U's blunted by Blades in FA Cup
Cambridge United exited the FA Cup on Sunday lunch-time as League One Sheffield United inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Richard Money’s men.
Jose Baxter opened the scoring after 12 minutes, and despite long periods of possession United were unable to fashion many clear-cut chances in the first period.
And they were punished after the break when Blades substitute Jamie Murphy drilled in a second goal to book Nigel Clough’s men a spot in the third round draw.
United named an unchanged line-up from the team which dumped Bury out of the cup on Tuesday, and could’ve had a penalty in the first minute when Kwesi Appiah’s shot appeared to be stopped by a defender’s out-stretched arm. But the referee waved away the appeals and it was the visitors who hit the front in the 12th minute.
Flynn found space on the right to drill in a low cross, and Baxter was able to make a yard of space and dispatch a crisp powerful finish past the helpless Maxwell.
The U’s could’ve equalised immediately, Harrison Dunk sprinting down the left, nutmegging a defender before slipping the ball inside for the unmarked Adam Cunnington, whose shot was blocked by the body of George Long.
This set the tone for a half dominated by the U’s, but crucially they couldn’t force Long into action. The Blades keeper saved a low shot from Luke Berry, but other than that was largely untested despite United seeing a lot of the ball around the edge of the box.
After the break United resumed their dominance for the first ten minutes, Hughes seeing another penalty appeal turned down a low cross-cum-shot from Dunk being pushed out by Long.
But Murphy’s second goal ensured the visitors enjoyed a comfortable last 30 minutes. A lovely pass from Doyle found the winger, an early substitute for Stephen McGinn, and he cut in from the flank before riding one challenge and firing a low shot into the corner.
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Tait, Taylor, Coulson, Miller, Hughes, Dunk (Arnold 82), Berry, Champion, Cunnington (Roberts 60), Appiah. Subs not used: Bonner, Austin, Sam-Yorke, Spillane, Brown.
Sheffield United: Long, Maguire, Hill, Flynn, Collins, Coady, Lappin, McGinn (Murphy 23), Doyle, Porter (Taylor 86), Baxter. Subs not used: Howard, Miller, Cuvelier, Brandy, Kennedy.
Referee: Mr O.Langford.
Attendance: 4,593 (away 558)
FULL TIME: Cambridge United 0-2 Sheffield United
13.49: Three minutes to be added, Arnold sprints down the left and delivers a cross that finds Berry, but he shoots wide.
13.45: Changes for both sides, as Dunk goes off to be replaced by Arnold, and Taylor is on again for Porter.
13.35: YELLOW CARD. Ref evens the card count up as Dunk bursts past Hill and is brought down. Free kick, but United can't capitalise and its headed away.
13.33: YELLOW CARD. Appiah in the book for a foul on Flynn. United been deflated since the second goal. Today's attendance 4,593 (away 558).
13.17: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-2 SHEFFIELD UNITED. All to do for United now, as Doyle spreads play wide to JAMIE MURPHY. He cuts in from the flank, rides a couple of challenges and fires a low shot past Maxwell. Good finish from Murphy, Richard Money makes an immediate change, Kev Roberts replacing Cunnington.
13.11: Good chance on the break as Murphy hares down the left and delivers a cross for Porter, who can only guide a header into Maxwell's arms.
13.07: Ooft, great chance for Berry, gets free at the near post but can only head well wide, got his bearings wrong there. United try another shout for handball soon afterwards, Dunk's cross pushed out to Hughes, but his shot clearly off the chest of a defender.
13.05: Big shout for a penalty as Hughes get free in the box and chips in a cross which is blocked away for a corner off a defender's arms. to be fair to the Blades man, Maguire, his arms were across his body, would've been a harsh one I think.
13.04: Back underway here at the R Costings Abbey Stadium, 0-1.
HALF TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-1 SHEFFIELD UNITED
12.43: Two minutes to be added. United pressing for the last few minutes without creating any chances of note. Still all to play for, Richard Money will be largely pleased with this performance I'd imagine.
12.31: Luke Berry with a wonderful diving block to foil a Lappin shot, and United charge down the other end, Greg Taylor receiving the ball 25 yards out and having a dig, but seeing his effort fly a few yards over the bar.
12.23: Sheffield United forced into an early change, McGinn being replaced by Murphy.
12.18: United causing problems for the visitors, Berry with a low snapshot held by Long, then Dunk gets in down the right but his low cross is hacked clear.
12.15: Oh Adam Cunnington, great chance for an immediate equaliser. Dunk beats his man and feeds the ball into Cunnington, who is free in a central position, but delays his shot and the keeper blocks. United have a corner but it's well defended by the League One side.
12.14: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-1 SHEFFIELD UNITED. Thirteen minutes in and the visitors lead. Flynn with a low driven cross from the Sheff Utd right, and JOSE BAXTER dispatches a crisp first-time finish from near the penalty spot.
12.10: Sheffield United with a corner now as Tait blocks a cross, but it's headed away by Hughes. United have switched to a 4-5-1 shape to match up the visitors, Hughes dropping into a central position and Appiah and Dunk flanking Cunnington.
12.06: Chris Maxwell makes a diving save to stop Jose Baxter's header, clinging on at the second attempt.
12.04: Early U's corner as Berry is crowded out. In it comes from Dunk, Hughes helps it on to Appiah, whose shot on the turn is blocked. Big shout for handball but the ref isn't having any of it.
12.01: Kick off, U's vs Sheffield United.
11.57: The teams are out, and after a minute's applause for Nelson Mandela the match will get underway. United will be attacking the massed ranks of the amber army in the Newmarket Road End.
11.53: Seven minutes till kick off, the R Costings Abbey Stadium is filling up nicely. Last time Sheffield United came here, the match ended in a 1-0 U's win, with Steve Spriggs scoring the only goal.
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Tait, Taylor, Coulson, Miller, Hughes, Dunk, Berry, Champion, Cunnington, Appiah. Subs: Roberts, Bonner, Austin, Sam-Yorke, Spillane, Arnold, Brown.
Sheffield United: Long, Maguire, Hill, Flynn, Collins, Coady, Lappin, McGinn, Doyle, Porter, Baxter. Subs: Howard, Taylor, Miller, Cuvelier, Brandy, Murphy, Kennedy.
11.15: TEAM NEWS. No surprises in the United line-up, an unchanged team from Tuesday's 2-1 over Bury. Two changes for the visitors, with Ryan Flynn and Simon Lappin coming into the line-up
10.55: Yes, it is 10.55, and I am sitting in a football ground. This unusual state of affairs is because Cambridge United are soon to face League One Sheffield United in the second round of the FA Cup. The U's will be looking to book a place in this afternoon's third round draw, but to do that they'll need to cause a major upset against Nigel Clough's men.