Hull City advanced to the FA Cup final for the first time in the club's 110-year history, defeating Sheffield United 5-3 in a thrilling semi-final at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday.
Sheffield United led twice through first-half goals from Jose Baxter and Stefan Scougall. Hull equalised twice, through Yannick Sagbo and Matty Fryatt, before Tom Huddlestone gave the Tigers their first lead early in the second half.
Stephen Quinn made it 4-2 midway through the second half before Sheffield United pulled one back through Jamie Murphy in the 90th minute. With the Blades pushing for a late equaliser, David Meyler scored Hull's fifth in stoppage time to seal the victory.
"We were very sloppy in the first half and didn't get going," Meyler said, per Rob Harris of The Associated Press. "We got together at halftime and regrouped. It's fantastic."
Hull 5-3 Sheffield United FT: Shots(OT) 14(7) - 10(3), Possession 54% - 46%, Rating 7.15 - 6.54 http://t.co/0bieByzLe9— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 13, 2014
Hull will play Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley on 17 May. The Tigers, who are currently 13th in the Premier League table, have never won the FA Cup and have played in only one other semi-final, in 1930.
"All the pressure is on Arsenal," Hull City manager Steve Bruce said, per the AP. "They haven't won anything for years (since the 2005 FA Cup final). So it'll be a great occasion."
Coincidentally, Hull are set to host Arsenal in the Premier League next weekend in a preview of the final. Sheffield United, 11th in League One, last won the FA Cup in 1925. The Blades were bidding to become the first team from the third tier of English football to reach the FA Cup final in the Premier League era, as The Guardian's Dan Lucas noted.
Two divisions separated the teams at kick-off, but for much of the first half, Hull were second to their lower-league opponents. Sheffield United went ahead in the 19th minute when Baxter cut in ahead of his marker to finish John Brayford's cross from near the touchline at the near post.
Hull equalised in the 42nd minute with their first meaningful attack. Jake Livermore found space along the edge of the box and played a low cross into the middle for Sagbo, who finished high at the far post with his first touch.
Moments later, though, Sheffield United retook the lead. In the 44th minute, Murphy powered past Liam Rosenior on the left and pulled back from the byline for Scougall, who buried his first-time shot high past Steve Harper.
Trailing 2-1 at half-time, Hull's Premier League class showed in the second half as the Tigers quickly turned the game around. A second equaliser came in the 49th minute following Huddlestone's corner from the left. After the ball pinged around Sheffield United's box, Fryatt swept in to make it 2-2.
Fryatt put the ball in the net again moments later as Hull pushed for the go-ahead goal, but he was ruled offside and the goal did not count.
Hull only had to wait a few more minutes, though, as Huddlestone gave the Tigers their first lead in the 54th minute. After playing a one-two with Meyler outside the box, Huddlestone held off his marker, kept his composure in the box and curled into the net to make it 3-2.
It was 4-2 in the 67th minute. Meyler freed Livermore with an angled pass on the right before Livermore pulled back into the middle for Quinn. With his momentum carrying him away from goal, Quinn angled his header into the net at the far post.
The fourth goal took some of the fight out of Sheffield United, and Hull began to enjoy the greater share of possession. But just as Hull seemed comfortable, Murphy pulled a goal back for United in the closing moments.
Suddenly trailing by only a goal, the Blades seemed to fancy their chances to grab an unlikely equaliser. Instead, Hull grabbed a fifth goal in stoppage time, with Meyler lifting his finish over Mark Howard from Ahmed Elmohamady's angled pass.
|Sone Aluko (on 46')||N/A||8|
|Matty Fryatt (on 46')||N/A||7|
|Stephen Quinn (on 64')||N/A||7|
|Chris Porter (on 83')||N/A||6|
|Ben Davies (on 83')||N/A||6|
|Matthew Hill (on 90')||N/A||No rating|
Hull City host Arsenal next Sunday in the Premier League. Sheffield United host Stevenage on Friday in League One.