By Tom Hayward
LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - Manager Steve Bruce praised Hull City's players but was left to rue their inability to secure a "historic and memorable" FA Cup triumph after they surrendered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 in an enthralling final against Arsenal.
Hull's maiden FA Cup final appearance turned sour on Saturday thanks to Aaron Ramsey's extra-time winner but Bruce was proud of a side that has grown in stature since promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2012-13 season.
Bruce, who won the FA Cup twice as a player with Manchester United, struggled to hide his obvious disappointment but said his job was to build on a "wonderful" two seasons.
"It's disappointing to take, we're all disappointed. We put on a fantastic show," Bruce told reporters.
"We have to recover and get over it. We're delighted with what we've done but we'll move forward.
"The vast majority of them who played today all played with me in the Championship so we've had a wonderful couple of years.
"But it'd have made it even more historic and memorable if we had gone and nicked it today.
"You could see why they've got promoted and why they've had the season they've had because they showed an incredible amount of courage to go and take the game to them.
"On another day we might have just won the cup and that was obviously the aim but it wasn't to be."
Hull started as rank outsiders and having lost their last six games against the Gunners even the most ardent fan amongst their vociferous army of amber and black clad supporters would have been forgiven for being surprised at the start their team made.
The Tigers took the lead after four minutes against a tentative Arsenal when former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tom Huddlestone's shot from a deep corner was steered past a wrong-footed Lukasz Fabianski by James Chester.
Fabianski was fishing the ball out of the net for a second time four minutes later after he parried Alex Bruce's effort into the path of Hull captain Curtis Davies who duly slotted past the stranded Pole for a 2-0 lead.
Arsenal pulled a goal back through Santi Cazorla after 17 minutes, drew level in the 71st minute through Laurent Koscielny before Aaron Ramsey fired home 19 minutes into extra-time.
"When you're 2-0 up it's quite remarkable and it's a great start from us," Bruce added.
"Maybe we just fell short at the final bit. We were dropping like flies, which is always the problem I had. We had one or two or three or four who were injured but made valiant efforts to play in the cup final today.
"You could see in the end we just ran out of juice that little bit too much.
"I always believe that your name's on it and at one stage today I thought our name was on it and I thought it was going to be our day." (editing by Justin Palmer)