Here’s Andy Hunter’s report from a still-rocking Cae Ras. Wrexham may have just missed out on another big FA Cup win, but there’s always the sequel.
Here’s a good stat from the clever folk at Opta. Another goalfest on the way at Bramall Lane?
It was almost the defining moment of the game. Here’s Mullin’s goal, in case you missed it.
Meanwhile, here’s a heartwarming message from the stands. Isn’t that what the FA Cup is all about?
Mullin salutes the home fans for creating an electric atmosphere at the Cae Ras. “I’m so proud of everyone. We’ve worked really hard to get this far in the competition. But, as I said during the week coming into the game, we came here today not expecting to win but thinking that we could win. We had a game plan, we worked to it and I think everyone watching would say we deserved to win the game. So it’s disappointing to come away with a draw, but they’re a top side and it looks like they’re going to go up to the Premiership so, when the dust settles on it tomorrow, I think we’ll be proud of today.”
Mullin is asked if he feels Wrexham deserved to win. “Yeah, I thought we were the better team throughout the game,” he says. “[We] created chances, looked dangerous on the break and limited them in open play to not many chances at all. As I say, to concede from two set pieces in the game is really disappointing for us.”
Mullin cuts a rueful figure in his post-match interview. “[We’re] disappointed, very disappointed,” he says. “Basically with the last kick of the game, to concede from a set play is gutting really when we’ve put such hard work into the game and got the goal late on. You’re thinking: ‘If we can just hold on against 10 men here then we’re through.’ But it wasn’t to be.”
Full time, Wrexham 3-3 Sheffield United
Wrexham press for a fourth goal, but can’t find a way through. The final whistle goes, bringing to an end a heart-in-mouth FA Cup match. Wrexham were so, so close to progressing to the fifth round at the expense of their Championship opponents, but Egan salvaged a draw for Sheffield United right at the death. The hosts will be disappointed not to have won, which is testament to just how good they were.
GOAL! Wrexham 3-3 Sheffield United (Egan 90)
It’s heartbreak for Wrexham. Sheffield United win a corner, Doyle takes it and Egan ghosts in at the back post before hammering a shot past Howard.
90+2 min Ndiaye makes inroads down the right flank, but eventually runs into a wall of red shirts. Sheffield United recycle the ball and Doyle whips a cross into the box from deep. Ndiaye gets on the end of it, but glances his header narrowly wide of the far post. The home fans breathe a sigh of relief.
90+1 min Bogle is booked after bringing down Lee. Wrexham are minutes away from a famous win here.
89 min Dalby gets in behind on the right and holds off Basham but, one-on-one with Davies, he scoops his shot high and wide.
87 min Heckingbottom makes a desperate last throw of the dice, bringing on Ismaila Coulibaly for Anel Ahmedhodzic.
GOAL! Wrexham 3-2 Sheffield United (Mullin 86)
Sparks are flying from the Magic-of-the-Cup-o-Meter. It’s smoking and juddering like an old banger on its last legs. Mullin has the ball in the back of the net after being teed up by Dalby with a neat cross from the right. His shot slips between Davies’s legs and, just like that, the roof has come off.
Phil Grey has suggested an interesting change to the Laws of the Game. “Hi Will. If this goes to a replay, Sheffield United should start with 10 men, don’t you think?” If it causes more chaos, I’m all for it.
83 min Sheffield United are under the cosh now. Palmer threads through Mullin and he pings a cross to the far post, but nobody gets on the end of it.
80 min There are heads in hands at the Cae Ras. Dalby crosses to Palmer, who thunders a shot on to the underside of the crossbar. Unfortunately for Wrexham, it bounces out and spins away.
77 min Wrexham forge another good chance via a set piece, but O’Connor heads over. They are bullying their opponents in the air at the moment.
Mary Waltz is enjoying this one. “Speaking of Hollywood, if this match was turned in for a Hollywood script it would be kicked to the side as too far-fetched.” It’s good fun, isn’t it? We’re definitely into Proper Cup Tie™ territory.
