Hull FC secured their spot in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup with a hard fought 24-13 win against the Catalan Dragons at the Stade Gilbert Brutus
In an error-strewn game played in blistering heat in the south of France Hull took the lead after 20 minutes with a try from Shannon McDonnell before Eloi Pelissier scored for the home side.
The Dragons took the lead with a drop goal from Scott Dureau but a Danny Tickle penalty gave FC an 8-7 lead at half time.
Catalan stormed out of the blocks after the restart with a try from Morgan Escare, but tries from wingers Tom Lineham and Tom Briscoe secured Hullís first win for five matches.
McDonnell scored his second try of the match with the last possession of the game leaving just 80 minutes between Hull FC and the Challenge Cup final.
The black and whites started the brighter of the two sides after forcing an early goal-line drop out but the Dragons looked to have scored first through Damien Blanch after McDonnell dropped Dureaís bomb. But video referee Steve Ganson disallowed the try after Escare was found to be offside in the build-up.
Both sides made bad mistakes with each team knocking on in the humidity generated by the heat in the south of France with much of the play taking place in the middle of the pitch.
Despite the mistakes, Hull managed to score the first points of the game after 20 minutes. FC attacked the line and spread the ball out to McDonnell, the half back darted through a gap and forced his way through three defenders to put the ball down next to the posts.
McDonnell conceded a knock-on immediately from the Dragonsí restart but Hullís defence held firm as the home side looked to pull the score back.
Further mistakes from the visitors allowed the Dragons to come back into the game with a try of their own. A penalty for holding down by Aaron Heremaia set the Dragons up inside the 10 metre line. Pelissier took the ball from dummy half and sidestepped the defence to plant the ball on the line.
Dureau kicked a drop goal on 36 minutes to edge Catalan 7-6 ahead but Hull took the lead back with 10 seconds of the half remaining through a penalty from Tickle after a high tackle on Miller.
After half time the Dragons struck back almost immediately after a bad mistake from Andy Lynch. The prop knocked-on with the first carry after a penalty for a ball steal. After making 50 metres with their first few tackles Dureau found Lopini Paea who carried the ball towards Hullís line and offloaded to Escare who scored under the posts.
FC hit back with Linehamís 20th try for the black and whites following some neat passing between Hullís backs. Jacob Miller and Heremaia linked up to find McDonnell in space and the full back dragged the Dragons defence over to find space for the young winger who powered over for the try. Tickle missed the conversion and FC were 13-12 behind after 48 minutes.
Lineham should have scored a second try 10 minutes later after a break by Houghton. The hooker broke through the middle with McDonnell in support. After passing the ball to the right edge Crooks only had to pass to Lineham on his outside for a certain try but his pass was laboured and Lineham lost momentum when he took the ball and was tackled into touch.
Hullís continued pressure on the Dragons line could not be converted into points as the home sideís defence held firm and Mark OíMeley knocked on as he took a short-range carry from Houghton in a bid to score.
Briscoe eventually broke the deadlock as Hullís pressure finally told with a quick break up the middle by Houghton. The hooker had Briscoe in support and he backed himself despite an attempted tackle from Escare and he raced 40 metres to score under the posts. Tickle added the extras to put FC five points up with 15 minutes remaining.
The Dragons had repeat sets on Hullís line but Remi Casty knocked on inside the 10 metre line to give possession back to the visitors.
Steve Menzies uncharacteristically knocked-on with the Dragonsí final possession after Miller lost possession and with the ball back Yeaman made a break down the left hand side and passed out to McDonnell in support for his second try of the game.
Hull join London Broncos in the hat for the semi-finals putting them in contention for their first Challenge Cup final since their victory over Leeds at Cardiffís Millennium Stadium in 2005.
Catalan: Escare, Vaccari, Blanch, Duport, Millard; Pryce, Durea; Simon, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Taia Mounis
Subs: Pelissier, Larroyer, Fakir, Paea
T: Pelissier, Escare
G: Dureau 2/2
Hull FC: McDonnell, Lineham, Crooks, Yeaman, Briscoe; Heremaia, Miller; O'Meley, Houghton, Green, Ellis, Westerman, Galea
Subs: Lynch, Watts, Tickle, Whiting
T: McDonnell 2, Lineham, Briscoe
G:Westerman 2/2, Tickle 2/3
Referee: Richard Silverwood
Half Time: 7-8
Full Time: 13-24
RLFANS Man of the Match: Danny Houghton