Sunderland had not scored a headed goal all season.
So when Billy Jones dove in the six-yard box, emphatically turning home John O'Shea's flick on, the mood was one first and foremost of shock.
Frustration, perhaps, that it has been so long coming, but the away support, in fine voice all afternoon, had no interest in passing up the opportunity to celebrate wildly.
Defiance had been the order of the day for them, travelling in scarcely believable numbers again.
Marco Silva's remarkable home record brought to an abrupt and surprising end.
Too little too late in the bigger picture, but at long last, some pride, led by Jordan Pickford, who was simply magnificent in the Sunderland goal.
The teams were greeted by fire as they left the tunnel, a flame machine installed in front of the dugout.
Right from kick-off, however, the mood around the ground was anxious and flat, and the quality of football reflected it. The away end, it must be said, were in magnificent voice, all things considered.
They almost had a goal to cheer in the opening minutes, George Honeyman, brought into the side to play in a prominent Number Ten role, heading wide from inside the box following a Billy Jones cross.
The move had been started by the excellent Didier Ndong, efficient and impressive throughout an excellent first half showing.
The hosts were tepid, even if their threat on the counter-attack was clear, taking nay opportunity to release Kamil Grosicki and Lazar Markovic on the two flanks. They did have the better of the chances, Sam Clucas forcing a fine save from Jordan Pickford on 20 minutes as he hammered a volley through a crowd of players.
Harry Maguire went close just moments later as he turned away from two Sunderland players on the edge of the box and fired a drive just wide of the post.
Sunderland's problems were familiar, unable to carve out significant chances. Jermain Defoe flashed an effort wide from 25 yards, while a John O'Shea header from a corner dropped clear of the far post.
A key talking point came on the half hour mark, as the hosts roared for a penalty, a volley striking John O'Shea's arm from clsoe range. Referee Neil Swarbrick waved away the claims, five minutes before Abel Hernandez went close following a mazy individual run into the box, beating two Black Cats defenders before shooting wide from the left of the penalty box.
The hosts were looking for a penalty moments into the second half as Victor Anichebe made a clumsy challenge on Lazar Markovic, but Swarbrick again waved play on.
Sunderland missed a major opportunity to take a shock lead, a punt through the middle releasing Jermain Defoe one on one. His effort was tame and Eldin Jakupovic was able to push it clear of danger.
The game had opened up, the Tigers surging down field. Grosicki burned clear of Billy Jones and crossed from the byline. His ball took Pickford out of the equation but Alfred N'Diaye, arriving at the back post, could not gather and the ball bounced wide.
Pickford was forced to make an outstanding save on the hour mark as Hull built a good move down the right. Former Black Cat Ahmed Elmohamady delivered a threatening cross, header goal ward by Markovic. The Sunderland stopper had to be at his best to make a flying stop to his left. Chants of 'he's one of our own', deafening at the start, rained down again from the away end.
The hosts were beginning to stretch the Black Cats, O'Shea having to make a fine sliding block as Abel Hernandez waited to pounce at the end of another swift counter.
Sunderland continued to threaten intermittently, and Defoe spurned his third excellent chance of the game after Victor Anichebe teed up him on the edge of the box.
The 34-year-old had now gone over 1000 minutes without a goal and his loss of form has hurt Sunderland badly. He would, of course, bring that run to an end at the death.
When Sunderland's opener came, it was from a most unlikely source. A George Honeyman corner was flicked on by John O'Shea, where a diving Billy Jones headed home past a motionless Jakupovic.
The lead shouldn't have last long, but Oumar Niasse could not force Jordan Pickford into action when the ball broke to him in the box, shooting well wide. When team-mate Hernandez did find the target soon after, his effort was firm and heading for goal, stopped only by the sensational reflexes of the 23-year-old at his near post.
From there the hosts quickly ran out of seam, and were in shock when Jermain Defoe, standing in an offside position, turned home substitute Seb Larsson's free-kick.
The final whistle blew and both sides were left to reflect on what might have been.