Sheffield Utd 3 Salisbury 1: Scott and his minnows take the plaudits from Blades chief Wilson
Wilson, who had named a strong side for the tie, said: “You can’t take away from Salisbury how they’ve approached the game. They were very offensive, but they also did a defensive job. They were very good coming forward at times and they’ve got some great pace in the team.
“We could have put the game to bed in the first half with the opportunities we created. We weren’t as clinical as we would have liked but their goalkeeper was outstanding.
“Going in only 1-0 down gave them some hope and they pushed us all the way.”
Salisbury’s energy and enthusiasm throughout one of the most memorable afternoons in their history – they had a 2,000-strong following – illustrated why Wilson had been right to approach the contest in a respectful manner.
United could have taken a 10th- minute lead when only Porter’s unwitting block prevented Evans’s fierce drive from entering the net.
With the Kop closed for business, the romance of the cup had clearly failed to stoke the United supporters’ ardour.
Ertl forced a smart reaction save from Mark Scott in the 13th minute and Flynn’s trickery forced an even better and braver block from Scott seven minutes later.
Moments later, though, Lee Williamson and Porter produced a moment of quality. A peach of a pass from deep sent the former Derby County striker scampering through and, having waited for Scott to commit, he stroked the ball home in cool, calm fashion.
Flynn unleashed a curling attempt but was denied by a flying save from the impressive Scott, who also prevented Porter from pouncing before McDonald shot over the bar before the break.
The Blades were nearly made to pay at the start of the second half when Marvin Williams, whose searing turn of pace made him a constant threat, dashed down the flank only to overrun the ball.
Wilson responded by introducing Cresswell and Beattie at the expense of Flynn and Porter five minutes after the restart.
Fitchett flashed a shot wide before McDonald’s shot deflected in off Evans with the Salisbury goalkeeper wrong-footed on the hour.
United’s third goal – which came as Webb inadvertently turned Evans’s 72nd-minute cross into his own net – was cruel on the visitors although it meant the scoreline did reflect the hosts’ dominance.
Knight replaced Fitchett for Salisbury soon after with substitute Macklin drilling home their 86th-minute consolation.
Sheffield United: Simonsen, Ertl, Maguire, Collins, Jean-Francois, Williamson (Chapell 78), Doyle, McDonald, Flynn (Cresswell 51), Evans, Porter (Beattie 51). Unused substitutes: Long, Montgomery, McAllister, Williams.
Salisbury City: Scott, Webb, Dutton, Giles,Brett, Adelsbury, Anderson, Clarke (Losasso 62), Williams, Reid (Macklin 62), Fitchett (Knight 81). Unused substitutes: Arthur, Casey, Kelly, Harris.
Referee: D Webb (County Durham).
Man of the match: Mark Scott.