League One side Sheffield United booked a third-round trip to Aston Villa in the FA Cup after overcoming Conference Premier leaders Cambridge in round two.

Jose Baxter's sweetly-hit half-volley put the Blades in front in the early stages at the Abbey Stadium.

But the U's missed a series of chances to equalise, most notably when Adam Cunnington was clean through.

Cambridge's dominance faded and Jamie Murphy scored after the interval to ease any Sheffield United nerves.

The U's noticeably tired in the latter stages but showed enough quality to suggest they can end their nine-year exile from the Football League when they resume their Conference campaign.

Cambridge boss Richard Money, who coached his Blades counterpart Nigel Clough during his playing days at Nottingham Forest and Manchester City, has constructed a side that has set the pace in the Conference Premier.

Clough, on the other hand, adopted a team in October that was struggling in League One and has slowly started to bring solidity to a club that was in the Premier League seven years ago.

Coulson's Cambridge milestone

Cambridge United academy product Josh Coulson made his 200th appearance for the U's. The 25-year-old defender made his debut for the club six years ago.

The visitors, in need of confidence after one win in their last four games, lacked the conviction needed to build on the lead they took early on when Baxter, who moments earlier saw his header saved, applied a clean connection to Flynn's right-wing cross.

Instead it was the U's, who had won all 11 of their home games this term, who took the initiative. Their patient, attractive play forced saves from goalkeeper George Long through Cunnington, Luke Berry and Harrison Dunk.

Winger Dunk caused Sheffield United all sorts of problems by running at the defence, and he went close again after the break by following up a jinking run into the box with a low shot that Long held.

The Blades rode their luck with four Cambridge penalty appeals for handball waved away, and then punished the home side for failing to capitalise on their dominance by snatching a second.

Murphy, a first-half substitute for the injured Stephen McGinn, evaded a challenge on the edge of the area and eased the ball past the outstretched hand of Chris Maxwell.

There were few scares for Clough's men from that point onwards as the former Derby boss recorded his fourth win since taking charge at Bramall Lane and steered the Blades into the third round.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Cambridge United manager Richard Money told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire:

"I thought we restricted them to very few chances and in the first half we were more than worthy of coming in level.

"We passed it really well and almost broke them down. Half-time gave them a chance to regroup and they sat a lot deeper in the second half.

"The second goal came at a good time for them and in the end it was relatively comfortable for them.

"I've been told at least one of the penalty shouts should have been given. It's unusual you get four or five on the same day and not one is given."

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Sheffield:

"We had to work hard for it. The first goal was a bit of quality from Jose.

"The most disappointing part of the whole game was the 20 minutes or so after that. We let them back into the game, but apart from that I thought we played well."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (4)

Cambridge United

  • 01 Maxwell
  • 14 Tait
  • 03 Taylor
  • 08 Champion
  • 04 Coulson
  • 06 Miller
  • 17 Hughes
  • 18 Berry
  • 21 Appiah Booked
  • 09 Cunnington (Roberts - 60' )
  • 11 Dunk (Arnold - 82' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Roberts
  • 05 Bonner
  • 16 Austin
  • 19 Sam-Yorke
  • 22 Spillane
  • 24 Arnold
  • 32 Brown

Sheffield United

  • 25 Long
  • 07 Flynn
  • 22 Lappin
  • 06 Hill Booked
  • 15 Collins
  • 05 Maguire
  • 08 Doyle
  • 14 McGinn (Murphy - 22' )
  • 09 Porter (Taylor - 86' )
  • 11 Baxter
  • 17 Coady

Substitutes

  • 01 Howard
  • 10 Taylor
  • 12 Miller
  • 16 Cuvelier
  • 19 Brandy
  • 23 Murphy
  • 32 Kennedy
Ref: Oliver Langford
Att: 4,593

Match Stats

Shots

13 12

On target

3 5

Corners

5 3

Fouls

9 8

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Cambridge United 0, Sheffield United 2.

90:00 +3:06 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Cambridge United 0, Sheffield United 2.

90:00 +2:03

Offside, Cambridge United. Richard Tait tries a through ball, but Kwesi Appiah is caught offside.

89:15

Attempt missed. Luke Berry (Cambridge United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Nathan Arnold with a cross.

