Football: JOE'S BOYS SUNK BY A PESKY SUB; Sheff United 4 Ipswich 3 Blades Win a Battle Royle

The People (London, England), January 26, 2003 | Go to article overview

Football: JOE'S BOYS SUNK BY A PESKY SUB; Sheff United 4 Ipswich 3 Blades Win a Battle Royle


Byline: Alan NIXON

PAUL PESCHISOLIDO came off the bench to scramble the last-gasp winner that spared United from bowing to a monumental FA Cup fightback.

Canadian Pesch arrived with just a few minutes left and popped up to turn in a close-range shot which gave this stunning tie a final twist.

Ipswich had somehow scored three times in four minutes to stand just seconds from a replay they almost clutched from nowhere.

Blades boss Neil Warnock said with a smile: "What was it like to watch? Deary me!

"I've got to take my hat off to the players again. Ipswich must have thought they could win it after their comeback, but that's the magic of the FA Cup for you.

"Once again, we're in the next round of the Cup. Who would I want? Liverpool at home!"

But a stunned Royle groaned: "I don't know how we lost that game. I would have been doubly disappointed with a draw.

"We missed so many chances and yet they scored four and our keeper hadn't a save to make.

"It was so cruel after coming back from three down. I was sure we would go on to win it."

In a game that defied logic, United had been 3-0 ahead and coasting before Town boss Joe Royle pulled a master stroke by sending on flying sub Darren Bent.

The youngster's pace injected fresh life into his side and helped create the atmosphere that produced the super-fast scoring spree.

Tommy Gaardsoe curled in a shot from the edge of the box which had all the look of a consolation until dashing Darren and his pals pounced.

It was definitely game-on as Tommy Miller was brought down in the box and got up to convert the spot-kick.

And the astonishing happened as Darren Bent streaked away to hit a marvellous third goal that turned the contest completely on its head.

Until that rapid-fire run of goals, United had been on their way to the fifth round in a tie that was a triumph for their unsung midfield hero.

Birthday boy Michael Brown - 26 yesterday - turned on the kind of mature display that makes him one of the best midfielders around.

And it was especially sweet as boss Royle once let Brown leave Manchester City... a decision that came back to haunt him yesterday.

Brown was one of the more experienced United players in an understrength team and he grabbed his third and fourth crucial goals in four matches.

Midfield sidekick Stuart McCall's neat pass played in Brown, who promptly flicked the ball up and pinged a sweet shot into the far corner in the 19th minute.

It was the opener Neil Warnock's men needed against an Ipswich team enjoying a nine-game unbeaten run.

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