It was a typical Manchester United performance at the KC Stadium. The opposition were granted an auspicious head-start, there was a spirited comeback, a tense finale and a winning outcome. "We don't make it easy for ourselves," Sir Alex Ferguson used to say.
United have been making comebacks since the club was served a winding-up order in 1902, whereas in the last two decades, the majority of them have come on the pitch during Ferguson's era. And on Boxing Day David Moyes belatedly experienced what it truly means to be a United manager.
Hull City went 2-0 ahead and their lead was extinguished in as many minutes as it took James Chester and David Meyler to give them the lead. United didn't leave it as late as yesteryear, as Chester, who was at Old Trafford for 13 years in his youth, put through his own net to make it only the second time United have recorded three success Premier League victories.
Moments before Chester inadvertently beat teammate Steve Harper, Alex Bruce, who also grew up with United around him thanks to his father's allegiance, had hit the crossbar. The drama was far from over.
In stoppage-time, the struggling Antonio Valencia received a second yellow card and United were forced to see out four minutes with 10 men. Chester, in a desperate attempt to atone for his mistake, found himself one-on-one with David de Gea thanks to George Boyd's perceptive pass. The Spaniard denied him brilliantly.
It was a breathless start to the much revered Boxing Day fixtures. As if to further highlight how congested this season is, United are now, surreally and temporarily, five points off the summit despite suffering five League defeats this campaign.
Their start was disastrous, though. Moyes has received criticism for heralding literally all 11 men back to defend corners, yet Chester still managed to volley home from close range on four minutes. It should not have actually been a corner, but the defending - particularly from the dithering Evra up against Curtis Davies - was amateurish.
David Meyler then offered a contender for flukiest goal of the season nine minutes later when he scuffed the ball onto his standing left leg, which was diverted past the stunned De Gea by Jonny Evans. However, if anyone should be wary of a United comeback, it is Steve Bruce.
Moyes enjoyed one of his sweetest days as United manager at Hull
Moyes's introduction of Adnan Januzaj could, in time, prove to be a turning point. Rafael da Silva's substitution might have been enforced due to an apparent groin injury, but Moyes chose the Belgian over Da Silva's twin full-back, Fábio, as Valencia moved into defence. It was bold, attacking and very Manchester United. Moyes was always going to have to change to succeed at Old Trafford and, while reluctant so far, showed a flicker of adventurousness which instantly benefitted his team.
Januzaj drew a near-immediate foul from the fretful Maynor Figueroa and Smalling guided in Rooney's brilliant delivery. In the past, the comeback would have been inevitable because it was Ferguson on the touchline urging his team forward, although that aura has inevitably dissipated in the Scot's wake. United didn't disappoint their boisterous followers, though, and Rooney linked up with Danny Welbeck for the umpteenth time to smash a swerving volley past Allan McGregor. It was such an admirable strike a Hull fan behind the goal applauded the England international.
An Andy Dawson own goal separated both teams four years ago at the KC and this time it was Chester, at the same end, who gifted United the lead three-quarters of the way through the match.
Moyes's United had come from behind to triumph before, against Sunderland and Stoke, yet he was yet to enjoy (or rather, endure) a revival from a two-goal deficit. In October, he said he was "still getting to know" the club, which sounded inexcusable. The same soundbite could be excused today.