By Paul Jones
Wrexham could almost see the lights of the fifth round of the FA Cup but their hopes were plunged into darkness by a late John Egan equaliser.
The National League side were in dreamland after talisman Paul Mullin put the Welsh side ahead in the tie for the first time in the match in the 86th minute, but a late goal for Sheffield United forced a replay with the game finishing level at 3-3.
Former Swansea City striker Oli McBurnie gave the Blades the lead after just 64 seconds but goals from James Jones and Tom O’Connor early in the second half put the Welsh club 2-1 up.
Wrexham were on course for, yet another cup upset when Mullin put the hosts 3-2 ahead after Daniel Jebbison saw red for an off the ball incident with Ben Tozer.
But Sheffield United dug deep to level the game at 3-3 deep into additional time, ensuring their name stays in the hat.
Last week my little boy was diagnosed with autism luckily I have great people around me to help. Albi being Autistic doesn’t mean nothing he’s a happy and healthy boy no different to anyone else! Just a few hurdles in his way that am sure he will clear! ❤️ #autismawareness pic.twitter.com/DoLpMQRuaK
— Paul Mullin (@PMullin7) January 27, 2023
“The start we had, conceding a goal and losing two players (Jordan Tunnicliffe and Aaron Hayden to injury), for the team to reset ourselves as well as we did, I thought was outstanding,” said Parkinson.
“When that happens heads can drop quickly, and people start looking around for excuses and there wasn’t any of that. I thought the lads were immense.
“These are a good side, as their league position suggests, and they have Premier League written all over them but we pinned them back for long periods and it’s a real blow we didn’t get over the line.
“It’s a mix of emotions. I am choked for the fans we haven’t got over the line and created history here.”
Reynolds, who flew in from America, has ambitions together with fellow actor Rob McElhenney to get the club into the top flight and this performance – ending a run of 16 straight home wins – provided more encouragement.
“Ryan came into the dressing room after I’d finished my bit and said some great words to the lads and it meant a lot to the team because the lads gave everything,” added Parkinson.
“The lads were flat in the dressing room; I think that shows the group they are.
“But when we wake up tomorrow, we have to take enormous credit for the way we have gone about the business but also the atmosphere created in the ground.”
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom was told to leave midfielder Sander Berge out of the squad as he is the subject of interest from Premier League side Fulham.
Heckingbottom praised his players for the way they handled the game.
“It doesn’t surprise me that we fought and dug in to keep ourselves in the hat and upset everyone,” he added.
“We all know why everyone turned up today and I’m glad we didn’t give them what they wanted.”
On Jebbison’s “massively disappointing” red card, after referee Dean Whitestone took advice from fourth official Scott Oldham, the Blades boss said he had yet to see convincing evidence to warrant a sending-off and a three-match ban.
“I was stood next to the fourth official and he said he’d seen something I’ve not,” he said.
“I’ve looked at footage and I can’t see anything in it yet. We can’t just accept it, we have to get to the bottom of it.
“Either Jebbo has to learn from it or if there’s nothing in it, we want the player and we will have to appeal it so we need some footage.”