87:38

Foul by Richard Tait (Cambridge United).

87:38

Jamie Murphy (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

86:48

Attempt missed. Jose Baxter (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jamie Murphy.

85:29 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sheffield United. Lyle Taylor replaces Chris Porter.

84:36

Foul by Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United).

84:36

George Long (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:59

Offside, Sheffield United. Harry Maguire tries a through ball, but Chris Porter is caught offside.

81:51 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cambridge United. Nathan Arnold replaces Harrison Dunk.

80:57

Attempt saved. Michael Doyle (Sheffield United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jose Baxter.

79:10

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Neill Collins.

76:38

Attempt missed. Jose Baxter (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

76:36

Attempt blocked. Ryan Flynn (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Chris Porter.

75:15 Booking

Booking Matthew Hill (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

74:50

Foul by Matthew Hill (Sheffield United).

74:50

Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

73:52 Booking

Booking Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

73:31

Ryan Flynn (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

73:31

Foul by Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United).

71:56

Simon Lappin (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

71:56

Foul by Tom Champion (Cambridge United).

69:51

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Tom Champion.

66:58

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

66:20

Delay in match Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United) because of an injury.

66:11

Foul by Ryan Flynn (Sheffield United).

66:11

Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

63:51

Foul by Ryan Flynn (Sheffield United).

63:51

Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

63:13

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Ian Miller.

62:03

Hand ball by Chris Porter (Sheffield United).

60:18

Simon Lappin (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60:18

Foul by Richard Tait (Cambridge United).

59:48 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cambridge United. Kevin Roberts replaces Adam Cunnington.

57:56 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Cambridge United 0, Sheffield United 2. Jamie Murphy (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Simon Lappin.

55:13

Attempt blocked. Jose Baxter (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Neill Collins.

53:04

Attempt blocked. Luke Berry (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Liam Hughes.

52:18

Attempt blocked. Chris Porter (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Jamie Murphy.

50:46

Attempt saved. Chris Porter (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Simon Lappin with a cross.

50:05

Foul by Chris Porter (Sheffield United).

50:05

Josh Coulson (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

46:05

Attempt missed. Luke Berry (Cambridge United) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Harrison Dunk with a cross following a corner.

45:44

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Simon Lappin.

45:00

Second Half begins Cambridge United 0, Sheffield United 1.

45:00 +2:00 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Cambridge United 0, Sheffield United 1.

44:52

Foul by Simon Lappin (Sheffield United).

44:52

Liam Hughes (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:45

Jose Baxter (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:45

Foul by Richard Tait (Cambridge United).

42:49

Attempt blocked. Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Luke Berry.

42:15

Foul by Harry Maguire (Sheffield United).

42:15

Adam Cunnington (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

40:34

Attempt blocked. Liam Hughes (Cambridge United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kwesi Appiah.

38:14

Harry Maguire (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

38:14

Foul by Adam Cunnington (Cambridge United).

37:09

Attempt blocked. Greg Taylor (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kwesi Appiah.

33:21

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Conor Coady.

30:42

Attempt missed. Greg Taylor (Cambridge United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

29:05

Attempt blocked. Conor Coady (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

22:29

Attempt missed. Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

21:56

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

21:53 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sheffield United. Jamie Murphy replaces Stephen McGinn because of an injury.

21:20

Delay in match Stephen McGinn (Sheffield United) because of an injury.

19:17

Attempt saved. Luke Berry (Cambridge United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Richard Tait with a cross.

15:51

Attempt saved. Luke Berry (Cambridge United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

13:00

Attempt saved. Adam Cunnington (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Harrison Dunk.

11:37 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Cambridge United 0, Sheffield United 1. Jose Baxter (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ryan Flynn with a cross.

11:04

Stephen McGinn (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:04

Foul by Harrison Dunk (Cambridge United).

8:49

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Richard Tait.

7:36

Attempt missed. Adam Cunnington (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.

7:06

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Matthew Hill.

4:23

Attempt saved. Jose Baxter (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Conor Coady with a cross.

3:27

Simon Lappin (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

3:27

Foul by Adam Cunnington (Cambridge United).

3:06

Attempt blocked. Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

2:17

Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Harry Maguire.

1:42

Foul by Simon Lappin (Sheffield United).

1:42

Richard Tait (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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