Perfect away day for Tigers
You could barely seperate these two in the league with Hull 4th and Derby 5th and in fact it was the Rams who dominated the regular season meetings with two wins and six goals without reply. However this was to be Hull's day, as they put a huge dent in their opponent's hopes of promotion.
Steve Bruce's team hit the front on the half-hour mark through their top scorer Abel Hernandez. Bradley Johnson took a poor touch in his own half that Ahmed El Mohamady got onto to find Hernandez in the middle who hit an early left-footed shot from 25 yards. Despite it not being too powerful, it crept past Scott Carson into the bottom right corner.
Then, Hull dealt a real crushing blow to Derby's hopes as the lead was doubled five minutes before half time. In truth, it was one of the luckiest goals you'll see with right-back Moses Odubajo taking a swing at goal from the right side of the box, the ball then taking two deflections off Marcus Olsson and Jason Shackell before finding the bottom right corner.
It looked set to be a nice little advantage for Hull to take back home for the second leg, but in the 98th minute the Tigers effectivelly ended the tie in one match as Andrew Robertson made it 3-0.
A poor Derby corner was cleared, which set-up a four-on-three breakaway with Odubajo finding Robertson on the left edge of the box and he guided his left-footed strike into the bottom right corner with the last kick of the game.
No show from Derby
It seems set to be more play-off heartache for Derby as they simply didin't show up in what was their home leg in this semi-final. County could only registered two shots on target the entire game and never really tested Hull's back-up goalkeeper Eldin Jankupovic.
Their only chance of note was a collison between Tom Ince and the goalkeeper, which nearly forced the ball over the line, however Hull scrambled back to clear in time.
You could well argue that their opponents weren't that much better than them today, but Hull didn't need to be as Darren Walsall's team continued to shoot themselves in the foot by losing the ball in their own half. All three goals were very avoidable.
As already mentioned, Hull were by no means outstanding today, however they had a lot more about them in the final third and when they got a chance, they took it. Particularly so for the first and third goals, which were really well-struck left foot finishes from distance by Robertson and Hernandez.
In fact, the visitors only had three shots on target the entire match and got three goals out of it, with such clinical finishing proving the difference in such a high-pressure game.
The other attempt on target they did have was from Robert Snodgrass with a free-kick early in the second half. This highlighted Derby's lack of understanding as Shackell dropped back to clear away when Carson had it covered.
Another chance of note came just after the first goal when Mohamed Diame scuffed a left shot wide of the far post when he had a clear sight of goal.
Derby needing second leg miracle
Derby will now head to the KC Stadium on Tuesday night needing a miracle to make the Wembley final with no team having overcome a two-plus goal lead in the play-offs with the second leg away from home. They need four clear goals to progress.