Ellis scored twice and set up the other two goals for Lee Aschroft and Lee Cartwright in the 4-2 win at Boothferry Park.
It was the first time North End had scored four goals in an away game since beating Burnley 4-1 in 1986.
Bearing in mind PNE had struggled early season and Hull went into this midweek contest in the top four, it was some result.
Small wonder Lilywhites boss Les Chapman sported a big grin afterwards, citing the win as a ‘victory for football’.
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Unfortunately it was the last win Chapman enjoyed in charge of North End and by the end of that month he had been sacked.
This game came to life very early on and never let up, the first chance falling Hull’s way when Neil Allinson sprang North End’s offside trap but saw his shot saved by keeper Simon Farnworth.
The visitors went in front in the 14th minute after they were awarded a free-kick on the wing.
Ashcroft delivered it into the box, Hull defender Paul Hunter tried to head clear but succeeded only in steering it into the path of Ellis.
On the edge of the six-yard box, Ellis swivelled and shot past keeper Alan Fettis.
North End went looking for a second, with Ellis and Mark Leonard going close.
But in the space of three minutes just before half-time they conceded twice and went in behind at the break.
In the 42nd minute, Mike Flynn in trying to clear a cross succeeded only in sending a bullet of a header into the roof of his own net.
Then Hull winger Leigh Jenkinson rifled a left-foot shot past Farnworth and into the net via the underside of the bar.
However, North End were to restore parity within 68 seconds of the start of the second half.
Martin James’ free-kick skimmed off Allison and fell to Ellis who reacted quickly to find the net from close range.
John Tinkler saw a shot from distance tipped over the bar by Fettis.
At the other end, it needed a fine save from Farnworth to turn Hunter’s header over the bar.
North End found another gear to go into and went on to score twice to the delight of a decent number of travelling fans who had made the trip to Humberside.
In the 73rd minute, Ellis turned provider after his two earlier goals.
He threaded a fine pass through for Ashcroft to chase down the left side.
Ashcroft cut inside into the box and calm as you like, guided a low shot beyond the reach of Fettis.
The fourth goal arrived in stoppage time as North End countered in some style.
Cartwright got possession in his own half and drove up the pitch at a good pace.
He found Ellis with a pass and then took the return ball from the striker.
As Cartwright got into the box, he slotted a low shot past Fettis and into the bottom corner of the net.
Boss Chapman could not have been happier as he gave his thoughts on the game.
“I thought Tony Ellis was magnificent, he could have scored five,” said Chapman.
“And Lee Ashcroft played like a world beater.
“I’m a firm believer in playing good football and in my opinion the result was a victory for football.
“I was proud of them all out there, they put on a great display and got their rewards with the win.”