Hull FC’s Betfred Challenge Cup journey came to an end at the MKM Stadium on Saturday afternoon, going down 32-18 to St Helens.
The Black & Whites fought valiantly having been reduced to twelve men at the end of the first-half with Josh Griffin being sent off, and remained in the battle with Paul Wellens men until the closing stages.
But a late flurry from the visitors secured their passage to the semi-finals, as the Airlie Birds bow out of the competition.
Tony Smith made two changes to the side that faced Leigh Leopards last weekend – Hull were boosted by the return of Chris Satae from a slight hamstring strain, who came onto the bench, but will missed star half-back Jake Clifford who sat out having failed a Head Injury Assessment last time out.
Clifford’s absence meant Tex Hoy moved to full-back, while Davy Litten came into the side to start in the number one spot – Jack Brown was the other player to drop out.
After enjoying the majority of possession and field position in the opening minutes, it was the Saints who opened the scoring after six as Joe Batchelor charged onto a short ball from Jack Welsby to power over. Makinson converted.
Saints were delta a blow when Mark Percival was withdrawn from the action with a head knock after a heavy collision with Brad Fash. Hull were penalised, and Makinson kicked the penalty from forty metres out.
FC were dealt their own blow on the 15 minute mark when Scott Taylor left the field with a serious looking lower arm injury.
Tony Smith’s men were soon off the mark though, as Josh Griffin went over for his seventh try in five games, supporting a superb Tex Hoy break from half-way. Sutcliffe was on target with the kick.
Hull hit the front on the 25 minute mark when Hoy was the creator once more – his cross-field kick was patted down by Darnell McIntosh, and Andre Savelio was there to clean up and score. Sutcliffe slotted over the goal from wide out.
Saints hit back to level the game though before the break, swinging the ball over to their right edge as Konrad Hurrell went over unopposed after several spells of Hull pressure. Lussick missed the kick, and it was twelve a-piece.
Tony Smith’s men were dealt a huge blow after the half-time hooter sounded, with Josh Griffin shown a yellow, and then a red card for dissent, seeing Hull reduced to twelve for the second-half.
Half-Time: Hull FC 12-12 St Helens
Saints made their man advantage count not long after the restart when Curtis Sironen powered over on their left side.
Hull fought valiantly despite the visitors advantage, but they went further ahead when Lewis Dodd touched down just shy of the hour mark. Tex Hoy did brilliantly to chase a Tee Ritson break, but the half went over under the sticks on the following play.
FC were gifted a try though with 13 minutes to play – Tee Ritson and Jack Welsby miscommunicated under a high-ball allowing Carlos Tuimavave to pick up and race for the corner – he sent the ball inside to Jake Trueman to dinish the move. Sutcliffe’s third successful kick made the gap six points.
But after giving themselves a chance to get back in the contest in the final ten minutes, the opportunity was quickly taken away when Welsby made up for his mistake by dancing through the FC line to score.
The game was sealed when James Bell raced over from distance with three minutes to play.
Full-Time: Hull FC 18-32 St Helens
Hull FC: Davy Litten, Adam Swift, LIam Sutcliffe, Carlos Tuimavave, Darnell McIntosh, Jake Trueman, Tex Hoy, Brad Fash, Danny Houghton, Scott Taylor, Josh Griffin, Andre Savelio, Joe Cator
Interchange: Ligi Sao, Chris Satae, Jordan Lane, Brad Dwyer
18th Man: Jack Brown
St Helens: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Konrad Hurrell, Mark Percival, Tee Ritson, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Curtis Sironen, Joe Batchelor, Morgan Knowles.
Interchange: Sione Mata’utia, Joey Lussick, Agnatius Paasi, James Bell
18th Man: Jon Bennison
Hull FC Tries: Griffin (15), Savelio (25), Trueman (68)
Hull FC Goals: Sutcliffe (3/3)
St Helens Tries: Batchelor (6), Hurrell (33), Sironen (44), Dodd (56), Welsby (69), Bell (77)
St Helens Goals: Makinson (2/2), Lussick (2/5)
Peregrine Property Man of the Match: Jake Trueman
Attendance, In Association with Garbutts: 8,127