Wrexham accused of 'eyeing up Spurs' as Hollywood cup run ends at Sheffield United

By Sports Desk February 07, 2023

Wrexham and their Hollywood owners will not get a blockbuster Premier League tie in this season's FA Cup after falling agonisingly short of the fifth round and a meeting with Tottenham.

The National League side, backed by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, would have faced Spurs had they won a replay against Sheffield United on Tuesday following a 3-3 draw in the original tie.

But Premier League hopefuls United delighted in dumping Wrexham out of the competition after a pair of late goals secured a 3-1 home win at Bramall Lane.

Wrexham had threatened to turn another gripping encounter on its head when Paul Mullin cancelled Anel Ahmedhodzic's opener from the penalty spot and then stepped up to take a second spot-kick, having earned both himself.

Blades goalkeeper Adam Davies brilliantly saved the second penalty, however, and the Championship side settled the tie on the counter-attack in the closing stages as Billy Sharp scored in the 94th minute and Sander Berge added a clincher in the 96th.

Sharp was particularly enthused by his role in eliminating Wrexham, having been frustrated by the underdogs' attitude to facing United, as he explained afterwards.

"It was a great cup tie over the two games," Sharp told ITV Sport. "[Wrexham] played excellent. I think they've been disrespectful, though.

"There were a few things before the game, thinking they were already through. I'm glad we've beat them.

"They're doing well in their league, we're doing well in ours. I wasn't happy with a few of their players tonight, but we've got one over on them. Good luck to them for promotion.

"Hopefully we've put that one to bed now, because a few of their players I wasn't happy with.

"I was a little bit frustrated at the end – I probably should have put the game to bed before I did, but it's one of those things. I wanted to win and wanted to get through to the next round."

Asked to expand on his comments, Sharp added of Wrexham: "I wasn't happy with the way they've been as a club. Before the game, they were eyeing up Spurs and they've not even beaten us.

"We're an honest set of lads and we want to go as far as we can in this competition. If we get beat in the next round, so be it. We'll give it a right go.

"I think they thought we were just going to roll over when they get back in it. I think the referee was helping them all night, as well. I don't think he gave me one foul all night tonight, but it's one of those things.

"I've probably lost my head a little bit, but I've got a smile on my face because we've got through to the next round of the cup and the boys deserve it."

Deadpool star Reynolds wrote on Twitter: "So proud of these boys. And the 4,000 plus away supporters who gave it all."

McElhenney, the creator of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, added: "I could not be more proud of those men than I am right now. They gave it absolutely everything."

The owners would have been concerned by the sight of star striker Mullin hobbling off injured, but McElhenney said in a second post: "Now let’s go win this f***ing league."

Related items

  • New York Red Bulls v Charlotte FC: Smith not worried about goalless run New York Red Bulls v Charlotte FC: Smith not worried about goalless run

    Charlotte FC head coach Dean Smith says his team will continue to work on their lack of goal threat as they prepare to travel to New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.

    Charlotte sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind the Red Bulls after going unbeaten in their last five matches.

    However, their last two outings have finished 0-0 against LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union as they managed just six shots on target combined in those games.

    Asked how he approaches a situation like that, Smith said: "We talk openly, review all the games and the fact is that we probably haven't worked the goalkeeper enough.

    "We've spoke about that and what we feel we can do to improve that. We've had chances, and we probably haven't done as well as we could do with those, so that's something we'll continue to work on

    "It's going to be a tough game [against the Red Bulls] because they're a tough team."

    The Red Bulls are coming off a 10-day break after their derby defeat to New York City FC on May 19, and sit fifth in the table.

    Head coach Sandro Schwarz said: "The performance [against NYCFC] wasn't the best, and we weren't able to create chances to score and to get three points.

    "We want more, and we have to improve a lot, but this is normal. We need time, but the mentality, the behaviour, they adapt very quick and very well.

    "We were disappointed to lose the derby game, but that happens. Heads up, we have to come back stronger and take the next opportunity."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New York Red Bulls – Cameron Harper

    Harper scored New York's lone goal in their last match, his third straight match with a goal. He is the first Red Bulls player to score in three straight regular-season matches since Patryk Klimala in 2021, and the last Red Bulls player to score in four straight league games was Bradley Wright-Phillips in July-August 2017.

    Charlotte – Kristijan Kahlina

    Charlotte have kept clean sheets in five consecutive regular-season matches, the only team to do so in MLS this season. The only team since 2008 to keep a clean sheet in six straight games within a single regular season was New York City FC in May 2022, and Kahlina will be looking to equal that record.

    MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK RED BULLS WIN

    The Red Bulls have lost only one of their six all-time meetings with Charlotte in all competitions, a 2-0 road defeat in June 2022. New York have won three of their four home matches against Charlotte (D1), scoring multiple goals in each match, including a 5-2 win in last year's playoffs.

