Halford keeps his shirt on but Hull get the message

Sheffield United 1 Hull City 1
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The Independent Online

Footballers have had many motives when pulling up their tops to reveal hidden T-shirts. They have supported striking workers (Robbie Fowler). They have thanked fans for support in troubled times (Frank Lampard). They have even been employed to abuse their rivals (Paul Tait's S*** on the Villa effort).

But they have never until Saturday's fifth-round tie at Bramall Lane been used for naked advertising. Thankfully, when Greg Halford (pictured) scored after seven minutes in this Yorkshire derby, he did not pull up his Sheffield United top to reveal a Pizza Express two-for-one offer but to advertise a record company in which he is a major investor. The FA may take a dim view of this, but Halford claimed he had asked the referee, Andre Marriner, before kick-off "and he said it was perfectly all right. But I didn't take the shirt off to give a full view because I am on four bookings."

There are not many 24-year-olds who would invest much of their salary in RandR World, a small record company founded by Eric Nicoli, the one-time head of EMI, and Paul Rose, a schoolboy friend of Halford's who reached the last 16 of Pop Idol.

But there are not many full-backs who, on being told they would be employed as an emergency centre-forward on the grounds that Sheffield United were so racked by injury that they could not actually fill their bench, would don a T-shirt in the expectation that they would score. He ended the match as a centre-back and would also have gone in goal if required. He thought he ought to play in central midfield, too.

It is perhaps unsurprising that one of the reasons why Halford is on a season-long loan from Sunderland is that this garrulous, confident lad and Roy Keane, the former Black Cats manager, detested one another.

Kamil Zayatte headed in Andy Dawson's curling free-kick after 34 minutes and the game petered out into a draw in the second half, ensuring a replay neither team wanted. After this frenetic draw, the Hull captain, Dean Marney, was asked whether he would be happy finishing fourth-bottom and reaching the FA Cup final, and replied: "You'd have to ask the gaffer." A rubbish answer, but one that would have met with Keane's approval.

Goals: Halford 1-0 (7); Zayatte 1-1 (34).Sheffield United: (4-4-2) Kenny; Sun Jihai (Naughton 60), Morgan (Webber 31), Kilgallon, Naysmith; Cotterill, Montgomery, Hendrie (Howard 73), Quinn; Halford, Sharp. Substitutes not used: Bennett (gk), Howard, Walker.

Hull City: (4-4-1-1) Myhill; Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson; Mendy (France 87), Marney, Zayatte, Garcia (Manucho 79); Geovanni (Barmby 73); Folan. Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Doyle, Barmby, France, Halmosi, Feathestone, Manucho.

Booked: Hull City Mendy, Turner, Garcia.

Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands).

Man of the match: Halford .

Attendance: 22,283.

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