Egan rewrites Wrexham’s Hollywood script
National League leaders Wrexham were denied another giant FA Cup kill as a stoppage-time equalizer from Republic of Ireland defender John Egan ensured the Championship high-flyers at 10 men Sheffield United forced a replay after an absorbing 3-3 draw.
The famed former Hippodrome ground has seen its fair share of shocks – with a photo of Mickey Thomas’ famous free-kick against Arsenal in the FA Cup in 1992 hanging on the wall of the Turf Hotel adjoining the stadium – and it was almost a for a new era at the club.
Watched by half of their Hollywood ownership duo in Ryan Reynolds, Paul Mullin’s 27th goal of the season with four minutes to go looked to give them a win that was no more than they deserved after taking some delay after only 64 seconds.
The senseless sending off of Blades striker Daniel Jebbison 20 minutes from time undoubtedly helped their cause, although they had already taken the upper hand before that, and they duly capitalized.
But just as they were eyeing a fifth-round berth, Egan appeared with an equalizer to tie Bramall Lane.
It was a cruel blow for the team 70 places below their visitors, second in the Championship, but the performance was a resounding endorsement of the huge strides made under the guidance of Reynolds and fellow actor Rob McElhenney.
Only in the second minute, Oli McBurnie slid his marker Jordan Tunnicliffe to head Tommy Doyle’s corner past Luke Young who was guarding the near post.
In another blow for the hosts, Tunnicliffe was sent off after picking up the injury trying to stop the striker and by the 10th minute Wrexham had been forced into another change with the second member of their back five, Aaron Hayden, also starting with a calf problem.
Mark Howard saved well in the first quarter from Jebbison and Doyle but, after weathering the early storm, the home side finished the half strong and, with a bit more composure, could have fired more of his efforts.
The National League team was brought back into the game by Mullin, who did everything but score in the first half.
Early on he went down claiming a penalty for a foul after ramming Anthony Forde’s ball over the ball and, while the striker had had the first touch, there was no contact from the goalkeeper. goal Adam Davies.
In seven minutes of added time, Mullin passed Jaden Bogel after Howard’s quick exit from a Sheffield United corner and his raspy drive was denied by Davies.
With the last chance of half-time, he clung on to Chris Basham’s attempted clearance under pressure from Ollie Palmer only to be knocked down at the edge of the box by Egan, the Wrexham striker sending in his free-kick in the wall.
Just five minutes into the second half, Davies could only parry Young’s long-range shot, creating a stampede from which the visitors went out of play.
Another long throw from Tozer caused chaos in the box with the ball falling to James Jones, an early replacement for Hayden, on McBurnie’s shoulder and he snagged home a clever close-range finish.
In the 61st minute, Tozer followed his own throw to earn a corner with a deflected shot and Young’s inswinging corner hit substitute Billy Sharp in the chest, with Tom O’Connor reacting quickest to strike home.
The celebrations were cut short as four minutes later Oliver Norwood returned a weak effort after the ball bounced in the Wrexham area.
The visitors shot themselves in the foot when Jebbison was sent off for a no-ball clash with Tozer at the halfway line after referee Dean Whitestone took advice from fourth official Scott Oldham.
Palmer fired a shot against the underside of the crossbar which bounced inches off the line before Mullin sparked wild scenes when, found in space 10 yards out, he ran through the goalkeeper’s legs to maintain his goalscoring record in every round of the competition, including qualifying.
But Egan’s distant equalizer from a free kick spared the Blades blushes.
When @RMcElhenney and I walked into it all, it all seemed so impossible. But impossible is @Wrexham_AFCfavorite color of. It was one of the most exciting things I have EVER seen. Thank you to all the Wrexham supporters who came out and directed your hearts to this pitch tonight pic.twitter.com/s4dbCDJS7W
Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) January 29, 2023
Earlier, StevenageThe run in the competition came to an end when they were beaten 3-1 by Feed in a fun tie.
The in-form Ligue 2 side, backed by 3,291 traveling supporters, were eyeing a place in 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 unfortunate.
The Potters took the lead in less than two minutes through Jacob Brown and took control.
Stevenage equalized in the second half through Villa Park hero Jamie Reid but their reprieve was short-lived thanks to a magnificent effort from Josh Laurent and then Lewis Baker added a late third from the penalty spot.
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