Hull City 0 West Bromwich Albion 1
There is only one window that now concerns West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray — the window of opportunity.
For the past month, the transfer window has dogged Mowbray with reports that half his team were on the way out, with an equal number of arrivals due in.
In the end, no-one of significance left and influential skipper Curtis Davies, Zoltan Gera and unhappy striker Nathan Ellington are all still at the Hawthorns.
Conversely, there was little to get too excited about among the arrivals, although the acquisitions of Dean Kiely and Robert Koren, who both played significant parts in this win, look astute.
"We’ve always focused on the football," said Mowbray. "Results over the last month have been pretty good but, from a manager’s perspective, there’s a lot of stuff that goes on.
"Hopefully, it settles down now and everyone gets on with it for the next three or four months."
Instead of using January as the chance to go on a shopping spree, Albion opted to go on a winning spree, which they carried over into this month with a gritty win over a stubborn Tigers side.
After losing on the opening day of the year to Southend, Albion haven’t looked back with this being their sixth consecutive win, including two victories in the FA Cup.
Taking a wider view, it extended Albion’s league run to one defeat in 11 games and on the back of that, the club have lifted themselves to third in the table, their highest position since October.
Inevitably, it was Diomansy Kamara who was accountable for Albion’s goal, his 60th-minute strike taking his tally to 18 for the season.
The Senegal international can do no wrong at the moment but his crisply-despatched finish owed much to the guile of Jason Koumas, who held off his marker for 30 yards before slipping the ball between two defenders, leaving Kamara to do the rest.
This was not one of the Welshman’s most telling days and his assist was his final contribution, his other notable moment coming on the stroke of half-time when his rasping shot from outside the box was tipped on to the post by former Aston Villa goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.
It was a difficult afternoon for Koumas, as grit rather than guile was the order of the day against a side starting to fight for survival.
Consequently, not even the goal could save him from an early exit and he duly noted his displeasure as he came off, something Mowbray brushed aside, given the nature of the game.
"We were going to make the substitution anyway," he said . "It’s always a dilemma for the manager whether you leave your most creative footballer out there while you’re searching for a goal or whether to go down a different route.
"But it was a little bit frustrating as he was not receiving the ball as much. When he’s got the ball at his feet, we’ve never got any doubts about what he can create.
"He created a fabulous goal. We brought him off at 1-0 and we added some more stability to the midfield [in the shape of Zoltan Gera] and thought we saw the game out pretty comfortably."
Albion were helped by the fact that Hull were forced to play the final 15 minutes with ten men, after substitute Ryan France was carried off with the Tigers having used all their changes.
But that wasn’t why it was so comfortable. It was because Albion showed they have more strings to their bow than the neat, attractive football they usually turn out, which has by and large been their undoing on the road.
Albion played the best football of the two sides, but what was also required was a substantial dose of steel; they had that, too.
The back line had it in buckets, given they were faced with the triple challenge of Nicky Forster, Dean Windass and Jon Parkin.
Albion had to be strong and they were, even if these Tigers are particularly toothless at the moment.
Ex-Birmingham City striker Forster had their best moments, twice forcing Kiely into action during their dominant spell midway through the first half.
But Albion were largely unruffled and could have made the game a lot easier had Kevin Phillips not had an aberration in front of goal after 12 minutes, when he side-footed wide from eight yards with just Myhill to beat.
Ellington, introduced on the hour for the first time since having his transfer request accepted at the start of January, had an opportunity late in the day but saw two close-range headers palmed away by Myhill, who then had the reflexes to save from Richard Chaplow.
Mowbray was not overly concerned. "We’ve scored plenty over the last couple of months and we’re happy with one if it gets us the points," he said. "There’s going to be some days when you’ve got to do that and fight your corner."
Scorer: Kamara (60)
HULL (4-3-3): Myhill; Ricketts, Dawson, Turner, Delaney; Marney (France, h-t), Ashbee, Livermore; Windass (Elliott, 54), Forster, Parkin (Bridges, 70). Substitutes: Duke, Coles.
ALBION (4-4-2): Kiely; McShane, Robinson, Curtis, Clement; Koren, Chaplow, Greening, Koumas (Gera, 61); Kamara (Carter, 90), Phillips (Ellington, 61). Substitutes: Zuberbuhler, Hodgkiss.
Referee: I Williamson (Berkshire).
Bookings: Hull - Ricketts (foul), Ashbee (foul); Albion - Greening (foul).