The best bits and the worst bits of Sheffield United's FA Cup win over Millwall

The Star’s Sheffield United writer James Shield selects his high point, and tries to identify a low point, following the FA Cup fourth round win over Millwall.

Sunday, 26th January 2020, 10:46 am
Updated Sunday, 26th January 2020, 5:17 pm

HIGH: Two moments of quality - the first from Mo Besic before Oliver Norwood conjured a second - ultimately proved enough the settle this FA Cup tie at The Den. But it was the sense of purpose and conviction they displayed, particularly during the second-half, which laid the foundations for Sheffield United’s march into the fifth round. Even though they were only promoted from the Championship nine months ago, their success in the Premier League so far this term could have convinced Chris Wilder’s players that progress, after being drawn against Championship opposition, was basically assured. Of course, nothing would have been further from the truth; especially against opponents as determined and hard-working as Millwall, whose own attitude would have exposed any chinks in United’s psychological armoury. This wasn’t the most swashbuckling United display of recent years. It would have been impossible to produce one on such a difficult pitch. But it was one of the most resolute and, given the circumstances, focused too.

LOW: Was there one? Probably not. Okay, so the pitch wasn’t the best but that isn’t a complaint. Just a fact of life when you travel to a club which doesn’t have the resources to install one of the hybrid surfaces which are now par for the course in the Premier League. It wouldn’t have been an excuse either, because United’s players, the overwhelming majority of whom have experienced life on the lower rungs of England’s footballing ladder, will have played on a lost worse. Oldham’s muddy sandpit from a few years ago anyone? The atmosphere was good, not least during the second-half as both sets of fans got right behind their teams. Even Wilder admitted afterwards that he enjoyed some of the exchanges with the Millwall fans sat behind the away dug-out in the Barry Kitchener Stand. So perhaps the only low, if it counts, was the fact that Billy Sharp failed to convert a late chance after Besic and Norwood had pounced. The United captain’s performances over the past three games have deserved a goal. And but for a decent save by Bartosz Bialkowski, he would have left south London with one.

The Star's Sheffield United writer James Shield: Scott Merrylees