Thu, Feb 06, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Blades strike late to oust Cottagers

AFP, LONDON

Sheffield United’s Shaun Miller celebrates scoring the winning goal against Fulham in their FA Cup fourth-round replay at Craven Cottage in London on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Third-tier Sheffield United scored in the last minute of extra-time to dump sorry Premier League strugglers Fulham out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory on Tuesday.

The fourth-round replay at a rain-soaked Craven Cottage in London was almost completely devoid of goalmouth incident and looked destined for penalties until Shaun Miller snatched a dramatic winner in the 120th minute.

Miller’s header, from Harry Maguire’s knock-down, gave United a second successive victory against top-flight opposition after a previous success against Aston Villa in the third round.

“It is unbelievable,” Miller told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I am delighted to get the goal for my little son, who was born a few weeks ago. I am made up for him.”

It was the latest indignity in a desperate recent run for Fulham, who have slipped to the foot of the Premier League table after a run of four consecutive league defeats.

“We know that we’ve only got ourselves to blame,” said manager Rene Meulensteen, who takes Fulham to his former club Manchester United in the league on Sunday. “At the end of the day, that’s what we need to do. We need to look each other in the eye and say: ‘Let’s pick ourselves up and dig ourselves out of it.’”

“If you talk about this game and you say: ‘Have we hit rock-bottom?’ We probably have. OK, fine, that’s it, and if we have hit rock-bottom, it can’t get any worse and it can only get better, so that’s what we need to work for,” he said.

Sheffield United are themselves second from bottom of League One after a sequence of one win in seven games, but Nigel Clough’s side can now look forward to a home tie against either Preston North End or Nottingham Forest in the fifth round.

“If you hang on in there at 0-0, you always have that opportunity,” said Blades manager Clough, who began his playing career at Forest under his late father, legendary manager Brian Clough. “It was remarkable from the players out there. I thought we did enough in the game to get one goal.”

“We had an off day on Saturday at Crewe [Alexandra losing 3-0], but we put it behind us and produced a performance like this tonight. It is special, but we have to improve in the league,” Clough said.

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