Wembley Way was definitely full of the hustle and bustle that you’d expect for an Emirates FA Cup semi-final.
It was a very different experience to reporting from the Cornish sidelines on the extra preliminary round when Bodmin Town took on Cadbury Heath in my first game covering this competition for The FA.
The air, much like that extra preliminary round, was full of excitement as the blue onslaught marched towards the stadium, their presence marked a chance of claiming an elusive spot in the Final of this prestigious competition.
Neither of the two sides had the easiest way of reaching this stage, Manchester City fought back from two goals down to defeat Swansea City and Brighton miraculously turned things around to go through on penalties versus Millwall.
After their spot-kick victory, it would be fair to say that the Seagulls dominated the Wembley scene with their white and blue shirts, as they visited the national team stadium for one of the few times in their history.
Yet, in a competition that has caused so many upsets over the years, even those supporters didn’t seem to believe that their team would find a way past Manchester City, bar some sort of miracle.
And it would have to be a miracle if they were going to reach the Final, as Gabriel Jesus laid his marker down just three minutes in to head Kevin De Bruyne’s cross past the despairing Mat Ryan.
One would’ve thought an early goal would spark the game to life, but it didn’t seem to be the case as City held 70 per cent of possession and controlled the game at a slowed-down pace.
What didn’t reduce though was the noise from Albion’s fans, who were fantastic, particularly when their team went forward.
Each time they attacked or had a set-piece opportunity, the entirety of Wembley’s West End erupted with camaraderie.
Whereas among City supporters, there was an expectancy that their team would get the job done. Unfortunately for Brighton, that’s exactly what they did.
It wasn’t in the usual Pep Guardiola style, with some ‘squeaky bum time’ in the final few minutes of Brighton pressure, but it was enough for City to get over the line.
So, Guardiola’s side will be one of the Finalists in May and the other will be Watford after a game to remember against Wolves.
It’s been a great experience with the FA and its Young Reporters club, and I’d like to say thank you to those that gave me this chance whilst studying.
This opportunity is one which I hope to carry on and has opened many different avenues this year for myself. I’ve gone from producing work at Bodmin Town, to the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley which is rather surreal, albeit the weather was far sunnier in Cornwall.