Live Commentary: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United - as it happened
Live text commentary from Craven Cottage as Fulham took on Sheffield United in an FA Cup fourth-round replay and lost 1-0.
By Matt Domm, Reporter Filed: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 19:00 UK
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 11:02 UK
Sheffield United stunned their second Premier League opponent away from home on the FA Cup with a 1-0 extra-time win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
The game had very few chances in the 90 minutes, with the Blades defending solidly and Fulham unable to carve them open.
As extra time wore on the game opened up slightly and it was the away side who took the points thanks to a late Shaun Miller header.
Read how the action unfolded below.
7.02pmHello football fans! It's time for the fourth round replay between Fulham and Sheffield United at Craven Cottage. Both sides are struggling massively in the Premier League and League One respectively, so this game will either offer them a rest from it or it might well be a distraction!
7.05pmThe initial game on January 26 was a battle on what was a hideous boggy pitch. Fulham's head coach Rene Meulensteen opted for a very young lineup and, while his players did not take to the pitch quite as well as the Blades, the young Cottagers were good enough for the draw and could well have won it late on. It ended 1-1, which has given us an extra look at Fulham's young players - should they be picked.
7.08pmUnited are the lowest ranked side left in the tournament and, truthfully, even if Meulensteen picks a largely development lineup tonight few people are expecting them to get into the last 16. You feel that their best chance was at home in front of a lively crowd and a lower-league pitch. That said, neither side has any sort of form worth writing home about at the moment.
7.12pmFulham dropped to the foot of the Premier League table at the weekend and more than that they are now two wins away from getting out of the bottom three. With Manchester United and then Liverpool coming up they could really be in trouble in a couple of weeks time. Could it be that the FA Cup winners are also relegated just as Wigan Athletic did last year? A long way to go for Fulham, but you would expect all their efforts to go into the league.
7.16pmNigel Clough's team, too, are in trouble in League One. Their situation isn't quite so dire at the moment as they are one of three teams within a win of moveing out of the drop zone. However, they are 23rd which is a real worry for their fans. For a team that was a top-flight regular only a few years ago a place in League Two would be disastrous.
7.19pmLet's get straight in and take a look at the team news, shall we? The lineups are in...
7.27pmSo as expected there are wholesale changes for Meulensteen's Fulham. Just three players - Dan Burn, Brede Hangeland and Scott Parker - keep their place from the Southampton defeat on Saturday, although this time there are just three academy prospects in the lineup. The head coach has opted to pair the youth of Josh Passley and Muamer Tankovic with the experience of the likes of Hugo Roddalega and Clint Dempsey.
7.30pmNone of the summer signings - William Kvist, Lewis Holtby or Kostas Mitroglou - are eligible to play as none of them, or other new buys Larnell Cole and Ryan Tunnicliffe, were in Fulham's squad last Sunday when the first game took place. Tankovic was probably Fulham's best player on the night and it will be interesting to see where he plays with only one genuine winger - Alex Kacaniklic - on the pitch for them. His best position is behind the striker.
7.33pmWinning is contagious, so as much as there's a reward for getting to the fifth round - against Preston North End or Nottingham Forest - a victory is important for getting a bit of a head of steam which could hopefully turn into a run of form in the league too. For the visitors, remember, skipper Michael Doyle doesn't play after his red card last time.
7.36pmThere are just under 10 minutes to go until we get underway at the Cottage. Just enough time to take a look at the pre-match odds, then. Fulham are available at around 4/7 tonight which, despite their changes, you have to think is good value. If you fancy a United win over the 90 minutes you can back that at about 5/1.
7.40pmBREAKING NEWS: Moving away from the FA Cup for just a minute. We are hearing that Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has been fired! We'll have a full story up very shortly.
7.43pmPREDICTION: Just two minutes now until kickoff, so what do I think will happen? I can't see beyond Fulham, but I think they'll be made to work for it. I fancy a much-needed clean sheet for Fulham in a 2-0 win. I think Tankovic might make his mark with a goal tonight - he's a very bright prospect.
