Hull City 5 Sheffield United 3 match report: Tom Huddlestone keeps FA Cup dream alive for Hull

Hull reach the FA Cup final for the first time in their history

WEMBLEY

It might not be much consolation to Sheffield United, who saw a 2-1 lead obliterated early in the second half, but they forced Hull City to produce their very best football in order to reach the FA Cup final. The 5-3 scoreline does justice to a compelling game but not as much to the efforts of Nigel Clough’s team, who dominated the first half before Hull finally woke up and started playing football.

“I’m certainly proud,” said Nigel Clough afterwards, “and that feeling will grow when we look back at what we’ve achieved, and that we were close to making history.”

There are 42 places in the leagues between Hull and Sheffield United, who would have been the first ever third-tier team to reach an FA Cup final had they won. The only way that could have happened was with United at their best and Hull at their worst – and that is precisely how the game went for the first 45 minutes.

Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final on Saturday showed the danger of top-flight complacency but Hull showed few obvious signs of having taken that in. They started the game at walking pace, almost as if they were still taking in the game at Anfield. With Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long cup-tied they did not have as much incisiveness up front as usual, but that does not excuse the lack of focus or control.

United out-ran and out-fought Hull for the whole of the first half, snapping into tackles, closing down spaces and showing for the ball, catching their opponents well off guard. When they took the lead, after 19 minutes, it was fully deserved. John Brayford took a short throw, received the return pass and whipped in a cross to the near post. Jose Baxter darted in front of Curtis Davies and bundled the ball in, before a poignant celebration in which the Liverpudlian kissed his black Hillsborough memorial armband.

 

Hull were rattled, United started to play with confidence and verve and their fans were cheering every pass. Even when Hull equalised, three minutes before the break, Yannick Sagbo turning in Jake Livermore’s perfect low cross, Sheffield United took it in their stride and went back in front before the break.

Jamie Murphy burst down the left, shook off Liam Rosenior and pulled the ball back. Hull, again, were sleeping, Stefan Scougall burst in between Davies and Maynor Figueroa and smacked the ball past Steve Harper.

“We were awful in the first half,” Bruce admitted. “I saw more mistakes in the first half-hour than I’ve seen in six months. We kept surrendering the ball, passing it back to them, we didn’t defend properly, didn’t pick up, didn’t do anything.”

It was Davies, not Bruce, who did the necessary at half-time. “I didn’t say much,” the manager added, “I just had a cup of tea. The b*********s were down to the captain, he was a proper captain.”

Matty Fryatt and Sone Aluko replaced Figueroa and George Boyd, and within three minutes Fryatt, who has started more games for Sheffield Wednesday this season than for Hull, drew them level at 2-2, turning in James Chester’s effort from two yards out after an uncleared corner.

Clough said that goal was the “killer blow” and Hull, woken up, started to play. Tom Huddlestone, the best player on the pitch, put them ahead by exchanging passes with David Meyler, shrugging off Michael Doyle with real authority and clipping the ball into the far corner.

The Hull fans were now ole-ing their passes. Bruce threw on Stephen Quinn and it only took him two minutes to score the fourth. Meyler slid a pass through to Livermore in the inside-right channel and Quinn nodded in the cross.

That should have been that but United would not go quietly and made added time more anxious than it ought to have been for Hull. Murphy volleyed Ryan Flynn’s header to make it 4-3, but United’s desperate pursuit of an equaliser only allowed Hull in on the break.

Ahmed Elmohamady set free Meyler, who confirmed Hull’s place in the final. United, meanwhile, have just five games left this season, but a message from Clough to take this feeling into next season.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam