Tom O'Connor: Kilkenny native had put non-league Wrexham 2-1 up against their Premier League-bound opponents. PA
hollywood ending

John Egan snatches 95th-minute equaliser to deny Wrexham fairytale FA Cup upset

Kilkenny’s Tom O’Connor had earlier given Wrexham the lead in an FA Cup classic at the Racecourse Ground.

Wrexham 3-3 Sheffield United

EVERY GOOD HOLLYWOOD story needs a Hollywood villain — and Ireland’s John Egan happily filled the role with a 95th-minute equaliser to save Sheffield United and deny non-league Wrexham their fairytale FA Cup upset.

Wrexham co-owner Ryan Reynolds celebrated his club’s three goals wildly in the stands, but then had to watch on in anguish as the Welsh side conceded deep into stoppage time to spare their Premier League-bound opponents.

Wrexham are top of the National League and eyeing a return to the Football League, but they could not have got off to a worse start as Oli McBurnie headed the Blades in front after 61 seconds.

Sheffield United, who currently sit second in the Championship, were rocked by a pulsating atmosphere inside the Racecourse Ground.

The home side struck twice in 11 minutes early in the second half to turn the tie around as James Jones and Kilkenny’s Tom O’Connor scored from set-pieces.

Oli Norwood looked to have ended the Wrexham dream with a composed finish to equalise.

But a red card for Daniel Jebbison for an off-the-ball incident handed the hosts 20 minutes with an extra man to find the winner.

They seemed set for their Disney finish when top scorer Paul Mullin steered home in the 86th minute.

However, there was a final late twist in the plot as Egan forced home a corner in the 95th minute to force a replay.

Mullin said he was “very disappointed” to concede so near the end of the match.

“If we just hold on against 10 men then we are through,” he told the BBC.

“I thought we were the better team throughout the game, creating chances and looking dangerous on the break. We limited them to not many chances in open play.

“I’m so proud of everyone. We’ve worked so hard to get here. We came into the game thinking we could win and we had a game plan. Unfortunately it hasn’t quite paid off but I think when the dust settles tomorrow we’ll be proud of it.”

Should they win the replay, Wrexham would reach the last 16 of the FA Cup for the first time since 1997.

– © AFP 2023

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