1 minKICKOFF: The hosts, in white, get things underway and straight away give the ball to the men in yellow.
2 minCLOSE! Murphy is very close to scoring for the visitors! Stockdale was scrambling across from the snap-shot from 20 yards, but it was just curling wide of the near post. Excellent start for United.
4 minIt's certainly bright from Sheffield and they're definitely on top of the early proceedings. Murphy in particular is finding plenty of space. Still just the one shot for them, but Fulham have barely been in the away half yet.
6 minIt's Dempsey playing off Rodallega to begin with, and Tankovic alongside Scott Parker in the midfield two. A bit of creativity alongside the work of Parker - that will be interesting to keep an eye on.
8 minClough's men are all in their own half when not on the ball, just as they were in the opening game. They were successful that afternoon and up to now have kept Fulham to just passing among themselves - the hosts will need some creativity to unlock them here.
10 minA couple of neat bits of skill from Fulham there. First Kasami spins past two on the right, before Dempsey pulls off a cruyff turn before getting clipped. Dangerous spot for a free kick this.
12 minKasami drills the free kick straight into the wall, which justifies McGinn's decision to clip the heels of Dempsey. Since United's bright start it has all been Fulham, but they aren't creating anything as yet.
15 minThis could be a long night for Fulham as the visitors' defensive discipline is looking in good shape at the moment. Kasami for Fulham is looking strong and tricky, though, and he could be the one to unlock Sheffield.
18 minBrayford's first real foray down the right has won his side a corner here. The big defender Maguire wins it, but his effort goes well over the bar. The visitors are putting on a little bit of pressure here.
20 minFree kick right on the corner of the box for Fulham as Tankovic controls well before being brought down by Maguire. The big guys come up from the back, but it's Kasami at the far post who wins the header from Kacaniklic's cross and puts it well wide.
23 minFulham continue to probe and press, but the disclipline remains there from the visitors. Parker plays in to Tankovic, who tries to flick on to Rodallega, but the away side get the ball bacl easily and are able to clear. Still no shots on target from either side.
25 minPorter is being walked off the pitch by the physio. He took a slight knock on his ankle but is walking ok as he reaches the sidelines. I think he'll be alright to carry on in a minute or two.
26 minHe's a confident lad, Tankovic. Finally there's a shot on target but the youngster's low drive was not troubling Howard, who gathered easily to his right.
28 minThere's a bit of frustration in the crowd at the moment, as there's just no space in a packed United half. Hangeland looks for Rodallega over the top, but his ball goes out for a goal kick.
30 minAnother shot for Tankovic there as he tries a half-volley from just outside the box. He was off balance, though, and directs his strike over the bar. He's looking lively, as is Passley at right-back.
31 minGood movement from Fulham there and it ends with a shot from Dempsey. Kasami fires the ball in to Rodallega, who flicks to Dempsey but the American's shot with his weaker foot is skied.
33 minThis is definitely an effective way to play away against a higher-ranked opponent, but it doesn't lead to a good spectacle at all. A free kick eventually is worked to Flynn, before his cross is headed behind for a corner.
35 minTerrible first touch from Rodallega there! He plays a one-two with Dempsey but once he gets it back it was as if his thigh was made of lead and it rolls easily to Howard.
35 minKacaniklic then gives the ball away too easily and his strike from outside the box goes a couple of yards wide. Close.
38 minClough looks pretty pleased with himself in the dugout. And why not? Fulham have had all of the ball, but no more chances than his side. Whenever Fulham look to up the tempo the pass from defence or midfield is gobbled up by the United centre-backs or too long and Howard gets to it. There's a real lack of spark.
39 minBOOKING: Deserved yellow card for Harris there. Parker played the ball to Passley, who was too quick and was caught from behind.
41 minHarris needs to be careful here. He catches Passley again with the youngster too quick, but the referee decides that his previous yellow was too recent and he doesn't get a second.
43 minIt's corner after corner at the moment for United. The first is cleared behind by Burn, before the next is by Parker. They're a bit nervous at the back.
