Ryan Flynn grabbed a spectacular winner as League One relegation battlers Sheffield United dumped Premier League side Aston Villa out of the FA Cup.

The Blades stunned the home side when they took the lead through a deflected Jamie Murphy strike.

Villa forward Christian Benteke missed a six-yard header before substitute Nicklas Helenius fired in an equaliser.

Analysis

"Sheffield United won the match on merit. They came with a disciplined game plan. Villa were pallid and uninspired."

However, Flynn cut inside from the right and unleashed a left-foot shot into the top corner for the winner.

Nigel Clough's side may only be one point above the League One relegation zone but they raised their game to embarrass their more illustrious opponents.

The home side left the field to a chorus of boos from their own fans and there is unlikely to be too much sympathy for the Midlands side following manager Paul Lambert's pre-match comments.

Lambert had caused controversy by saying Premier League managers could do without the FA Cup "if they were being honest", and it is now a competition he will not need to worry about this season.

Despite putting out a strong side, including first-team regulars Benteke, Andreas Weimann and Fabian Delph, Lambert's players soon found themselves behind.

A disciplined and organised United had comfortably held Villa at arm's length before catching out the Midlands side with their first meaningful attack.

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough (centre) celebrates after his side's FA Cup win over Aston Villa

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough (centre) celebrates after his side's FA Cup win over Aston Villa

Murphy, who had been recalled for Conor Coady, cut inside from the left and scored with a shot which took a deflection off Ciaran Clark on the way past goalkeeper Jed Steer.

Villa lacked urgency and purpose and their response was limited to long-range efforts which failed to test keeper George Long.

The home side belatedly awoke towards the end of the first half and Benteke should have scored when he latched on to an inviting Marc Albrighton cross only to fail to hit the target.

United took the scare as a cue to try to extend their lead and Flynn had a shot palmed wide by Steer just after the break as the visitors continued to frustrate the home side and Villa's agitated fans.

Blades keeper Long had to tip over an Albrighton cross, although it was the visitors who looked more like scoring.

FA Cup fourth round draw

When: Sunday, 5 January 2014

Where: Wembley Stadium

Time: 1400 GMT

Who: Cousins Martin and Paul Allen, who both played for West Ham, will make the draw after the Hammers face Nottingham Forest.

Fourth round dates: Ties to be played over the weekend of 25 and 26 January 2014

Flynn was causing plenty of problems and Steer failed to gather another effort from him before Villa defender Matthew Lowton cleared the danger.

Villa had struggled to break down their stubborn visitors for most of the game, but equalised when a hopeful ball into the box ricocheted about before falling for Helenius to score.

The goal proved a false dawn for Lambert's side as United, who are 51 places below Villa, picked themselves up and scored a deserved winner through the livewire Flynn.

Check out a photo gallery from all of today's FA Cup fixtures on the BBC Sport Facebook page. 

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (4)

Aston Villa

  • 13 Steer
  • 14 Luna
  • 24 Tonev (Helenius - 60' )
  • 15 Westwood Booked
  • 06 Clark Booked
  • 34 Lowton
  • 07 Bacuna
  • 16 Delph Booked
  • 20 Benteke
  • 12 Albrighton
  • 10 Weimann

Substitutes

  • 01 Guzan
  • 08 El Ahmadi
  • 09 Helenius
  • 18 Sylla
  • 21 Bowery
  • 22 Gardner
  • 32 Donacien

Sheffield United

  • 25 Long Booked
  • 29 McMahon
  • 06 Hill
  • 14 McGinn
  • 15 Collins Booked
  • 05 Maguire
  • 07 Flynn
  • 08 Doyle
  • 09 Porter (Kennedy - 91' )
  • 11 Baxter (Coady - 80' )
  • 23 Murphy (Miller - 92' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Howard
  • 12 Miller
  • 16 Cuvelier
  • 17 Coady
  • 19 Brandy
  • 32 Kennedy
  • 37 Calvert-Lewin
Ref: David Coote
Att: 24,038

Match Stats

Shots

9 8

On target

2 5

Corners

8 1

Fouls

12 11

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Sheffield United 2.

90:00 +4:45 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Sheffield United 2.

90:00 +4:39

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

90:00 +3:47

Attempt missed. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

90:00 +1:30 Booking

Booking George Long (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +1:15 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sheffield United. Shaun Miller replaces Jamie Murphy.

90:00 +0:56 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sheffield United. Terry Kennedy replaces Chris Porter.

88:51

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Harry Maguire.

88:39

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Harry Maguire.

88:02 Booking

Booking Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

88:00

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

87:59

Foul by Fabian Delph (Aston Villa).

87:13

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

87:13

Anthony McMahon (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

83:18 Booking

Booking Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

83:15

Foul by Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa).

83:15

Michael Doyle (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

82:09

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:09

Foul by Anthony McMahon (Sheffield United).

80:36 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 1, Sheffield United 2. Ryan Flynn (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner.

80:10

Attempt missed. Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

79:51 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sheffield United. Conor Coady replaces Jose Baxter.

79:24

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Matthew Hill.

79:16

Attempt missed. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

76:04

Attempt missed. Chris Porter (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

74:57 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 1, Sheffield United 1. Nicklas Helenius (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

74:21

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Harry Maguire.

73:57

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Matthew Hill.

69:54

Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

63:33

Hand ball by Chris Porter (Sheffield United).

63:00

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

62:58

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa).

62:13

Attempt missed. Chris Porter (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

61:42

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa).

61:42

Jamie Murphy (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60:46

Attempt saved. Ryan Flynn (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

60:11

Foul by Nicklas Helenius (Aston Villa).

60:11

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

59:38 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Nicklas Helenius replaces Aleksandar Tonev.

58:30

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Anthony McMahon.

51:13

Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:13

Foul by Michael Doyle (Sheffield United).

49:33

Antonio Luna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

49:33

Foul by Anthony McMahon (Sheffield United).

47:57

Attempt saved. Ryan Flynn (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

46:50

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Jed Steer.

46:38

Attempt saved. Ryan Flynn (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

45:48

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

45:48

Neill Collins (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:00

Second Half begins Aston Villa 0, Sheffield United 1.

45:00 +3:09 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Sheffield United 1.

45:00 +2:06

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

45:00 +0:11

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

43:36

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Matthew Hill.

40:00

Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

40:00

Foul by Chris Porter (Sheffield United).

39:27

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa).

39:27

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

39:10

Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

39:10

Foul by Chris Porter (Sheffield United).

38:28

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

38:28

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

35:34

Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

35:34

Foul by Michael Doyle (Sheffield United).

33:16 Booking

Booking Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

32:09

Attempt missed. Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

29:39

Attempt missed. Jamie Murphy (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

27:35

Foul by Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa).

27:35

Michael Doyle (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

25:00

Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

24:57

Foul by Stephen McGinn (Sheffield United).

22:04

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Anthony McMahon.

19:04 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 0, Sheffield United 1. Jamie Murphy (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the centre of the goal.

16:33

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

16:33

Foul by Ryan Flynn (Sheffield United).

12:29

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

12:29

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

11:17 Booking

Booking Neill Collins (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card.

11:09

Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:09

Foul by Neill Collins (Sheffield United).

3:14

Foul by Michael Doyle (Sheffield United).

3:14

Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

2:00

Stephen McGinn (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

1:46

Foul by Antonio Luna (Aston Villa).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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