Wrexham's magical run in the FA Cup isn't over yet after the fifth-tier side almost stunned a Sheffield United team that's targeting a return to the Premier League before settling for a bonkers 3-3 draw on Sunday, forcing a fourth round replay at Bramall Lane.
With Manchester City and Arsenal playing their fixture Friday, this felt like the weekend's biggest cup match: It was a sellout crowd of over 10,000 at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground, Ryan Reynolds was in attendance and so was the BBC team with Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker.
It took all of 61 seconds for things to come undone with Sheffield United's Oli McBurnie scoring a bullet header off Tommy Doyle's corner. McBurnie has a wealth of PL experience and Doyle is a 21-year-old on loan from Manchester City. Wrexham was in danger of being overrun by the Championship club.
The header @oli_mcburnie with an early goal for @SheffieldUnited#EmiratesFACup pic.twitter.com/LqYjJ06X5X— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) January 29, 2023
Wrexham's back five was also rocked inside the opening 11 minutes with central defenders Jordan Tunnicliffe and Aaron Hayden both forced off with injuries. But the home support remained undiminished, and Wrexham got a foothold in the match and showed some menace on the counter and with the long throw-in over the following 43 minutes while Paul Mullin let it rip with four shots.
At the sound of the halftime whistle, there was reason to believe that Wrexham could find the goal necessary to force a replay at Bramall Lane. It took all of five minutes for that faith to be repaid as another long Wrexham throw was eventually turned home by Scottish midfielder James Jones.
THE MAGIC OF THE FA CUP!WREXHAM LEVEL WITH SHEFFIELD UNITED pic.twitter.com/p6sDff9vhM
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 29, 2023
Suddenly Wrexham wasn't only targeting a replay — they had 40 minutes to find an unfathomable winner. In the 61st, the competition allowed Wrexham supporters to truly dream: A corner kick fell straight to Thomas O'Connor and the Racecourse exploded. Hell, even SportsCenter shared the highlight. You could watch SportsCenter the entire day after the World Cup final and not see a single replay of goals from Lionel Messi or Kylian Mbappé, but they clearly love their Red Dragons.
THE MOMENT WREXHAM TOOK THE LEAD ON CHAMPIONSHIP SIDE SHEFFIELD UNITED IN THE FA CUP @ESPNPlus pic.twitter.com/dNcPSswtTH— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 29, 2023
But the ecstasy only lasted four minutes. Sheffield's Oliver Norwood equalized in the 65th.
Finished by Oliver Norwood at the second time of asking for @SheffieldUnited @SheffieldUnited ⚔️ #EmiratesFACup pic.twitter.com/bWnhLgT0Qv— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) January 29, 2023
The twists were arriving by the minute, and in the 71st Sheffield's Daniel Jebbison was suddenly given a straight red card after the fourth official spotted a little off-the-ball kick. The Blades were down to 10 men for the final 20 minutes.
The man-advantage almost contributed to a Hollywood ending. Wrexham sensed their superiority and sent men forward to find the winner, and in the 86th minute Mullin got his deserved goal.
WREXHAM LEAD 3-2 AGAINST SHEFFIELD IN THE FA CUP!!! pic.twitter.com/frVk9RnT2Y— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 29, 2023
Sheffield took control of possession searching for an equalizer in seven minutes of stoppage-time, and crushingly for Wrexham, it arrived in the 95th. 3-3.
Heartbreak for Wrexham. Absolute joy for Sheffield.THE FA CUP pic.twitter.com/Vb9OynWAIE
— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) January 29, 2023
Wrexham discover their potential fifth round (last-16) opponent during Monday's draw, shortly following the completion of West Ham vs. Derby County, but first they'll need to beat the Blades in a replay at 33,000-seat Brammal Lane.