West Brom 4 Hull City 2 - Report and pictures
Matheus Pereira registered a hat-trick of assists - but Albion didn't have it all their own way - as they ran out 4-2 winners over Hull.
In a frantic and open clash at The Hawthorns, birthday boy Charlie Austin put the Baggies on the path to victory when he fired in after just four minutes.
Hull levelled through Kevin Stewart before Ahmed Hegazi, who was later sent off, put Albion back in front.
A frantic 60 seconds shortly after the interval then saw the visitors pull level through Malik Wilks before Kamil Grosicki then restored Albion's lead against his former side.
And the game continued to be like a basketball match from that point with Albion only going on to secure the points through a 76th-minute strike from substitute Grady Diangana.
Having been thrilled with his team’s second half display at Sheffield Wednesday, Bilic was always likely to name a similar side to the one that impressed at Hillsborough.
And that proved to be the case with the boss opting to make just one change from the team that ran out comfortable winners in Yorkshire.
Up against his former employers, Grosicki came in for his first Baggies start since his January move with Diangana the man to make way.
It meant Albion continued in a 4-3-3 formation with Grosicki on the left wing, Pereira on the right and Austin as the central striker.
In midfield, Filip Krovinovic and Rekeem Harper continued to partner Romaine Sawyers.
Hull, under the guidance of Grant McCann, lined up in a 4-2-3-1 system.
It saw Jon Toral operate just behind Josh Magennis in the number 10 role, while Martin Samuelsen on the right flank and Makil Wilks on the left.
The Tigers entered the game having secured their win in 15 outings against Middlesbrough last time out.
It was Albion though - full of confidence from their win at Wednesday - who flew out the blocks with Bilic’s men needing just four minutes to open the scoring.
The goal arrived after Pereira whipped in a cross that should have been straight forward for Stewart to clear.
But the defender only succeeded in diverting the ball into the path of Austin who took it on his chest before firing past George Long.
To Hull’s credit, they responded well to falling behind.
They almost got themselves back on terms when Magennis rose highest to meet a corner only to see his header blocked on the line by Hegazi.
That, though, was just a warning for what was about to come with Albion struggling to deal with the visitor's threat from set-plays.
And from another corner, Hull pulled level when George Honeyman’s delivery was only half-cleared with Stewart then atoning for his earlier error by firing in.
From that point, the game became fairly even until the Baggies restored their lead in the 37th minute.
Again it was a corner that did the damage with Pereira’s delivery powerfully headed in by Hegazi.
With their tails up, Bilic’s side were rampant for the rest of the half and created numerous chances to extend their advantage.
They almost grabbed a third following a swift counter-attack that started with a fantastic ball from Austin which sent Grosicki charging down on goal.
The Poland international then squared for Pereira who looked destined to side-foot the ball home.
But a lung-bursting run from Jordy De Wijs allowed the defender to slide in and turn the ball over his own crossbar to deny a certain goal.
Undeterred, Albion continued to press with a lovely ball from substitute Conor Townsend- who had replaced the injured Kieran Gibbs - allowing Grosicki to get the byline.
He picked out Harper with a pin-point cut-back. But from 15-yards the midfielder side-footed over when he really should have scored.
Then in first-half stoppage time, Krovinovic fed Pereira in the box but the Brazilians low drive was kept out by the foot of Geroge Long.
It looked as though those missed chances had been costly when Hull again pulled level just three minutes after the re-start.
After some good build-up play, Leo Da Silva Lopes sent in a cross which Wilks powerfully headed beyond the reach of Johnstone and into the net.
Yet incredibly, Albion restored their lead within 60 seconds when a pass that can only be described as majestic from Pereira split Hull’s defence and sent Grosicki through on goal.
And the 32-year-old kept his composure to roll the ball past Long and into the corner of the net.
The craziness wasn’t over, however, with Hull having a glorious chance to pull level just moments later.
A mazy run from Wilks saw him carry the ball past both Sawyers and Hegazi as if they weren’t there before entering the box.
But on the angle, just eight-yards out, the winger then fired over when he really should have scored.
In a bid to give his team some fresh legs, Bilic made a double change just past the hour mark with Jake Livermore and Hal Robson-Kanu replacing Sawyers and Austin.
Yet the game continued to be like a basketball match with both teams flying forward.
Hull threatened again when Johnstone did well to tip over a fierce Jon Toral strike from 20-yards.
But the keeper was then forced into an even better stop when Toral latched onto a Da Silva cut-back.
Just eight-yards out, the midfielder drilled a fierce effort at goal.
But at full-stretch, a diving Johnstone managed to spectacularly tip the ball over the bar.
It wasn’t until the 76th minute that Albion put the game to bed, thanks to a lovely individual goal from substitute Diangana.
After collecting the ball just inside the area, the West Ham loanee danced past two challenges before arrowing a low drive which clipped the inside of the post before nestling into the back of the net.
Back with a two-goal cushion, the Baggies' confidence began to show with the likes of Pereira and Diangana full of flicks of tricks.
In stoppage time, however, the hosts reduced to 10-men when Hegazi picked up a second yellow card for a late challenge on Wilks.
Nevertheless, it was Albion who took the points with the result restoring their five-point cushion over Brentford in the Championship’s automatic promotion slots.
Albion (4-3-3): Johnstone, O’Shea, Bartley, Hegazi, Gibbs (Townsend 36), Sawyers (Livermore 62), Krovinovic (Brunt 72), Harper (Diangana 72), Grosicki, Pereira, Austin (Robson-Kanu 62).
Subs not used: Bond, Furlong, Ajayi, Robinson.
Hull: Long, De Wijs, Burke, Stewart (Batty 73), Toral (Scott 90), Honeyman, Pennington, Megennis (Eaves 66), Da Silva, Samuelsen (Lewis-Potter 46), Wilks.
Subs not used: Ingram, Tafazolli, MacDonald, McLoughlin, Jones.
Referee Oliver Langford