Wrexham forced to settle for replay as Stoke put Aston Villa conquerors Stevenage out

Wrexham celebrate Credit: Alamy
Wrexham celebrate Credit: Alamy

National League leaders Wrexham were denied another FA Cup giant-killing as 10-man Championship high-flyers Sheffield United snatched a stoppage-time equaliser in an absorbing 3-3 draw.

The famous old Racecourse ground has witnessed its fair share of shocks – with a picture of Mickey Thomas’ famous free-kick goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup in 1992 hanging on the wall of the Turf Hotel adjoining the stadium – and this was almost one for a new era at the club.

Watched by one half of their Hollywood ownership duo in Ryan Reynolds, Paul Mullin’s 27th goal of the season four minutes from time looked like giving them a victory which was no more than they deserved after going behind after just 64 seconds.

Blades striker Daniel Jebbison’s senseless sending-off with 20 minutes to go undoubtedly helped their cause, although they were already in the ascendency before then, and they duly capitalised.

But just as they were contemplating a place in the fifth round, John Egan popped up with an equaliser to take the tie back to Bramall Lane.

It was a cruel blow for the side 70 places below their visitors, second in the Championship, but the performance was a ringing endorsement of the huge steps being made under the leadership of Reynolds and fellow actor Rob McElhenney.

Stevenage’s run came to an end as they were defeated 3-1 by Stoke in an entertaining tie.

The in-form League Two side, buoyed on by 3,291 travelling supporters, were eyeing passage to the fifth round of the competition for the first time since 2012.

However, their return to the midlands – where they came from behind to upset Unai Emery’s Aston Villa in the previous round – was an unhappy one.

The Potters took an early lead inside two minutes through Jacob Brown and assumed control.

Stevenage levelled in the second half through Villa Park hero Jamie Reid, but their reprieve was short-lived thanks to Josh Laurent’s magnificent effort and then Lewis Baker added a late third with a controversial late penalty.

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