Dowie's reticence can reap more rewards

Hull City 2 Fulham 0
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The Independent Football

Iain Dowie earned first Premier League victory in charge of Hull City against Fulham, just like his predecessor Phil Brown, but that is where the similarities end.

Brown's eventful top-flight adventure began with a 2-1 win over Fulham in August 2008. Between then and his departure a fortnight ago he was scarcely out of the limelight. The half-time team talk on the pitch at Manchester City, a post-match sing-song in front of a full stadium on the final day of last season and a players confrontation witnessed by the Women's Institute during his final week all form part of Brown's legacy. With him now on gardening leave, Dowie, the Tigers' football management consultant, is charged with salvaging the club's Premier League status, and is happy to do it quietly.

He was not introduced to the KC Stadium crowd before seeing his side win with goals from Jimmy Bullard and Craig Fagan and would prefer to keep a low profile. Dowie said: "It is not about me, it is about keeping Hull in the Premier League. I did not want to be introduced before kick off. My job is on the training ground. It is not about me being the focus but about winning games. It is about, in seven games' time, being where we want to be."

City's opener came from the penalty spot in the 16th minute when Bullard rifled home against his old club for his fourth of the season. Fagan sealed the points with a looping header. It ended a run of five defeats and their first clean sheet in nine outings was largely thanks to a sterling display from defender Ibrahima Sonko in his first appearance since October – a 2-0 defeat at Fulham.

The 6ft 3ins Senegal international was told by Brown to train with the youth team along with striker Caleb Folan. Dowie's arrival handed both a fresh start, with Folan scoring twice in last week's loss at Portsmouth. Sonko said: "Me and Caleb are nearly boyfriend and girlfriend. We have spent a lot of time together. We had so many talks about it, we told each other just to keep going. To have him around and know I was not the only one suffering was a great support."

Fulham's task was made stiffer when Chris Smalling, who is to join Manchester United in the summer, conceded the early penalty when hauling down Jozy Altidore. Manager Roy Hodgson said: "I'm doing Alex Ferguson a favour by letting him get his errors out of the way for Fulham. By the time he gets to Manchester United, he won't make any more."

Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; McShane, Mouyokolo, Sonko, Kilbane; Garcia, Bullard (Olofinjana, 85), Boateng, Marney; Fagan, Altidore (Vennegoor of Hesselink, 78). Subtitutes not used: Duke (gk), Barmby, Geovanni, Mendy, Cairney.

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer; Shorey, Smalling, Hangeland, Konchesky; Baird, Dikgacoi (Greening, 59); Riise (Okaka, 53), Gera, Davies; Dempsey. Substitutes not used: Zuberbühler, Nevland, Hughes, Etuhu, Stoor.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

Booked: Hull Kilbane, Altidore; Fulham Shorey, Dikgacoi, Davies, Gera.

Man of the match: Sonko.

Attendance: 24,361