The FA Cup - Third Round
Sheff UtdSheffield United2FyldeAFC Fylde1

Sheffield United 2-1 AFC Fylde, FA Cup third round

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport at Bramall Lane

AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley will look to learn from Chris Wilder's "magic formula" after the non-league side gave Premier League Sheffield United an FA Cup scare.

The Blades, 104 places above their National League opponents, secured a narrow win to book their place in Monday's fourth-round draw.

AFC Fylde, the last non-league club in the competition, are involved in a relegation battle in England's fifth tier but have ambitions to reach League Two by 2022.

Their players wear shirts with 2022 on the sleeve as a reminder of the goal of becoming a Football League club.

Wilder, who started his managerial career at non-league Alfreton Town, has steered Sheffield United from League One to the Premier League.

Bentley said: "Chris Wilder said well done at the end. We had a chat before the game - we are good friends so we'll go and have a pint together now.

"We can take positives from the game and we'll speak to Chris about the magic formula and how we can use that in our own league."

Wilder saw Sheffield United race into a 2-0 lead after making 11 changes to his side following a hectic festive programme.

Callum Robinson scored a deflected opener with a shot on the turn from Luke Freeman's cross before 34-year-old Leon Clarke - who has played professionally for 17 clubs - tapped home United's second.

But the Blades were forced to endure an uncomfortable finish after Jordan Williams pulled one back before firing a late chance to equalise into the side netting.

'Is there a qualified referee in the house?'

There was one moment of drama for the officials as United went through, with assistant referee Daniel Leach having to be substituted at half-time because of illness.

An appeal was put out over the public address system asking for any qualified match officials in the stadium to make themselves known to a steward.

Tyler Machin, watching from the stand, answered the call, making it a busy day for the teenager as he had refereed a local league match in Worksop in the morning.

Machin took over as fourth official, with Ben Toner stepping up from that role to run the line in the second half.

Fylde seek to bring cup spirit to relegation scrap

AFC Fylde are two points from safety in England's fifth tier yet went close to forcing a replay.

Soon after Williams' goal, a lob after a lovely ball over the top of the defence, he was presented with a chance of equalising but could not hit the target.

At the final whistle, Bentley and his players were given a standing ovation by Blades fans as they left the pitch after a hard-working display.

"I'm really proud of the players, the staff and the club and we've given a big Premier League team a run for their money," added former Morecambe boss Bentley.

As for Sheffield United, who have won an army of new admirers for their Premier League exploits, this was a case of job done for Wilder's fringe players, some of whom could be on the move during the January transfer window.

This was the club's fifth match in 16 days.

They lost debutant Dutch keeper Michael Verrips - promoted to back-up goalkeeper after an injury to Simon Moore in December - to a head injury but came through relatively unscathed.

"It might be a bit of an issue but hopefully Michael will be OK," said Wilder, whose side entertain West Ham in the Premier League on Friday (20:00 GMT).

"It was quite an uncomfortable afternoon, especially after the experience of last season when we lost to Barnet. When you make as many changes as we did then the flow of the team is interrupted."


Sheff Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 21VerripsSubstituted forHendersonat 41'minutes
  • 20Bryan
  • 15Jagielka
  • 26RodwellSubstituted forBashamat 58'minutes
  • 23OsbornBooked at 45mins
  • 8Freeman
  • 27Besic
  • 14Morrison
  • 18Freeman
  • 24Clarke
  • 11RobinsonSubstituted forStearmanat 88'minutes


  • 1Henderson
  • 4Fleck
  • 5O'Connell
  • 6Basham
  • 9McBurnie
  • 10Sharp
  • 19Stearman


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 31Hornby
  • 5Jameson
  • 6Whitmore
  • 4Byrne
  • 12Burke
  • 10Philliskirk
  • 8Croasdale
  • 11Williams
  • 27HaughtonSubstituted forYeatesat 65'minutes
  • 15BradleySubstituted forCraigenat 85'minutes
  • 9RoweSubstituted forWilloughbyat 65'minutes


  • 2Montrose
  • 16Taylor
  • 17Yeates
  • 18Willoughby
  • 21Lavercombe
  • 28Craigen
  • 33Kellett
Jarred Gillett

Match Stats

Home TeamSheff UtdAway TeamFylde
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sheffield United 2, AFC Fylde 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sheffield United 2, AFC Fylde 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, AFC Fylde. Conceded by Kieron Freeman.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Leon Clarke (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

  5. Post update

    Kieron Freeman (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Kurt Willoughby (AFC Fylde).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Leon Clarke (Sheffield United).

  8. Post update

    Neill Byrne (AFC Fylde) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Sheffield United. Richard Stearman replaces Callum Robinson.

  10. Post update

    Corner, AFC Fylde. Conceded by Ben Osborn.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jordan Williams (AFC Fylde) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, AFC Fylde. James Craigen replaces Danny Bradley.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Neill Byrne.

  14. Goal!

    Goal! Sheffield United 2, AFC Fylde 1. Jordan Williams (AFC Fylde) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Danny Bradley.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kean Bryan (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Luke Burke.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Luke Freeman (Sheffield United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Luke Burke.

  19. Post update

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

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Leon Clarke (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.


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