Ipswich 0 Sheffield United 1: A cracking goal to win, hails Wilder

Nathan Thomas of Sheffield Utd  celebrates scoring. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Nathan Thomas of Sheffield Utd celebrates scoring. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Nathan Thomas’s first-half goal earned Sheffield United a 1-0 FA Cup third-round win at Ipswich.

Thomas’ superb long-range effort in the 25th minute which flew into the top corner extended Ipswich’s miserable recent record in the competition.

The hosts have not won an FA Cup match since January 2010 and did not like ending that run on Saturday, failing to record a shot on goal in the 90 minutes.

Ipswich started brightly and after only two minutes when David McGoldrick set Freddie Sears away, but his pass back to his strike partner was cut out by left-back Jake Wright.

Town won the first corner of the match four minutes later and the home side claimed a penalty saying the ball struck the arm of Caolan Lavery, but referee Michael Jones was not interested.

Bersant Celina then weaved his way to the edge of the penalty area, but his shot was deflected wide.

And in the 20th minute a cross from the right by Sears just failed to find Celina in the area.

But shortly afterwards the hosts found themselves behind.

Thomas let fly with a wonderful left-footed strike from outside the area that flew into the top right corner of Bartosz Bialkowksi’s goal.

The visitors by now were controlling the tie and in the 38th minute Chris Basham broke free from his marker Luke Hyam and burst into the area, but his shot went wide.

Bialkowski’s goal was threatened again in the 48th minute when Billy Sharp bore down on him and then laid the ball off to half-time substitute Regan Slater, who fired over.

Sharp and Lavery combined moments later and this time the latter saw his shot cleared off the line.

Lavery had a header punched clear by the busy Bialkowski, while at the other end a cross from Celina found Callum Connolly in the area, but his header went just over the bar.

The Ipswich keeper came up for a free-kick deep into added time, but Celina’s set-piece was headed wide by Luke Chambers.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder was “immensely” pleased with his team’s win,

Wilder said: “I think we had some good chances just after half-time to take the game away from the opposition so we were a bit frustrated that we didn’t.

“Both teams made a few changes and fortunately our changes were just a touch better on the day than the opposition.

“It was a good goal... a cracking strike to win it.

“The consistency of the attitude by my team pleased me immensely and I have really enjoyed today. It wasn’t a free-flowing performance but it just shows what our players are all about that they pull a shirt on and they want to win.”