Danny Wilson’s Sheffield United were dumped out of the FA Cup at the fourth round stage by Championship side Birmingham City, writes Robert Gledhill.
Blades chief Wilson resisted the temptation to rest players for the club’s League One promotion campaign.
He named the same starting XI he had employed for the previous Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at leaders Charlton Athletic for the fourth round FA Cup visit of Championship side Birmingham.
“It will be a great barometer of how far we have come this season,” said Wilson ahead of kick-off.
Striker James Beattie was missing due to suspension, having been sent off after coming on from the bench at Charlton.
The Blades made a decent start with Ched Evans testing second choice goalkeeper Colin Doyle with a long-range drive.
But it was Birmingham who took an 18th-minute lead from the game’s first corner. Jordon Mutch drove it in low and teenage prospect Nathan Redmond raced in from the left to hammer a right-footer inside Steve Simonsen’s right-hand post.
It was 2-0 to Birmingham before the break, Adam Rooney firing into the roof of the net from six yards despite a despairing challenge from Harry Maguire after Chris Burke had gone down the right and drilled the ball across at pace.
The Blades attacked the Kop end after the break, Lee Williamson smashing a shot against Doyle and Matt Lowton slicing the rebound against the post before the ball was cleared for a corner.
But the Blades were scuppered before the hour mark as defenders backed off as Wade Elliott attacked and struck home a right-footer from the edge of the area.
Having earlier replaced Lecsinel Jean-Francois with Marcus Williams, Wilson rested Cresswell and Quinn in the 72nd minute, introducing Chris Porter and Ryan Flynn as the Blades headed for a Cup exit.
Rooney made it 4-0 in the 79th minute, poking the ball home from David Murphy’s low cross after a period of possession football.
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