Sheffield United 1 QPR 1
By Ben Kosky ANYONE who sampled the unappetising league clash between these teams just before Christmas must have been looking forward to better fare second time around. Unfortunately, they had to go hungry again – and the bad news is that, following Sund
By Ben Kosky
ANYONE who sampled the unappetising league clash between these teams just before Christmas must have been looking forward to better fare second time around.
Unfortunately, they had to go hungry again - and the bad news is that, following Sunday's repeat performance in the FA Cup, there will be a third helping to come next week.
And it'll be a brave punter who places his hard-earned squarely behind one of the sides claiming the dubious privilege of a trip to Bolton, at least without enduring extra-time and a penalty shoot-out first.
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A bumpy Bramall Lane pitch and near-freezing conditions did not exactly aid flowing football, but the fact that neither goalkeeper had more than a routine save to make throughout tells you plenty.
It was the Blades, fielding four strikers in the starting line-up, who posed a greater threat, especially on the rare occasions they were able to get past Kaspars Gorkss.
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A slip from Gorkss allowed Henri Camara to break into the penalty area and his cutback was slammed against the crossbar by Jamie Ward.
The tricky Camara seemed set to score soon afterwards when Andy Taylor's cross foxed the Latvian defender, but Gary Borrowdale's last-ditch challenge saved Rangers.
It took the visitors 27 minutes to muster a shot at goal - and then it was a tame one from Jay Simpson that caused Mark Bunn minimum fuss, but the Rs began to take control as half-time approached.
Alejandro Faurlin forced a reaction save from Bunn before Wayne Routledge's cross found its way through to Simpson, who finished neatly to give his side the lead six minutes from the break.
But the advantage lasted only until first-half injury time, when Stephen Quinn swung over a cross from the right and Richard Cresswell stole in front of Damion Stewart to head the equaliser.
Shaky defending encouraged the Blades to build on that platform in the second half and Radek Cerny kept out two efforts from Camara, while Ward speared another wide.
The Rangers keeper was fortunate to escape an embarrassing repeat of his clanger against Leicester when a sloppy clearance rebounded off Ward, but he recovered before Camara could take advantage.
The home supporters in a paltry crowd of just over 11,000 began to sense their luck might be out when they hit the bar a second time, Ched Evans drilling a thunderous 30-yard free-kick against the woodwork.
Although they offered little in the second period, Rangers might have settled the tie in their favour when substitute Heidar Helguson latched onto Routledge's cross late on.
But Lee Williamson scrambled the ball away to ensure that, if the Rs are to end their FA Cup drought, they'll do it the hard way - and probably not the pretty way either.