BLOODSTAINED hero David Mirfin epitomised the never-say-die character which should see Town back in the Second Division in 12 days' time.
Clattered by teammate Efe Sodje in only the 13th minute, Mirfin shook off bouts of concussion and belts of pain to be Town's commanding performer in the red-hot atmosphere of the KC Stadium on Saturday.
It was further proof that manager Peter Jackson has an emerging star on his hands, because Town fell well below their best footballing standard and came under heavy bombardment at times as Hull sought the win they needed to guarantee promotion.
That the home fans went away frustrated owed much to the determination of a Town team containing six players at 22 years of age or younger, much to the brilliance of keeper Paul Rachubka on two crucial occasions and much to the bravery of Mirfin.
Playing with his head heavily bandaged and after spending half time having nine stitches in a nasty gash - Sodje had 10 in two separate eye wounds - Mirfin seemed ubiquitous whenever Hull launched a cross into the box.
It was no mean achievement, because big Ben Burgess was a massive aerial threat while Danny Allsopp proved a livewire in some dangerous build-up play for Peter Taylor's men.
While John McAliskey missed Town's best chance from close range just seven minutes into the second half - Andy Booth doing superbly to knock back Anthony Lloyd's back-post cross - it was Hull who won the contest in terms of territory and possession.
How Rachubka kept out Stuart Elliott's stooping 24th-minute header when diving low to his right will remain a mystery for a long time, but he reacted equally well in the second minute of stoppage time at the end to save from Junior Lewis when the big centre midfielder had promotion seemingly stamped on his forehead.
It meant a sixth clean sheet in 11 starts for the Charlton loanee, who was relieved to see Allsopp's angled drive from a Burgess pass on 54 minutes drift inches past his righthand post.
Rachubka's fine block on Burgess just five minutes later resulted in the burly frontman being helped from the pitch, while Mirfin was on hand to clear from two dangerous attacks before Andy Holdsworth slid in to prevent Green converting from a driven low cross.
It was high pressure stuff lapped up by both sets of fans who, at times, produced deafening noise in support of their respective causes.
Town's near-4,000 following were particularly vociferous after a promising start in which Tony Carss drilled a free-kick just over the bar, Jon Worthington miscued a left-foot volley from the edge of the box and McAliskey swivelled onto a volley which he skied high and wide.
The clash of heads between Mirfin and Sodje then disrupted Town - Booth went into defence for a testing few minutes - and Hull mounted strong pressure in which Lewis had a header ruled out for pushing.
McAliskey underlined Town pride, however, by chasing 40 yards to block a clearance from Andy Dawson and it was the visitors who started the second half with more purpose and power.
Keeper Boaz Myhill did well to punch an inswinging Danny Schofield corner off the line under pressure from Booth, while McAliskey had that close-range chance which was Town's best.
Town's magnificent following of fans did their best to keep weary players going, however, as Hull responded with a long spell of attacking pressure.
Town defended too deep, but each time the ball went in the box, there was someone defending with life and limb.
Inspiring stuff all round from Mirfin, Sodje and Steve Yates, who did a solid marking job on the lively Allsopp, while the midfield trio stuck to their guns despite playing second fiddle to the eager home engine room.
Town are nothing if not spirited, though, and the reception they got after being drawn into a huddle by Jackson after the final whistle must have been heard across the Humber.
I doubt whether Sodje will ever forget his emotional and rousing send-off either - he misses the last two matches with Schofield through suspension - and it was a nice touch that someone threw him a Nigerian flag to mark his contribution to a first campaign for Town.
Four points from two matches? With this sort of commitment, there's no doubt.
HOW THEY RATED:
Paul Rachubka Another clean sheet and two fantastic saves to deny Elliott and, in the final minute, Lewis as Town held firm Rating: 8/10
Andy Holdsworth Didn't have the scope to get into full attacking mode but stuck to his defensive duties with commendable grit Rating: 7/10
Anthony Lloyd Had his work cut out to keep Green at bay but supplied a couple of decent crosses for Booth to work with Rating: 7/10
David Mirfin Tremendous display from the 19-year-old who suffered cuts and concussion and yet led the defensive rearguard Rating: 9/10
Efe Sodje Suffered two gashes around an eye but still gave a solid display to round off his season in true battling fashion Rating: 8/10
Steve Yates Some excellent tackles and clearing headers and the man he was marking, Allsopp, was eventually taken off Rating: 8/10
Danny Schofield Not his most productive game to round off the season before a ban, but did his share of grafting for the team Rating: 7/10
Jon Worthington Crunched through his usual stack of tackles but it was hard going for Town in the centre, where Hull had the edge Rating: 7/10
Tony Carss Drilled an early free kick over the top and then suffered a knock. He was always under pressure on the ball Rating: 7/10
Andy Booth Teed up one great chance for McAliskey and shone defensively, especially while Sodje was off the pitch Rating: 8/10
John McAliskey Worked really hard once again and had a great chance to score just after half time which he missed out on Rating: 8/10
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MAN OF THE MATCH: David Mirfin
Just outstanding at the back despite playing with a bandaged head after a collision with teammate Efe Sodje in the 13th minute. Won countless headers. Brilliant.
While he saved superbly from Lewis in stoppage time, Rachubka's fine one-handed parry to deny a stooping header from Elliott on 23 minutes kept Town level at a vital time.
Subs used: Hull: France for Burgess 61, Allsopp for Walters 76. Town: None.
Subs not used: Hull: Musselwhite, Forrester, Hinds. Town: Senior, Edwards, Hughes, Scott, Harkins.
Referee: Paul Danson (Leicester).
Bookings : None.
Shots on target: Hull 4, Town 2.
Corners: Hull 7, Town 5.
Caught offside: Hull 0, Town 4.
Free-kicks awarded: Hull 12, Town 13.
Attendance: 23,495 (Away: 3,844).