73 min Amid all that hoo-ha, there was a booking for Callum McFadzean. Parkinson decides to bring him off, with Sam Dalby coming on in an attack-minded switch.
There’s another twist in the tale as Jebbison is sent off after a tangle with Tozer off the ball. It looked like he might have aimed a little kick at his opponent, though Tozer has also been booked for his part in the fracas.
GOAL! Wrexham 2-2 Sheffield United (Norwood 65)
Ah, no, as you were. Sheffield United come forwards and Wrexham fail to clear their lines. Norwood has a shot blocked by Tozer, but the ball bobbles back to him and, at the second time of asking, he slots it into the far corner.
GOAL! Wrexham 2-1 Sheffield United (O'Connor 61)
Can you hear that? That’s the sound of the Magic-of-the-Cup-o-Meter dinging frantically. Young steps up to take the corner and whips a delivery to Lee, who nods it down for O’Connor. He stabs in from close range to put Wrexham ahead.
59 min Tozer tries to work his long throw magic again, but the ball is cleared. The big man is first to it and, having worked an opening, he smashes a shot at goal which is deflected narrowly wide for a corner.
Nick Oakes has an observation to make. “Is it me or does it look like the floodlights need turning up a bit? Particularly bad near Sheffield United’s goal.” It is a little dingy now you mention it, Nick.
56 min Paul Heckingbottom makes a double change in an effort to revitalise his attack, bringing off Osborn and McBurnie for Iliman Ndiaye and Billy Sharp respectively.
54 min Young is the first Wrexham player to go into the book. It’s getting spicy now.
GOAL! Wrexham 1-1 Sheffield United (Jones 50)
Having survived the initial onslaught, Sheffield United succumb to the second wave. Tozer gets a long throw to O’Connor, who flicks it on to Jones. He hooks the ball past Davies and into the back of the net to send the Cae Ras into raptures.
48 min Luke Young whips a shot at goal from distance and Davies spills it. There’s an almighty goalmouth scramble as multiple Wrexham players have a pop at close range, but Davies and his defenders manage to deny them.
47 min The home fans briefly appeal for a penalty after Jones goes down following a challenge from Basham, but the Wrexham man stood on the ball.
Second half kicks off
McAtee, the young Manchester City loanee, has been brought off, with Max Lowe replacing him. Otherwise, the two sides are unchanged.
Mary Waltz writes in via email. “Wrexham’s balloon will probably be burst today. And the Hollywood owners get a bit of stick in the various comment sections. But they took a team buried in the National [League], hired people who knew the town and the league, invested heavily and didn’t bolt when promotion didn’t come quickly. I wish my Everton team had that type of ownership.”
Mullin steps up to take the free kick himself, but can only drive the ball into the wall. The half-time whistle goes, bringing an entertaining first half to a close. After an unfortunate opening spell in which they conceded almost immediately and then lost two of their first-choice centre-backs to injury, Wrexham gave as good as they got and came close to finding an equaliser. Mullin has menaced Sheffield United’s defence, though McBurnie and Jebbison have threatened to extend the visitors’ lead at the other end.
45+6 min McAtee plays a loose pass in midfield which is intercepted by Palmer. He’s tackled by Basham, but the ball pings straight to the feet of Mullin. He tries to knock the ball past Egan, who brings him down with a chop across the ankles on the edge of the area. Egan earns a booking and was inches away from conceding a penalty.
45+4 min A one-touch passing move from the visitors ends with Ben Osborn winning a corner with a deflected cross. McBurnie heads it back across goal but Basham can only nod into Howard’s gloves. The Wrexham keeper instantly puts Mullin in behind with a big lump forwards. He thrashes a shot on target from a tight angle, but Davies pushes it away.
45+1 min Wrexham win a free kick out wide on the left and O’Connor’s delivery is cleared as far as Elliot Lee on the edge of the box. He thumps a shot at goal but, once again, it’s blocked and ricochets away.
45 min Jones bursts into the box and has a crack at goal, but it’s blocked. Sheffield United roar forwards and Oliver Norwood plays a good ball up to Jebbison, but Howard rushes off his line and wins the ball before hoofing it back upfield.