45 minNow Fulham have one up the other end. It comes in from Kacaniklic and Burn tries to put it back into the danger area from deep. They can't work a chance and Kasami in the end wins another corner on the opposite side.
45+1 minBit of late pressure from Fulham. Burn headed the corner wide, but it was cleared instead. Then Kacaniklic put in a good ball and Maguire put it out of touch. We're into the second minute of two added on.
8.33pmA few boos ring around the Cottage at the break as Fulham are held to a goalless first half by Sheffield United. Meulensteen looks deep in thought as he walks off. He has a big team talk here.
8.37pmIt wasn't a boo-worthy performance by any means as Fulham have hardly been outplayed. They have just really struggled to break down what has been a bank of six then a bank of four from the visitors. There have been half-chances at either end, but nothing much overall.
8.41pmObviously multiple changes every game does not help a team become cohesive, but the desire just hasn't been there at the moment from the hosts. They are the Premier League side and the onus is on them to create. At the moment, this could be heading for 0-0. There's a long way to go, though.
8.45pmIt's almost time for the second half then. So far, so good for the visitors, but it could still quite easily turn into a defeat if they lose their shape. Fulham need to force the issue by finding space in between the lines of yellow. So far it has been too easy for the away team off the ball.
8.47pmThe Blades are back out on the pitch and we're just waiting for Meulensteen's men. If he's learned anything from Sir Alex Ferguson, the hairdryer is probably still on.
46 minWe're back underway then. Will there be more urgency for the hosts or will they continue to play into Sheffield's hands?
47 minAmorebieta gives away a very early free kick here. It's about 25 yards out...
47 minNot bad effort from Harris, but he gets too much whip on it and the ball goes wide of Stockdale's goal.
48 minThe visitors have started this half the same way they did the first. They're attacking at pace when they win the ball and are threatening every time at the moment. Harris strikes from the edge of the box and Stockdale gets behind it. It was straight at him really, but a powerful effort.
50 minDempsey has been so wasteful so far. It's as if he's still not match fit. I make it three more weeks until he returns - almost not worth it...
52 minFulham get a spell of possession around 40 yards out. Parker finds Tankovic, who then goes left to Amorebieta, but the left-back's cross on his weaker foot is woeful and goes out of play for a goal kick on the far side.
55 minNone of Fulham's three managers (alright, head coach, assistant head coach and technical director) seem too happy with what they are watching at the moment. Dempsey shoots from range, but it's blocked behind for a corner. Can they get a chance from this?
58 minAnother hopeful ball from the back, this time by Burn, goes out of play.
59 minFULHAM SUBS: Double change for the hosts here. Rodallega is off for Ashkan Dejagah, while Duff is on for Kacaniklic. Interesting move here - Kasami has gone up top. Rodallega was not best pleased to be taken off.
61 minAs another absolutely woeful long ball from Amirebieta goes into the arms of Howard, there's a shot of Rodallega in the dugout who has his head in his hands. He almost looks in tears. Very strange.
64 minThis is quite frankly a terrible game of football. Something needs to happen or we're heading all the way to penalties. It's up to Fulham to sort this mess out, as the Premier League (for now) side.
66 minSheffield United have a chance with a free kick, but as soon as it comes to nothing they're immediately back to 11 behind the ball. I'm sure Clough is delighted but that tactic, plus Fulham's lack or creativity, has led to an awful match.
68 minMore frustration from the home fans as a chance to cross on the left becomes a backpass and eventually it goes all the way back to Stockdale. Dejagah finally takes things into his own hands and is brought down by Harris. He should be off by now the defender.
69 minFULHAM SUB: Parker makes way for Steve Sidwell before the kick is taken.
71 minIf any team looks likely to win this it's the visitors. A shot comes in from Scougall but Hangeland is able to deflect it behind his own goal for a corner. Fulham are a shambles at the moment.
74 minSome away subs are warming up now. Is Clough going to try to take advantage of a woeful Fulham or play for penalties?
