The Blades travelled to London on Monday night for a fourth round FA Youth Cup clash with Millwall at The New Den, the winners set to host Everton in the next round.
Having beaten Bolton Wanderers on penalties in the previous round, the Blades had to settle for the same route again after mounting an impressive comeback in the capital.
The home side got the game underway and were immediately on the front foot, winning a corner but failing to take advantage with the referee blowing up for a Blades free kick. After a half chance for Coustrain, Millwall threatened again as the ball took a fortunate bounce for Farrell who hit the ball over Eastwood’s bar with a half-volley.
The Blades were struggling to get into any kind of rhythm, but showed a glimpse with a great passage of play starting under pressure in the left back position and working clinically forward to create a chance for Whiteman who sadly couldn’t finish the move.
Always threatening, the home side were back down the other end and won a free kick 20 yards out in a dangerous position. Farrell stepped up and drilled in a hard and low effort that somehow found its way through Eastwood and into the back of the net.
Confident after taking the lead, Millwall pressed forward again Onyedinma poking an effort wide after a one-two with Philpot. Alfie Pavey was next to try his luck, fighting his way past three Blades before seeing his shot blocked for a corner.
Trying to use their height and strength to their advantage, the home side caused havok with successive corners but Evans was on hand to eventually clear the danger and allow the Blades to push forward themselves. Ishmail had a go from distance, seeing his shot blocked, before a quick free kick from Dimaio found Scarisbrick who forced a corner.
Millwall dealt with the corner fairly easily and it wouldn’t be long until they were to extend their lead. Thompson picked the ball up in midfield and fired across Eastwood into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
The Blades were yet to get started, struggling to get hold of the game and up to their usual standard and were nearly made to pay again… Pavey was picked out after being left unmarked at the back post and should have made it three, thankfully he hit the side netting, allowing the Blades to trudge off at half time only two down.
Ishmail, having taken a knock before the break was replaced at half time by Diego DeGirolamo, the change encouraging the Blades to go back to a more familiar shape. It was a lively start to the second half as Jake Eyre shot just over the bar before feeding DeGirolamo who beat his man before firing wide.
The Blades were looking more positive and enjoying more of the ball, pushing to try and get an all important early goal. After receiving treatment for a knock on the head, Dimaio had a pop from 30 yards, but his shot was well over the bar. It wasn’t long before the improved play was rewarded, Evans headed a corner down and Jake Eyre was the first to react, smashing the ball home from 6 yards.
United continued to push men forward and as they did so, Millwall looked to counter, with Pavey wasting a good chance by dragging his shot wide. Shortly after, the Blades were given a chance to draw level as Jake Eyre was felled in the box as he ran at a Millwall defender. The referee didn’t hesitate in pointing to the spot and Ben Whiteman stepped up before putting the ball into the top corner, leaving the keeper with no chance.
There was then panic in the opposite box as a Millwall long ball eventually found Onyedinma, but thankfully he put the ball wide.
Jake Eyre’s cross was cleared as far as Calvert-Lewin, but his shot was straight at Beadle in the Millwall goal. With the Blades looking to get themselves in front for the first time in the game, DeGirolamo picked the ball up on half way, and drove forward into the penalty area before shooting just over from a tight angle.
It wasn’t all one way traffic and Philpot made Eastwood uncomfortable with an attempted lob, which, despite knocking to the floor, he dealt with. The Blades were on top though and as the locals grew restless, Coustrain beat three men and forced a great diving save from the home keeper.
Jake Eyre was the next to be cursing his luck as he ran onto a perfect through ball from Calvert-Lewin before seeing his shot creep all of an inch wide of the far post with the keeper beaten. DeGirolamo repeated the task shortly after, with an effort equally as close to the bottom corner.
Both sides sensed that the 90 minutes was near to a close and traded more direct, end to end attempts to win the game, neither side creating anything clear cut as the evening headed into extra time.
Jake Eyre looked to have got a golden opportunity early in the first half of extra time as the hard working striker ran clear of the defence, but sadly the linesman had other ideas and it was brought back for an offside.
Farrell looked to replicate his earlier free kick after substitute Adeloye was fouled by Banton 25 yards out, but the wall did its job and blocked the shot.
It was all United for the remainder of the half, Eyre’s goalbound shot was blocked by the head of a defender, Calvert-Lewin curled a shot past the far post and DeGirolamo saw an attempt blocked after good work by the afformentioned two.
After switching sides, the tiredness of both teams was becoming obvious, with a few struggling with cramp and the trading of possession due to heavy touches by struggling feet. Adeloye beat Eastwood with an effort which Scarisbrick managed to turn over the bar before Twardeck was presented with a great chance to finish the game. With the goal at his mercy, thankfully for the Blades, he shot straight into Eastwood’s chest. There was just time for Calvert-Lewin to see an effort bravely blocked before the referee brought the game to a close.
So, it was on to penalties again…
Sheffield United U18 Win 8-7 on penalties:
1st Penalty – Pavey (Millwall) – MISSED.
2nd Penalty – Whiteman (Sheffield United) – MISSED.
3rd Penalty – Onyedinma (Millwall) – SCORED.
4th Penalty – Cockerline (Sheffield United) – SCORED.
5th Penalty – Wood (Millwall) – MISSED.
6th Penalty – DeGirolamo (Sheffield United) – SCORED.
7th Penalty – Guinchard (Millwall) – SCORED.
8th Penalty – Dimaio (Sheffield United) – SCORED.
9th Penalty – Twardek (Millwall) – SCORED.
10th Penalty – Paling (Sheffield United) – MISSED.
11th Penalty – Adeloye (Millwall) – SCORED.
12th Penalty – Calvert-Lewin (Sheffield United) – SCORED.
13th Penalty – Danquah (Millwall) – SCORED.
14th Penalty – Scarisbrick (Sheffield United) – SCORED.
15th Penalty – Rylah (Millwall) – SCORED.
16th Penalty – Evans (Sheffield United) – SCORED.
17th Penalty – Farrell (Millwall) – SCORED.
18th Penalty – Banton (Sheffield United) – SCORED.
19th Penalty – Nelson (Millwall) – MISSED.
20th Penalty – Reed (Sheffield United) – SCORED.
Millwall U18 – Beadle, Brown (Guinchard 90′), Nelson, Wood, Farrell, Thompson (Twardek, 76′), Danquah, Rylah, Philpot (Adeloye 82′), Onyedinma, Pavey.
Unused Subs: Peter, Goodman.
Sheffield United U18 – Eastwood, Scarisbrick, Banton, Evans, Paling, Dimaio, Whiteman, Calvert-Lewin, Ishmail (De Girolamo 46′), Coustrain (Reed 76′), Eyre (Cockerline 110′)
Unused Subs: Owen, Cheeseman.