FA Cup Third Round
Team: Cerny, Ramage, Stewart, Gorkss, Borrowdale, Buzsaky (Ephraim), Leigertwood, Faurlin, Routledge, Agyemang (Helguson), Simpson.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Hall, Connolly, Parker, Balanta.
Richard Cresswell’s header in first-half injury time earned a FA Cup Third Round replay for Sheffield United. The home side went close early on with Stephen Quinn’s strike from Henri Camara’s cross hitting the bar from eight yards. But it was QPR who took the lead when Jay Simpson side-footed Wayne Routledge’s low cross past Mark Bunn. Cresswell’s header from Quinn’s cross drew United level and they could have snatched it when Ched Evans hit the crossbar with a powerful free-kick.
The hosts started the game well with Chris Morgan’s close-range header from Jamie Ward’s free-kick flying just wide of the upright. Minutes later, Quinn should have scored but instead hit the bar from close range after Camara pulled the ball back from the bye-line. It took QPR a while to get into the game and their first real chance came from Alejandro Faurlin whose dipping effort from the edge of the area was well saved by Bunn. And just minutes later, the visitors went ahead after Routledge found himself one-on-one with defender Andy Taylor on the wing and after beating his man, he whipped in a low cross that Simpson converted. It looked as if QPR would take the lead into the break but United levelled through Cresswell’s looping header from Quinn’s cross.
The second half was quiet in comparison with United’s Jamie Ward going close with an 18-yard strike while late on, Evans thumped a 35-yard free-kick against the underside of the crossbar as the game ended level. QPR boss Paul Hart told BBC London 94.9: “We’re in the hat after coming to a ground where many Premier League sides have floundered in the past. But I’m slightly disappointed not to win it. At half-time, the players were saying that the ball went out of play before the corner was awarded for their goal. But, after that, closing down the cross was not there and the header was disappointing. It wasn’t always pretty, but I don’t think FA Cup matches necessarily should be. They should be a fight and we showed plenty of fight today. We set up to be difficult to beat and we achieved that to some extent but we withstood Sheffield United’s pressure in the second-half and kept strong.”
It was a good trip up from St. Pancras, amazingly only ¬£10.00 return with no delays but few R’s fans on the train. Kerrins was there to meet us upon our arrival and we soon made a bee-line for something to eat. The word was that Taarabt wasn’t going to be involved because of an injury ? In freezing temperatures, the R’s turnout was around 6/700 ? Not the best atmosphere and the home fans were very quiet apart from a few songs about their rivals down the road. They should of taken the lead with an amazing miss from very close range which thankfully hit the crossbar. We gave the ball away too much in the first-half and we desperately needed to string some passes together. Routledge was dangerous and he made our goal. They were awarded a corner after it looked like the ball had swung out of play. As a result, Cerny didn’t come off of his line and Cresswell equalised with a header just before the break.
As the temperature continued to drop, we played better after the interval. There were a series of opportunities but instead of shooting from the edge of the box, the ball was in turn squared three times on one occasion. They hit the woodwork again and the match began to fizzle out. It was good to see Hogan come on and after the game we headed to the pub opposite the station for a few drinks. In Bernard’s case it was a Club Orange or two, but as far as I was concerned it had to be a couple of brandies. We were in the hat which in itself was quite an achievement.