    The Red Bulls are unbeaten in eight straight home matches dating back to last season (W5 D3, incl. playoffs). New York have not had a longer home unbeaten run in MLS play since a nine-match run from August 2018 to March 2019.

    Meanwhile, Charlotte won 1-0 at Chicago in their last away match after a seven-match winless run on the road in all competitions. Charlotte have never recorded back-to-back away wins in all competitions before.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New York Red Bulls – 53%

    Draw – 23.9%

    Charlotte – 23.1%

  • Philadelphia Union v Toronto FC: Reds keep growing under Herdman Philadelphia Union v Toronto FC: Reds keep growing under Herdman

    Toronto FC head coach John Herdman admits his team still have some growing to do as they travel to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.

    Despite losing three of their last four MLS games – winning the other 5-1 at home to CF Montreal – Toronto sit sixth in the Eastern Conference on 22 points with a very balanced record.

    They have won seven and lost seven of their league games, drawing the other one, and have both scored and conceded 24 goals.

    After conceding late in their 4-3 loss to Cincinnati, Herdman says his team need to put more work into their defensive side of the game.

    "It's that level of concentration, that level of discipline that championship teams are able to bring to games," Herdman said.

    "Knowing your job and delivering your job in high-pressure moments where you stay concentrated for long periods of time, that was the message [this week].

    "I think collectively as a group they recognized it. And they welcomed it. They know we're growing. They know we’re on a bit of a journey."

    Philadelphia are four points off a final series place in eighth with 18 points and are unbeaten in their last two matches after failing to win any of the previous six.

    Asked about the test his side will face against Toronto, the Union head coach Jim Curtin said they are a "much-improved team.

    "Really well organized, really well coached. A dangerous team."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Philadelphia Union – Daniel Gazdag

    Gazdag has been involved in eight goals (four goals, four assists) in three home matches against Toronto FC, recording multiple goal contributions in each match.

    Toronto FC – Lorenzo Insigne

    After recording two assists against Montreal last week, Insigne had a goal and an assist on Saturday, the second player, along with Federico Bernardeschi, to contribute to multiple goals in consecutive matches for Toronto this season.

    MATCH PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA UNION WIN

    The Union have won each of their last four home matches against Toronto by a combined score of 16-2. Philadelphia had won just four of their first 11 home matches against the Reds (D3 L4).

    However, the Union have lost four consecutive home matches for the first time in club history. Philadelphia had suffered three defeats in their previous 59 matches at Subaru Park before this run.

    Meanwhile, Toronto nearly drew with FC Cincinnati on Saturday, losing 4-3 to a goal in the third minute of stoppage time. Toronto have drawn only one of their last 36 matches in all competitions dating back to last June (W11 L24).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Philadelphia Union – 67.7%

    Draw – 18.9%

    Toronto FC – 13.4%

  • Disheartening and gut-wrenching: Price condemns killing of former Boys' Town player Rafiek Thomas Disheartening and gut-wrenching: Price condemns killing of former Boys' Town player Rafiek Thomas

    President of Boys' Town Football Club Andrew Price says he is struggling to come to grip with the brutal slaying of former player Rafiek “Fari” Thomas, who was gunned down at his home  in Denham Town on Tuesday.

    It is reported that about 4:40am, unknown assailants gained access to Thomas’ residence, in the troubled West Kingston community, and shot him several times in his bed. Another man was also injured during the home invasion.

    Thomas, 40, was well-known for his goal scoring exploits in local football, especially during his time at Boys’ Town and Tivoli Gardens. He also represented Harbour View, Waterhouse, and Humble Lion throughout his career, before returning to the Boys’ Town. He scored the match-winning goal for the Collie Smith Drive-based club when they copped the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Wray and Nephew Championship last season.

    They retained the title with a penalty shoot-out win over Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) on Sunday, but their celebrations were cut short by the tragic news, which has plunged the football fraternity  into mourning.

    Price expressed condolence to Thomas’s family and friends, as he remembered the player as passionate, inspirational and humble.

    “It is so sad when you hear another life snuffed out through crime and violence in inner city communities. Rafiek Thomas was an inspirational player, very skillful, and a prolific goal scorer. I enjoyed coaching him. He was a gem to coach, always unassuming, humble individual, so I'm taking this very, badly to awake to this type of news after the club's triumphant Sunday night it is just really disheartening and gut-wrenching,” Price said.

    “Such a talented individual; he was always willing to assist, to impress, to guide the youngsters and even at his age, he was still a prolific goal scorer. One of the last goals he scored was a year ago in the finals of the Championship against Constant Spring. So we will remember Rafiek for how passionate he was both on and off the field. It's sad to hear that his life has ended in this tragic manner and it reinforces the need to engage football as a socializing effect in communities,” he added.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.