43 min Sheffield United win another corner and Doyle steps up. He tries to find McBurnie again – this time at the back post – but his delivery is overcooked and goes out for a goal kick.
41 min Ollie Palmer cuts in off the left flank and unleashes a shot, but it’s blocked. He sprints after the rebound and wins it back, earning a roar of appreciation from the stands.
37 min Wrexham have a spell of pressure which ends with Mullin curling a shot on target from just outside the area, but it’s far too close to Davies and he saves with ease.
33 min Bogle is back on with a couple of plugs up his nose. He’s immediately called upon to defend two long throws from Ben Tozer, both of which are successfully cleared.
32 min Mullin drops deep and finds himself in a pocket of space 30 yards out. He goes for the spectacular, but his shot whistles over the bar.
30 min Jayden Bogle has taken a bash to the nose and is down. There’s a break in play as he receives treatment.
26 min Jebbison toys with O’Connor out wide before getting the ball to Doyle. He tries to dink one over the top, but Wrexham’s defenders clear their lines.
23 min Doyle unleashes a shot from distance, forcing Howard into an acrobatic save which draws a low rumble of appreciation from the home fans.
21 min McBurnie feeds Daniel Jebbison to his right and his pace takes him in behind. He gets a shot on target from a narrowing angle, but Mark Howard, the Wrexham goalkeeper, makes the save.
19 min Wrexham counter-attack through Mullin, who moves the ball on to Forde. He gets a dangerous cross to the back post, but John Egan turns it behind and Sheffield United defend the resulting corner well.
18 min McBurnie slaloms forwards, evading a couple of challenges, before threading through James McAtee to his left. The youngster’s shot is deflected at the cost of a corner, which is cleared.
14 min Mullin does well to get past Chris Basham out wide on the right, but his cross is cleared before it finds a teammate.
12 min Wrexham win a corner and Mullin challenges Davies in the air, leading to a brief scramble. Tom O’Connor turns on his heel and gets a shot away, but it rockets over the crossbar.
11 min Anthony Forde lofts a long ball up the right flank and Paul Mullin, Wrexham’s main goal threat, gets on the end of it. He wants a penalty after tangling with Adam Davies, the Sheffield United goalkeeper, but there’s nothing doing. While Mullin got to the ball first, Davies pulled out of the contact just in time. The home crowd roar their disapproval.
9 min Hayden goes down again and that’s his afternoon over. James Jones swaps in.
6 min Aaron Hayden, another of Wrexham’s centre-backs, slumps to the turf clutching his leg. Parkinson, understandably, looks dismayed on the sidelines. After receiving treatment, it looks like Hayden will try to continue. How much longer he lasts, we shall see.
4 min In more bad news for Wrexham, Jordan Tunnicliffe has been forced off with injury. Max Cleworth comes on in his place.
GOAL! Wrexham 0-1 Sheffield United (McBurnie 2)
Well, that wasn’t very magic of the Cup-y. Sheffield United win a corner inside the first minute and Tommy Doyle’s delivery finds Oli McBurnie, who nods in at the near post.
We’re under way at a bouncing Cae Ras. Post something like: “Wrexham’s owners may hail from Hollywood, but will their team’s performance be suitably box office?”
Sheffield United team news
Starting lineup (3-5-2): Davies; Ahmedhodzic, Egan, Basham; Bogle, McAtee, Norwood, Doyle, Osborn; Jebbison, McBurnie.
Wrexham team news
Starting lineup (5-3-2): Howard; Forde, Hayden, Tozer, Tunnicliffe, McFadzean; Lee, Young, O’Connor; Mullin, Palmer.
After a weekend that has been disappointingly light on FA Cup shocks, it’s over to Wrexham to try to provide one against Sheffield United. Currently top of the National League on the back of significant investment from Hollywood duo Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, Phil Parkison’s side have already dumped out Coventry City and are certainly capable of defying the odds once again. Their opponents are flying high in the Championship, however, and are unbeaten in nine in all competitions. As such, this game ranks high on the Magic-of-the-Cup-o-Meter. Let’s get to it, shall we?