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Rediff.com  » Sports » Clough guides Sheffield United to FA Cup semis

Clough guides Sheffield United to FA Cup semis

March 09, 2014 22:04 IST

English third-tier club Sheffield United kept alive their FA Cup dream on Sunday when two goals in as many minutes gave them a 2-0 victory over Charlton Athletic and a place in the semi-finals.

They were joined in the last four by Hull City, who overcame a missed penalty by Sone Aluko to trounce Sunderland 3-0 in their all-Premier League quarter-final at the KC Stadium.

Hull's Curtis Davies, David Meyler and Matty Fryatt scored in a nine-minute spell - capitalising on two wretched mistakes by Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole - as Steve Bruce's club advanced to the semi-finals for the first time since 1930.

At Bramall Lane, second-half strikes from Ryan Flynn and John Brayford caught second-tier Charlton cold, as the Blades became the first third-tier team since 2001 to reach the competition's last four.

Midfielder Flynn put four-times Cup winners United ahead in the 65th minute, when he sneaked in at the far post to nudge home from an awkward height a left-wing cross from United's man-of-the-match Jose Baxter.

One minute, 42 seconds later the home side doubled their lead. Jamie Murphy's surging run down the left set up defender Brayford, whose low 20-metre effort took a cruel deflection off the visitors' Richard Wood and rolled into the net.

"I'm just delighted for everyone we're going to Wembley," United manager Nigel Clough, who was part of the Nottingham Forest side that lost the 1991 FA Cup final to Tottenham Hotspur, told BT Sport.

"Winning nine games on the spin, and to keep so many clean sheets, we deserve it," Clough added.

The result was a personal triumph for the former England player, who was sacked by Derby County last September.

Charlton - who were aiming to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1947, when they won the Cup - were left to rue a glaring miss by Callum Harriott when the score was still level.

Marcus Tudgay burst on to a quick free kick and hooked the ball back into the danger area, but with the United keeper out of position and half of the goal at his mercy, Harriott could only sidefoot wide on the stretch.

Manchester City were hosting holders Wigan Athletic in the remaining quarter-final tie later on Sunday. Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 at the Emirates on Saturday.

The semi-finals take place at Wembley on April 12 and 13.

Image: John Brayford of Sheffield United celebrates scoring their second goal during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match at Bramall Lane

Photograph: Tony Marshall/Getty Images