Steve Bruce was thrilled to have exorcised the ghost of his blackest day in football as Hull came from behind to win at Newcastle.
A stunning 76th-minute winner from Sone Aluko handed the Tigers an unlikely 3-2 victory after they had twice trailed to the Magpies.
The win was particularly sweet for Geordie Bruce, who on his last visit to St James’s Park as Sunderland manager in October 2010, left on the wrong end of a 5-1 scoreline.
He said: “That was certainly the darkest Sunday afternoon I have had in football. It was the worst result I could probably ever think of.
“It’s taken a long time to come back, but we have come back and dusted ourselves down, and it’s always nice to win here.
“As you know, I’m a Geordie and it’s always nice to come back, especially if we can get a result.”
Hull were behind with just 11 minutes gone when Loic Remy, making his first home start for Newcastle in front of owner Mike Ashley and director of football Joe Kinnear, headed home from close range.
But the lead lasted just 15 minutes as the Magpies’ fragility at the back returned to haunt them and Robbie Brady levelled from Aluko’s through-ball.
Remy restored the home side’s advantage a minute before the break after goalkeeper Allan McGregor could only parry Yohan Cabaye’s shot, but a criminally unmarked Ahmed Elmohamady headed home Brady’s 48th-minute free-kick to drag the visitors back into it.
However, it was Aluko who claimed the headlines when he spectacularly volleyed home substitute George Boyd’s cross, although Remy might have completed a hat-trick and snatched a point at the death, only to prod wide from close range.
Bruce said: “What has pleased me more than anything is the manner in which we have played.
“We have been to Chelsea and we got a bit of a doing in the first half-hour, but we are a little bit bold.
“We play two strikers and we are a little bit different and at the end of the day, it doesn’t surprise me that we can come up here and win because we have got some good players.
“I hope they can keep their feet on the ground and keep enjoying it the way they are. The big thing for me is can we stay injury-free with the big players we have got?”
It proved to be a sobering afternoon for Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, who saw the same team which played so well in victory at Aston Villa last weekend twice squander leads before succumbing.
He said: “All three goals were poor from us. We have defended really, really well in these last few weeks, and today...
“It’s the consistency of performance that this team is searching for. The team that finished fifth, you see similarities with this team.
“But that team had a consistency about it of performance as a team, not as individuals, and today, the formation was the same, the set-up was the same but we looked not the same.
“We looked too loose and gifted goals, and you can’t do that against any opposition.
“Hull, I’ll be the first to pay tribute to them because they played very well, I must say that, but for us, it was a really disappointing day.
“It’s the commitment and the quality that you need in every game that we showed at Villa.
“But today not just the looseness of the team, but our selection of passing wasn’t as great as it has been in the last two or three games and we had a day at the office which we are going to have to forget quite quickly and move on.”