Hull City 4 Watford 1 (Hull win 6-1 on agg): Barmby directs Hull down Wembley way
Thursday 15 May 2008
The KC Stadium hosted a pitch invasion and they played "London Calling" over the Tannoy as manager Phil Brown was soaked in champagne: Hull City have not had many great nights in their 104-year history but this was definitely one of them. Having never been to Wembley in that time nor played in England's top flight, one of those unwanted records was rectified in a crushing second-half performance.
And if Hull can overcome Bristol City at Wembley on Saturday week, the other record will fall, too. Hull will be led there by 34-year-old Nicky Barmby, the first time the former Everton and Tottenham player has been back there since England's last game under Kevin Keegan eight years ago.
Barmby scored the crucial goal last night. Having won 2-0 at Vicarage Road on Sunday, Hull were strangely nervy initially and Darius Henderson's 12th-minute goal gave Watford a lifeline and momentum. Anxiety poured down from the packed stands.
Only when Barmby dipped his head to nod in from a yard two minutes before the interval, did Hull reclaim Sunday's dominance. From Watford's perspective, that was one ugly goal featuring four headers; from Hull's it was beautiful.
"Nicky Barmby's goal meant that the whole dynamic of the half-time team-talk was changed," Brown said. "I was able to be more constructive because of that.
"At 1-0 down I was very concerned. I take my hat off to Aidy Boothroyd for that, for his attitude. It was 35 minutes before we even went into a challenge. But Barmby got the goal and we settled down and I was very proud of the second half. Powerful, but no one remembers beaten finalists, we still have a job to do."
Once Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill made a smart block to deny Tamas Priskin on the hour, the home side steadied and began to flood into the gaps created by Watford's chase. There was a visible difference in confidence and that engendered more coherent play. In the 70th minute substitute Caleb Folan made it 2-1 on the night to end all uncertainty, heading in Richard Garcia's perfect cross and Watford finally gave up when Henderson's 82nd-minute header was cleared off the line by Bryan Hughes.
After that Garcia danced through the disintegrating visiting defence to make it 3-1 and then another substitute, Nathan Doyle, got the benefit of a deflection to register Hull's fourth, make it 6-1 on aggregate and spark the pitch invasion.
Hull City (4-3-3): Myhill; Ricketts, Turner, Brown, Dawson; Garcia, Hughes, Ashbee; Barmby (Fagan, 72), Campbell (Doyle, 78), Windass (Folan, 64). Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Walton.
Watford (4-2-3-1): Lee; Mariappa, DeMerit, Bromby, Sadler; Eustace, Williamson; Smith, Ellington (Ainsworth, 78), McAnuff; Henderson. Substitutes not used: Poom (gk), Doyley, Priskin, O'Toole.
Referee: M Clattenburg (Tyneside).
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