Tommy Doyle’s last-gaps screamer wins it for Sheffield United in classic against Blackburn


It was a worthy winner. The 90 minutes had passed when Tommy Doyle found himself with just a little space.  Extra time loomed, a pulsating cup tie locked at two a piece. 

Blackburn Rovers swarmed to close the space, but the Manchester City loanee got his shot away. Aynsley Pears’ dive was despairing, Bramall Lane shock and Sheffield United were heading to Wembley. 

They are no strangers to late delirium in this season’s FA Cup, having rescued themselves against Wrexham – twice – in time-added on. Supporters’ nerves will be shredded, but that will matter little. Their senses, as Annie’s Song dictates, have been filled. 

Naturally, there was heartbreak too, for Blackburn Rovers, Jon Dahl Tomasson and their 6,000 travelling fans. What they had lacked in terms of pure quality and guile, they had given in effort and grit. 

Rovers had taken the lead when Sam Gallagher’s shot was tipped over by Wes Foderingham via a Jack Robinson block. All seemed fine. And all would have been fine had this been United’s previous round upset of Tottenham. But since last season, all quarter-finals have Var in place. 

And so Tim Robinson was invited to watch replays that showed the ball struck his namesake’s hand. After a protected viewing, a penalty was awarded. Did Robinson make his body unnaturally bigger? Probably, although it does not sit well. Ben Brereton-Diaz cared little, converting coolly, before stoking up the Kop with his celebration. “That’s what we’ll have t’put up with next season, eh?,” muttered one fan.  

United levelled when Gallagher’s headed clearance fell Max Lowe’s way on the box’s edge. A first-time left footed volley was drifting comfortably wide, only for Gallagher’s right knee to deflect it past a helpless Pears. 

Home fans’ frustration at the officiating only grew, but it was the visitors who could feel aggrieved. Booked for his earlier handball, Jack Robinson was fortunate to avoid a second yellow for a late challenge on Ryan Hedges. It was that type of guts, thunder and blood cup-tie but had he not already been in the book, a card surely would have come. 

The interval did not slow the frenetic pace. Foderingham was at the double, first denying Harry Pickering before jumping up to save from Brereton-Diaz. 

Then United were sloppy in possession and suddenly Gallagher was threading Sammie Szmodics in on-goal. The finish was deft, the celebrations wild. Hedges almost added a third, his strike hitting the inside of the post. What might have been. 

Minutes crept by, agonisingly for visiting supporters, rapidly for those in the other end. Billy Sharp had been introduced and Daniel Jebbison was poised to join him. Presumably for Ollie McBurnie, who halted his removal by twisting and slotting in an equaliser.  Soon came Doyle’s strike, and “Que, sara, sara” was struck up.