AFTER a bitter-sweet Wembley experience against Sheffield United last month, it was a case of deja vu for George Boyd on Saturday.
The 28-year-old was one of two Hull players who paid the price for the team’s poor collective first-half showing against the Blades in the semi-final on April 13, with he and Maynor Figueroa being substituted at the break with their opponents leading 2-1.
While the Tigers went on to claim glory in the all-Yorkshire FA Cup last-four clash, it was a different story on Saturday as their hopes of lifting the trophy for the first time in their history were dashed following a dramatic comeback from Arsenal.
Boyd, a player who started his footballing career in non-league circles at Stevenage, may be able to say in future years he has graced the hallowed turf in an FA Cup final after coming on as a substitute just before the end of the first period of extra-time for a hobbling Liam Rosenior.
But the bitter pill of defeat with Aaron Ramsey netting the decisive strike seven minutes after he entered the fray soured his experiences on the marquee domestic cup occasion in the English game, played in front of an audience of 89,345.
Boyd said: “It’s been a dream come true for me and it’s been an unbelievable year and hopefully that will continue next season.
“But it was devastating to lose in the end in the final.
“We were very proud to get in Europe for the first time in the club’s history, but it was so tough to lose, although we gave Arsenal a good game.
“It was an unbelieveable performance, but at the end of the day, we lost.”
Arsenal may have lifted the big prize, with Hull left to contemplate on what might have been. And while Steve Bruce’s side may have regrets as to how the game turned on its head, neither could their unstinting effort and application be questioned, with the Tigers short-changing their supporters in no way whatsoever.
The wounds for their playing staff may take a few more days to heal, but Boyd insists they can all look themselves in the mirror and say they gave their all in the final analysis.
Boyd said: “We left nothing in the changing room, but at the same time, you hate losing.
“There’s always Europe to look back on, but as a professional footballer, you always want to win and to be so close really hurts.
“It’s fresh at the minute, but I am sure in a few days we will look back on it and be proud of the way we played.”