Almost 24,000 fans packed inside the home of the Tigers to witness Phil Brown’s side book the Club’s first-ever trip to Wembley after securing a 6-1 aggregate triumph over the Hornets.
Watford – trailing 2-0 from the first leg – dominated the opening proceedings and grabbed the early goal they so desperately needed when Darius Henderson slotted home after just twelve minutes.
But Brown’s players showed great resilience and grabbed a crucial equaliser on the night two minutes before the interval that changed the course of the game. Michael Turner’s lofted header inexplicably drew Watford keeper Richard Lee out of position, allowing Richard Garcia to head towards goal and Nick Barmby raced in to make sure, nodding the ball over the line with a brave header.
The Tigers grabbed a deserved lead through substitute Caleb Folan on 70 minutes. Sam Ricketts raced down the right and provided a perfect cross for the substitute to plant an unstoppable header past Lee just seven minutes after being introduced into the action in place of Dean Windass.
Watford were understandably demoralised, and the play-off party and celebrations went up a notch when Garcia made it 3-1 two minutes from time, cutting through the visitors’ defence before firing home – ensuring joyous scenes on the pitch, in the stands and in the home dug-out.
And there was still time for another goal as Nathan Doyle’s shot was deflected past Lee with what was virtually the last kick of the game to cue scenes of jubilation from all inside the KCOM.
Reflecting on the win, Hull-born hero Barmby said: “We’re all delighted. We knew it would be difficult against Watford and when they scored we were a bit jittery. But my goal settled a few nerves. It will be great to go to Wembley with Hull. It will be really special.”