Ramsey grabs winner as Arsenal come from two down to beat Hull in FA Cup final
19:38 17 May 2014
Arsenal 3 Hull City 2 (aet)
Aaron Ramsey grabbed an extra-time winner as Arsenal fought back from an abysmal start to clinch their first trophy in nine years.
The Gunners’ long drought since they won the FA Cup in 2005 looked set to continue after they found themselves 2-0 down inside eight minutes at Wembley Stadium.
Santi Cazorla netted a free-kick in response to those early goals from Hull defenders James Chester and Curtis Davies – but Arsene Wenger’s side were still trailing with 20 minutes to go.
However, Laurent Koscielny scrambled the equaliser and the Gunners dominated in extra time, with Ramsey’s decisive goal completing the fightback and securing a joint record 11th FA Cup success for the north Londoners.
Arsenal had barely touched the ball when the Tigers snatched the lead in the third minute as Ahmed Elmohamady raced down the right and won a corner, which was swung to the edge of the box.
Tom Huddlestone was waiting there to unleash a volley and the Gunners defence resembled statues as Chester casually flicked the ball beyond the dive of Lukasz Fabianski to trickle inside the far post.
That should have acted as a wake-up call for Arsenal – but they seemed dazed and powerless to prevent Steve Bruce’s side from doubling their lead five minutes later.
Huddlestone’s free-kick was half-cleared to Stephen Quinn, who danced away from Mikel Arteta and delivered the ball back into the centre, where Alex Bruce’s header crashed against the post and sat up for Davies, who gleefully rammed the rebound into the unguarded net.
It almost got even worse for the Gunners soon afterwards as Hull won another corner and Bruce again sent a towering header towards the far post, but the ball was nodded clear by Kieran Gibbs.
However, Arsenal pulled a goal back with their first genuine attack on 17 minutes. Bruce felled Cazorla 25 yards out and the Spaniard got up to curl in a free-kick that Allan McGregor could only tip onto the bar and over the line.
Hull survived a couple of close calls as Lukas Podolski’s low cross narrowly failed to pick out Mesut Ozil and then, later in the first half, a thumping drive from Podolski took a deflection and spun over the bar.
But it was the underdogs who went in with a deserved 2-1 lead at half-time and they were the first to threaten after the restart, with Huddlestone arrowing a left-foot effort just over the bar.
The Hull midfielder was fortunate to escape punishment when he seemed to hold back Olivier Giroud inside the penalty area, but the Gunners were still unable to forge any clear chances and Wenger gambled by sending on Yaya Sanogo with half an hour remaining.
Ten minutes later, Sanogo turned Giroud’s cross into the side netting – and the corner that was incorrectly awarded led to Arsenal’s salvation as
Cazorla’s cross bounced off a clutch of heads and fell for Koscielny, who swivelled to turn it over the line.
The Gunners squandered a glorious opportunity to go in front when Sanogo wriggled free and squared for the unmarked Gibbs, who had time to take a touch before blazing over from eight yards out.
And soon afterwards Sanogo’s header was half-cleared to Giroud, who caught his volley cleanly but was foiled by a diving save from McGregor – his first of the game.
The roles were reversed in the closing stages of normal time as Giroud teed up Sanogo, whose attempt fizzed inches wide of the post, and then McGregor sprawled to keep out a shot on the turn from Arsenal’s top scorer.
Having created little in the first 70 minutes, the Gunners continued to initiate plenty in the first extra 15, with Giroud’s header hitting the bar and Ramsey going close on three separate occasions.
But the pressure finally told three minutes into the second period as Ramsey played a ball forward to Sanogo and Giroud back-heeled it for the Welshman to clip a deft finish past McGregor with the outside of his boot.
There was a late scare as Hull substitute Sone Aluko sped clear on the flank and evaded Fabianski, but his ball from a tight angle sailed across goal and the Gunners breathed again as their long wait for silverware finally came to an end.
Arsenal: Fabianski; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey; Cazorla (Rosicky 105), Ozil (Wilshere 105), Podolski (Sanogo 61); Giroud.