Hull City manager Steve Bruce was relieved to say goodbye to January and banish his manager-of-the-month hoodoo after guiding the visitors to this victory at Millwall.
A first-minute strike from David Meyler, whose loan move from Sunderland was made permanent on January 8, was enough to secure a first league win of 2013.
Meyler’s goals also helped lifte the Tigers back level on points with Leicester with only goal difference keeping Bruce’s side behind the Foxes in the race for the second automatic promotion spot.
It was a welcome win for Bruce, whose side had struggled since he was named the Championship’s manager of the month for December, and the ex-Sunderland boss insisted he could now look forward.
“I’m pleased to get January out of the way with the nonsense that goes on – I’m amazed my phone hasn’t rang today,” he said.
“Since I got that flaming award we’ve not won. I said that at the time – I think it’s about five times that’s happened to me now.
“Last time I got it, I got the sack three months later. We’re unbeaten in seven away from home now, but it is nice to get that first league win of the year.
“You have to show a bit of resilience in this league and we’ve done that again here.
“David Meyler has been a terrific acquisition for us. He’s had a really good start to his career here, particularly when you consider he’s had a few knee injuries.
“I just hope he has a bit of luck now and he can stay fit. If he can, he’ll be a big player for us.”
Searching for a first win in four Championship games, the promotion-chasing Tigers made the perfect start when Meyler struck after just 45 seconds.
The 23-year-old pounced on a poor back pass from former Sheffield Wednesday defender Mark Beevers to slot home his fourth goal of the season.
Millwall wasted chances to level with James Henry firing over with only David Stockdale to beat, but despite slipping to a third successive League defeat manager Kenny Jackett refused to be downbeat.
“I felt we put a lot of pressure on a very good Hull team. I think we were unlucky to lose the game and I felt we did well barring finding the goal, ” he said.
“The opening 45 seconds aside, where Mark (Beevers) has made a mistake, I think he has been excellent.
“I thought he was very steady after that – he didn’t go to pieces.”
Millwall: Forde, Adam Smith, Shittu, Woolford (N’Guessan 90), Beevers, Henry, Abdou, Wright (Keogh 46), Trotter, Lowry, Marquis (Hulse 46). Unused substitutes: Maik Taylor, Dunne, Feeney, Osborne.
Hull City: Stockdale, Bruce (Evans 83), Chester, McShane, Faye (Hobbs 45), Meyler (Proschwitz 68), Brady, Koren, Elmohamady, Quinn, Simpson. Unused substitutes: Jakupovic, Rosenior, Cairney, Olofinjana.
Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).
Man of the match: Stephen Quinn.