They’ve done it again! Sheffield United’s cup exploits under Nigel Clough claimed another scalp as the Blades saw off Premier League QPR at Loftus Road.
Marc McNulty put United in front in the first half and a quickfire strike from Jamal Campbell-Ryce after the break had the visitors 2-0 up before Campbell-Ryce sealed another momentous cup day for the Blades in injury time.
Last season Clough’s men saw off Aston Villa - a year ago today - before adding Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Charlton to the list of higher league opposition to be toppled. In the end a semi-final at Wembley against Hull City proved a step too far, but now United’s 2700 travelling fans and all those keeping up from home will be dreaming of another adventure.
And that’s not to mention this season’s Capital One Cup which has already seen West Ham and Southampton sunk by the knock out prowess of the Blades, with Tottenham coming up next.
Terry Kennedy and Louis Reed both started this afternoon’s tie as United made five changes to the starting 11 beaten by Port Vale last month.
McNulty and Flynn also featured against the Premier League club who included Rio Ferdinand and Charlie Austin in their team. Former United loanee Matt Phillips also took part for the hosts.
Rangers forced the first meaningful attack but Leroy Fer’s shot from a tight angle was saved by Mark Howard.
The keeper then conceded a corner which came to nothing before United won a corner at the other end.
Howard was in action again, saving a Jordon Mutch long shot.
United twice threatened, McNulty firing just over before Jose Baxter shot wide.
Renowned cup fighters United showed theur are in the mood again when taking a sensational 36th-minute lead at the Premier Division club.
McNulty then shocked the Loftus Road crowd with a right-footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner after Louis Reed set up the chance.
The hosts rallied well and twice went close, Mutch’s right-footer going outside the far post and Charlie Austin’s header being just over.
But the Blades gave Harry Redknapp’s men a mountain to climb when they went 2-0 up after 50 minutes when, following a Reed corner, Campbell-Ryce scored from close range.
The goal prompted another Rangers rally in which Bobby Zamora headed just off target, a Fer effort was blocked and a Charlie Austin long shot saved.
There were two bookings as the game hotted up, QPR’s Nedum Onuoha (66mins) being followed by first goal hero McNulty (68).
Phillips fired high for Rangers and Reed followed suit at the other end two minutes later.
Reed received a yellow card then United brought on Jamie Murphy in place of McNulty as the Blades went into the last 10 minutes still 2-0 up.
QPR pressed near the end but they didn’t really look like scoring and right at the death, in injury time Campbell-Ryce completed a superb personal and team performance by scoring a third goal and make sure those fans were looking ahead to a fourth round tie where they will fear no one.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS: McCarthy, Traore, Caulker, Ferdinand, Phillips, Austin, Fer, Onuoha, Mutch, Henry, Hoilett. Substitutes: Murphy, Hill, Isla, Vargas, Zamora, Furlong, Grego-Cox.
SHEFFIELD UNITED: Howard, Harris, Flynn, Doyle, Scougall, Baxter, McNulty, McEveley, Campbell-Ryce, Reed, Kennedy. Substitutes: Turner, Alcock, J Wallace, Murphy, McGahey, Higdon, Dimaio.
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg (County Durham),