Hull FC win nail-biting battle to keep top four race alive

After last week’s defeat to Wigan and with St Helens having two favourable fixtures coming up Hull simply had to win last night and they did but the result only tells half the story. Hull eventually came out on top 19-18 after a titanic battle at the KCOM. The home faithful were bidding farewell to Mahe Fonua, Steve Michaels and their captain Gareth Ellis and rather fittingly two of them got on the scoresheet.

Wakefield came out of the blocks flying and were much the better side early on. Their huge forwards were making metres for fun and Hull looked like rabbits caught in the headlights. This was understandable with the magnitude of the game but it’s something Lee Radford will want to see his side improve on next week.

Wakefield took the lead in the 11th minute with former FC player Joe Arundel strolling over in the corner. Liam Finn was unable to convert from the touchline so the visitors held a narrow 0-4 early lead.

Trinity were well in the ascendancy and extended their lead in the 21st minute. When the ball was kicked towards the post Hull fell asleep expecting the ball to roll dead but Jacob Miller was wide awake to the opportunity and grounded the ball just in time. Finn converted and suddenly the KCOM felt nervous as the visitors led 0-10.

Thankfully just 7 minutes later Hull were back in the game and the try was right out of the Black and Whites usual playbook. Marc Sneyd put up a pin point kick to the right hand corner, Mahe Fonua rose to meet it, came down with the ball and plonked it down in the corner as he has done so many times before. He will certainly be a huge miss for Hull next season. Sneyd converted to make it 6-10.

hull v wakey 2

Mahe Fonua waved goodbye to the KCOM with a try

Despite getting back into the game Hull still looked nervy and Wakefield exploited that. From a Hull attack Wakefield broke away up field thanks to Ben Jones-Bishop and a couple of tackles later they looked set to score until Jamie Shaul held onto Miller for far too long and was rightly sin binned. With a couple of minutes until the break Wakefield chose to take the two rather than try and score a try. Finn kicked the penalty to give Wakefield a 6-12 half time lead.

HT Hull FC 6-12 Wakefield Trinity

Hull started the second half well and saw out the 8 minutes with 12 men comfortably until Jamie Shaul was allowed to return. They levelled the scores in the 49th minute thanks to a brilliant individual try from Marc Sneyd. He danced his way through the line and sprinted 30m before managing to ground the ball despite Mason Caton-Brown’s best efforts. Sneyd converted under the sticks to lock the scores at 12-12

For the next twenty minutes the game hung in the balance. Hull kept completing sets but couldn’t find the right last tackle option and they were becoming frustrated especially when Danny Washbrook had a try disallowed for obstruction. In the 71st minute though a fairy-tale moment happened for Gareth Ellis.

The Hull Captain was playing his farewell game at the KCOM Stadium tonight so it was extremely fitting to see the legendary warhorse crash over from a Danny Houghton pass close to the line. The look on his face was priceless as he kicked the ball into the crowd in celebration! Marc Sneyd converted to make it 18-12

hull v wakey

Gareth Ellis on his way to the line

Hull were on top now and with 5 minutes to go Marc Sneyd stroked over a drop goal to seemingly seal the win. Wakefield had played brilliantly though and weren’t done yet. They got the ball back from the short kick off and were soon over in the corner through Mason Caton-Brown to set up a grandstand finish. Finn converted the try from the touchline to make it a one point ball game at 19-18.

Hull suddenly looked nervous again as their season was effectively hanging in the balance. Trinity stormed upfield and Liam Finn looked to level the game. Mark Minichiello had other ideas as he charged the drop goal down. The ball fell back to Wakefield though and with seconds left it was take two for Finn this time from bang in front 20m out. Again Minichiello busted a gut to put him under pressure and it was enough as Finn pulled his kick millimetres wide of the left hand post. Hull had held on!

FT Hull FC 19-18 Wakefield Trinity

What a game that was! With so much riding on it both clubs played their part and Hull did brilliantly to complete at 96% in the second half. Wakefield put up a real fight and have had a remarkable season but it’s Hull who are still fighting for a top four place and it’s likely they will have to win at Castleford to secure that.

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Ellis leaves the KCOM pitch for the final time through a Guard of Honour

 

 

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