SAINTS succumbed to the wounds of a dismal first-half showing as Hull City turned up for a 2-1 win at St Mary's.

Joe Aribo marked his first St Mary's appearance since reaching the final of AFCON with Nigeria with a late goal to surge Saints back into life.

However, the first-half notches from Anass Zaroury and Fabio Carvalho were enough to spell a rare home defeat for Saints.

It was their first loss here since September 19 and leaves Russell Martin's side fourth in the Championship table, with no game in hand.

In one of football's oddities, Tigers manager Liam Rosenior was playing the last time Saints were looking to win 10 last home league games in a row - against Hull.

That was in November 2011 and it was also the same referee that day, Oliver Langford, in a bizarre twist of irrelevant football fate.

The two bosses both made three changes to their starting sides, who were victorious in away games at West Brom and Huddersfield respectively. 

One of those, Joe Rothwell, should have opened in the first few minutes after Will Smallbone won the ball high up the pitch.

He pounced on a pass out from Ryan Allsop but the keeper denied Rothwell with what should have been his third Saints goal. 

Gavin Bazunu will not have been too pleased with the start of his 22nd birthday appearance, parrying straight to Zaroury for the opening goal.

The dangerous Jaden Philogene had the initial shot after it took Hull just a few passes to penetrate the box from a long-ball forward to Ryan Giles.

Philogene and Abdulkadir Omur both went close to adding the second in the opening exchanges but Saints were spared further punishment. 

There was plenty of emotional torment in a torrid first half, though, as Rosenior's side kept them penned in their own half and panicking. 

There were enormous appeals for a blatant Lewie Coyle handball in the box but Hull avoided a penalty as Taylor Harwood-Bellis was punished for a push.

Martin had seen enough and arranged for a triple-substitution during the interval, with Che Adams, David Brooks and Joe Aribo all called for. 

Saints immediately improved but came no closer to goal than a Ryan Manning snapshot in the area before Martin made his fourth change. 

Aribo, fifth substitute Kamaldeen Sulemana and Adams all had shots inside the area blocked before they could threaten Allsop. 

Aribo reacted fast to prod one into the hands of the stopper after some good work down the left to feed him. 

It was the Nigerian who did finally get on the scoresheet in the 88th minute, powering in from inside the area after Adams could not force it through a crowd. 

The fourth official signalled for six minutes of added time, in which Saints desperately tried to speed up their play - but it was to no avail. 

Saints: Bazunu; Walker-Peters, Harwood-Bellis, Bednarek, Manning; Smallbone, Rothwell (Aribo, h-t), S Armstrong (Kamaldeen, 70); A Armstrong (Brooks, h-t), Edozie (Fraser, 57), Mara (Adams, h-t). 

Unused subs: Lumley, Stephens, Charles, Dibling.

Booked: Walker-Peters.

Hull City: Allsop; Coyle, Giles, Greaves, Jones, Philogene (McLoughlin, 90), Seri (Morton, 63), Slater, Carvalho (Traore, 82), Zaroury (Jacob, 82), Omur (Tufan, 63)

Unused subs: Pandur, Docherty, Sharp, Connolly.

Booked: Jones.

Referee: Oliver Langford. 

Attendance: 26,834.