It would not have required much to overshadow this rotten match but a first-half forehead confrontation between managers Phil Brown and Joe Kinnear would probably have relegated a good game to the footnotes as well. In east Yorkshire this will be remembered as the night a late winner from Daniel Cousin put Hull City into the FA Cup fourth round for the first time since 1989, where they host Millwall, but in the rest of the country it will be recalled for Brown and Kinnear's apparent head-to-head contact in the 23rd minute.
Kinnear and Brown squared up in the wake of the booking of Newcastle United's Fabricio Coloccini for a foul from behind on Cousin, which Brown applauded. Angry words were exchanged between Brown and Kinnear's assistant Chris Hughton before Brown and Kinnear walked from their technical areas and met each other eyeball to eyeball.
Heads appeared to touch, though briefly, and referee Phil Dowd intervened. Both were ordered to the stands and while the contact hardly merited the term "violent", the sight of managers colliding physically is so unusual that the authorities will be expected to react with force.
"Unfortunately me and Joe came together and we got stuck in the stands by Phil Dowd," Brown said afterwards. "I was contesting the fact that every time the ball came to Daniel Cousin, their centre-half kept coming through the back of him. They did not think that was the case in their dugout.
"The first one was OK, the second one was blatant. They were arguing Cousin was diving. I know the lad and he's not like that."
Kinnear, who has two Football Association charges hanging over him from incidents at Fulham and at St James' Park against Stoke City – when he was also sent to the stands – said heads "did not touch, not at all.
"He [Brown] was having a rant more than anything. He didn't say anything to me, he was having a rant against Chris. I just said 'Cool it, call it a day' as he came across. I know my reputation precedes me. All I did was stand my ground." The FA may see it differently.
Newcastle have now lost four of their last five games and there was growing gloom around the club even before this Cup exit. Yet Kinnear was able to counter that had Michael Owen taken one of three good chances this would have been a different night. Nicky Butt also struck the crossbar in the 21st minute. Xisco wasted a great opening.
Hull were bent on containment. They had limited forward threat until substitute Bernard Mendy broke away in the 81st minute. Mendy reached Newcastle's 18-yard line where his shot was blocked by Coloccini but the ricochet fell to Richard Garcia and he slid a pass across the six-yard area that Cousin could not miss.
Owen had the opportunity to equalise but skied his header. Kinnear badly needs the two players he said Newcastle bid £4m each for yesterday. One is believed to be Stéphane Mbia of Rennes, the other Albin Ebondo of Toulouse.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Edgar, Coloccini, Bassong, N'Zogbia; Gutierrez (LuaLua, 82), Butt, Guthrie, Duff; Owen, Xisco (Carroll, 76). Substitutes not used: Harper (gk), Taylor, Kadar, Donaldson, Ranger.
Hull City (4-5-1): Duke; Doyle, McShane, Zayatte, Ricketts; Fagan (Mendy, 74), Halmosi, Boateng (Ashbee, 67), France, Garcia; Cousin (Folan, 86). Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Featherstone, Giannakopoulos, Atkinson.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).