Player ratings as Blades strike late to avoid upset

Sheffield United earned a date with Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup fifth round with a nervy 3-1 victory over Wrexham on Tuesday evening.

Anel Ahmedhodzic fired home the opener early in the second half but Paul Mullin equalised from the penalty spot and missed the chance to put Wrexham ahead from 12 yards just a few moments later.

As we prepared for another 90-minute draw between these two, Billy Sharp struck in the dying embers to end Wrexham’s Hollywood story, before Sander Berge sealed the victory soon after.

The early minutes were dominated completely by Sheffield United, whose biggest threat came from corners, although Wrexham created half-chances of their own through the lively Jacob Mendy out on the left.

The hosts should have taken the lead on the half-hour mark as James McAtee raced through on goal unopposed, but rather than set Iliman Ndiaye up for an easy tap-in, the youngster opted to try and shoot past Rob Lainton and instead sent his effort wide of the post. It would have been the easiest goal of Ndiaye’s career.

Lainton was then called on to make an excellent save to deny Ahmedhodzic, whose thunderous close-range strike after some superb work from Ndiaye was well kept out.

Ben Tozer’s strike from distance, which was solid but comfortably saved by Adam Davies, was as close as Wrexham came to scoring in a first half in which they will have been fairly satisfied with their work against superior opposition.

A barrage of Tozer throw-ins kicked off the second half, but Ahmedhodzic put Sheffield United ahead five minutes in, firing home after a smart pass from McAtee.

Sharp could have added a second soon after but his strike was again saved well by Lainton from close range, and Wrexham went straight down the other end and earned themselves a penalty as Mullin was dragged down by Ahmedhodzic, although replays showed the contact may have been outside the box. The striker made no mistake, lashing his effort into the back of the net.

With 20 minutes to go, Mullin won his side yet another penalty, beating Oliver Norwood to the ball. This time, however, his effort was well saved by Davis.

Sharp thought he’d bagged a late winner with just a few minutes remaining, but…


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