Debutant Dame N’Doye proved the key figure in a scrappy contest, setting up Nikica Jelavic’s 22nd-minute opener before scoring himself to secure only a third home win of the season.
The Tigers move up to 15th in the table but Villa, whose fans held up a ‘Lambert Out’ banner for most of the match, slip into the bottom three following a fifth straight defeat.
Villa came into the clash without a victory in their last nine league games but after an improved performance against league leaders Chelsea at the weekend, the travelling support were expecting a more spirited showing than they have had to endure of late.
However, from the word go, Lambert’s side lacked a cutting edge, and it was deadline-day signing N’Doye who gave the game some attacking intent.
Goalkeeper Allan McGregor launched the ball upfield where N’Doye cushioned it with a neat first touch before threading a pass for Jelavic. He shot low, but was fortunate to see the ball loop gently into the roof of the net after a huge deflection off Ciaran Clark.
Villa offered little in return. They had a solitary chance to level before the break, Tom Huddlestone conceding a free-kick in an inviting position, but Carles Gil’s effort curled a yard wide.
After the interval it was more of the same. Lambert made the logical switch at half-time, Christian Benteke coming on for the ineffective Andreas Weimann. Villa needed the Belgian to rediscover his best form, but he was again starved of service.
Robbie Brady shot just wide as Hull looked to extend their lead but the home fans didn’t have to wait long to have their nerves settled.
Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross and Gaston Ramirez’s header combined to pick out N’Doye at the far post and although his instinctive first attempt was smothered at point-blank range by Brad Guzan, the Senegalese hitman slotted his second attempt coolly into the net 16 minutes from time.
McGregor denied Villa a much-needed goal, beating out Ashley Westwood’s drive then recovering to palm Benteke’s follow-up over the bar in the dying embers of the match, but Lambert’s men must realise quickly they are involved in a relegation battle, and have to improve quickly.
Hull City: McGregor (6), Elmohamady (6), Dawson (7), Bruce (7), McShane (7), Brady (6), Huddlestone (6), Livermore (6), Meyler (5), Jelavic (7), N’Doye (8).
Used subs: Ramirez (6), Hernandez (5), Quinn (5).
Aston Villa: Guzan (6), Hutton (6), Okore (6), Clark (6), Cissokho (7), Sinclair (4), Westwood (5), Delph (5), Weimann (4), Agbonlahor (5), Gil (7).
Used subs: Cole (6), Benteke (6).
Man of the match: Dame N’Doye
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