29th July 2016, 23:29 | ChallengeCup
Hull hit back to defeat Wigan and reach Challenge Cup final
Hull remain on course for the treble after overcoming Wigan in an action-packed Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium to secure their place at Wembley.
The Airlie Birds, whose 7,000-strong army of fans outnumbered the Wigan supporters in the 10,488 crowd, trailed 8-2 early in the second half but turned the tie around with two tries in three minutes and were ultimately good value for their 16-12 victory.
Hull were inspired by skipper Gareth Ellis and half-back Marc Sneyd while there were major contributions from their overseas players Carlos Tuimavave, Mark Minichiello, Sika Manu and Mahe Fonua as they held off a late Wigan onslaught to clinch their 16th final appearance, with another chance to claim that elusive first Wembley victory.
An early 50-metre break from winger Fetuli Talanoa demonstrated Hull's attacking threat but Wigan's defence was up to the task throughout an absorbing first half.
The Warriors scored the only try of the first half from their first meaningful attack, stand-off George Williams unhinging the Hull defence with a dummy 20 metres out before using his pace and guile to take him all the way to the line.
Matty Smith's conversion made it 6-0 and it was a compliment to the Wigan defence that Hull opted to kick for goal on 24 minutes after Ben Flower had been pulled up for a high tackle on Chris Green.
Sneyd obliged with the penalty and Hull thought they had drawn level four minutes later when loose forward Ellis, having been put through a gap by Scott Taylor's pass out of the tackle, charged to the line and stretched out of Sam Tomkins' tackle only for both video referee Robert Hicks to agree with match official Ben Thaler that he grounded the ball short.
Wigan, too, were denied when winger Lewis Tierney's touchdown was disallowed for a forward pass while Hull failed to make the most of a break by winger Steve Michaels just before the break, when they trailed 6-2.
Try Time: Fetuli Talanoa scoring for Hull tonight
Wembley Way: Hull FC will play either Warrington or Wakefield
Smith stretched his side's lead to 8-2 with a penalty early in the second half but Hull finally found their scoring touch and turned the game on its head with two tries in three minutes from their wingmen.
Ellis came up with the initial spark for the first by keeping the ball alive and quick hands along the line enabled Michaels to touch down at the right corner.
Sneyd's touchline conversion levelled the scores and, after full-back Jamie Shaul narrowly failed to punish a handling error on his own line by Tomkins, Talanoa made his opposite number Dom Manfredi pay for dropping Sneyd's kick to the other corner with an easy try which put Hull in front for the first time on 51 minutes.
The immaculate Sneyd curled the conversion over from the other corner to make it 14-8 and, although Hull lost the strong-running Fonua, who was carried off on a stretcher following a lengthy stoppage for a head injury, they went two scores in front on the hour with a long-range Sneyd penalty.
The cushion proved invaluable when Williams, Wigan's best player, put second rower Willie Isa through a gap for a second try 10 minutes from the end, although Smith was wide with the conversion attempt and Hull were forced to endure some anxious moments before finally securing their victory.