Hull City 2-2 Arsenal
FA Cup semi-final, March 22, 1930. Elland Road.
Howieson, Hapgood o.g. (Hull). Jack, Bastin (Arsenal)

Probably Arsenal's most famous meeting with Hull City came at Elland Road at the semi-final stage of the 1930 FA Cup. Arsenal would go on to lift the Cup for the first time at Wembley a month later.

But they had to get past the Tigers first...

Hull were at the bottom of the Second Division and were relegated to the Third a month later. It was also their first FA Cup semi-final.

Quite what they were doing there was anyone's guess, but most knowing observers put it down to the wily management of Bill McCracken, the full-back who had perfected the offside game ten years before. All the interest was in the other semi-final between the two Yorkshire giants, Huddersfield Town and League Champions Sheffield Wednesday (between them they had won five of the seven most recent championships).

This was indeed to be a famous match; with Huddersfield leading 2-1 a Wednesday shot entered the net just as the whistle blew for full time. The referee disallowed the goal but many of the crowd went home not knowing whether there would be a replay or not.

Back at the supposedly less interesting semi-final at Elland Road, shocks were in store. After 15 minutes Dan Lewis cleared a ball from the edge of his area. It was a poor kick, travelling only 30 yards or so, and it went straight to the Hull inside left Howieson. He lobbed it straight back on the volley and it flew over Lewis' head into the net from a full 45 yards out.

After 30 minutes Eddie Hapgood sliced a Duncan shot into his own net and Arsenal were 2-0 down at half-time. In the second half, the goals just wouldn't come. And it was not until 20 minutes from the end that whichever gods control football ended their little joke.

Those last few minutes are among the most important in the Club's history, and they bear a remarkable similarity to the last minutes of the 1971 semi-final against Stoke City at Hillsborough, when the Gunners also came back from a 2-0 deficit with two Peter Storey goals and went on to perform the Double. In both 1930 and 1971, the semi-final result was vital to the history of the Club, just as vital as the finals themselves.

Firstly Alf Baker got Joe Hulme away on the wing, he crossed and David Jack finally defeated McCracken’s offside trap and converted the centre. Twelve minutes later Cliff Bastin picked up a ball from Alex James, took on the defenders in a solo run and hit the ball into the top right hand corner.

Bastin, the scorer, tells the story: 'I hadn't even touched the ball for 20 minutes and it was agony standing on that wing when we needed a goal that badly. Then Alex James gave me the ball. I took it past Mills, the Hull right-half, and cracked it in to the top right-hand corner of the net.'

Arsenal were unlucky not to get a third, but the teams met again for a midweek replay at Villa Park.

Hull seemed bitter about being robbed so late in the first game and the tackling was fierce. So much so that, in the second half, the Hull centre half Arthur Childs became the first (and for another 50 years the only) man to be sent off in a semi-final. He was despatched for taking a kick at Jack Lambert.

That was the end for Hull. Soon afterwards Joey Williams (taking the place of the injured Hulme) hared off down the right wing, pulled the ball back from the goal-line and David Jack connected with a right foot volley to score the game's only goal (pictured above).

Arsenal were at Wembley for the second time in four years, Huddersfield were there for the fourth time in a decade.

Arsenal Lewis, Parker, Hapgood, Baker, Seddon, Jones, Hulme, Jack, Lamberet, James, Bastin.

With thanks to "Arsenal - The official centenary history of Arsenal Football Club - By Phil Soar and Martin Tyler"

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
24 Sep 2008