the striker at the far post and after Brad Guzan saved his initial effort, he scored with the rebound.