A stubborn City display provoked a subdued atmosphere at a previously buoyant KC Stadium.
With Hull closing in on reclaiming their place in the top flight, a confident home crowd were rocking before kick-off, but a disciplined performance from the unfancied visitors leaves their promotion party on hold.
Sean O’Driscoll made one change in personnel and one change in formation to his side mathematically relegated by a 1-0 home defeat to Birmingham City in midweek.
Richard Foster replaced Paul Anderson for his first start in two months as City opted to match their high-flying hosts with a back three.
The Tigers were hungry for the win that would put them on the brink of a Premier League return, and Matty Fryatt was given space inside the penalty area straight away but dallied on the ball and saw the chance slip by.
George Boyd then saw a shot blocked by Matthew Bates in another amber raid, but City soon grew into the contest.
Having forced the game’s first corner after ten minutes, Neil Kilkenny’s wicked cross towards the back post was met by Steven Davies, but the striker’s header was deflected behind with Hull keeper David Stockdale clutching at thin air.
Perhaps the prize of victory was weighing heavily on the shoulders of the Hull players, but the hosts were surrendering plenty of possession and needed a speculative 25-yard shot wide of the post from Robbie Brady to inject some life into their display midway through the first half.
Still City were not coming under undue pressure, with the home fans resorting to optimistic appeals for a penalty when skipper Lewin Nyatanga eased out Egyptian striker Gedo in the box with little more than regulation shoulder to shoulder contact.
Then a Foster mistake was seized upon by Brady, who surged into the area but declined the opportunity to shoot. Instead his attempted cross was cleared by Brendan Moloney only as far as Stephen Quinn, who drove the ball high into the pocket of travelling fans behind Tom Heaton’s goal.
Hull attacks were becoming gradually more regular and threatening, and a Quinn cross was soon headed over the crossbar by Boyd, albeit by a couple of yards.
The second half began in similarly nervy fashion for Steve Bruce’s side, who allowed Albert Adomah
the chance to exchange passes with Davies and run at the back four.
When the winger’s attempted through ball for Sam Baldock was cut out, Adomah struck the loose ball first time on his left foot but straight into the arms of Stockdale from 20 yards.
City were beginning to enjoy themselves, and Davies controlled a long ball before sending a low delivery across the six-yard box at pace that Stockdale could only parry, but no red shirt was waiting to pounce, and the blushes of the on loan Fulham keeper were spared.
By the hour mark the home fans were getting restless. Adomah capitalised on a misplaced pass in midfield before showing a clean pair of heels to two defenders only to send another effort down the throat of Stockdale from the edge of the area.
Bruce waited until the final quarter to shuffle his pack, replacing front two Gedo and Fryatt with Jay Simpson and Nick Proschwitz, but City responded with another half-chance of their own, as Foster let fly with a 25-yarder that just skidded past Stockdale’s right-hand post.
Moving into the final ten minutes, Hull were getting desperate. Quinn threw himself to the floor under the challenge of Greg Cunningham, but again loud appeals were more in hope than expectation.
The 98 travelling City fans nearly had their hearts broken in the second of four added minutes, but Heaton saved heroically from Quinn to leave a sense of missed opportunity in the air on Humberside.