75 minSHEFFIELD SUB: Jose Baxter is on for Porter. It looks like the former, then. I can definitely see the away side winning this.
77 minCLOSE! Fulham's best player on the night Tankovic drives forward from deep and shoots left-footed, but it was always going wide of the near post. He's shown up a lot of the more experienced players tonight.
79 minIt has to be said that on this evidence it's easy to see why Fulham are probably about to play their final 14 Premier League games. Remember, the Blades themselves are in a battle against the drop and they are looking far more likely to score than Fulham.
81 minIndeed, if there is any justice in football it will be the visitors who will put their name in the hat for the last 16. There hasn't been a clear-cut chance all night, but it's Fulham you would expect to have managed a few.
83 minHalf-chance there for Baxter. Scougall beats Dejagah far too easily on the left and cuts to Baxter, whose shot is blocked and eventually cleared.
85 minDejagah's eagerness to get the ball leads to giving away a foul against Flynn. I'm not convinced by that one as there didn't look a lot in it. up the other end Amorebieta almost gets in a pickle but in the end clears into touch. Just five minutes left and a goal looks exceptionally unlikely.
87 minThere's nothing like a shape for Fulham in attack at the moment. Dejagah has now popped up on the left, Kasami is all over the place and there's no movement around them. They look a right rabble, but worst of all for their point of view is they keep slowing play down to allow United back behind the ball.
89 minLate appeals for a penalty for Fulham there as Dempsey goes down in a tussle with Maguire. He did appear to go down a bit softly and it would have been a bold call to give it for sure.
90 minSHOT! On target! Sidwell tries a left-footed snap-shot, but it's easy for the away goalkeeper. I've seen a replay of the Dempsey call and he may have had a claim as Maguire was all over him. Four minutes added on. Will we get a winner in normal time?
90+2 minTwo minutes of those added on remain. Enough for one last chance? Not at that rate - Hangeland's pass to Dempsey is overhit for about the fifth time tonight.
90+3 minKasami is sandwiched between Brayford and Maguire and it could be a penalty, although the Swiss was offside. He was fouled, but the visitors got away with it then.
9.39pmWell the good news is this one has another 30 minutes. That is also the bad news. It has been an utterly appalling game of football so far.
9.42pmTo be honest a goal has looked so unlikely thus far that we might as well skip extra time. I wouldn't even fancy a goal in 10 penalty kicks. Sheffield United are 23rd in League One and on this performance Fulham should be with them.
91 minHere we go then. A change in the turnaround - Matt Hill is on for Harris, who should have been sent off twice. Clough has ridden his luck in that respect.
93 minAt this stage usually the bigger team has the advantage in terms of fitness. However, Fulham have been appalling from 70 minutes onwards so many times this season that such an observation hardly counts here.
95 minAt the moment it's United who are doing most of the passing. Brayford is given so much room on the right to cross, which Burn heads behind for another corner.
97 minUNITED SUB: Shaun Miller comes on for Scougall, who took a knock and cannot continue. That looks a like-for-like change.
99 minSAVE! Close to 1-0 there for the visitors! Brayford runs through about three Fulham defenders and drills low, but Stockdale is down quickly to parry. That's the most work either keeper has had to do so far.
101 minBOOKING: Miller gets yellow carded for a crunching tackle on Passley, but that really could have been red. His studs were showing as he flew in and for me he has to walk. That was dangerous.
103 minFulham should have had a corner as Amorebieta tussled with Brayford, but for some reason the referee - who was close - took his asisstant's word for it way over on the other side of the pitch. Fulham starting to get on top.
105 minBOOKING: There will be one minute at the end of the first half of extra time. Sidwell goes into the book for a similar foul to the one a few minutes ago.
106 minWe're quickly back underway. That's 15 more minutes towards the inevitable penalty shoot-out.
108 minFulham are still playing in only one gear. And that's a low one. A cross from Passley is missed by Maguire and almost falls for Dempsey, but he cannot gather and the visitors survive. Fulham camped in the Sheffield half.
110 minDecent bit of goalkeeping from Howard there, who punched a dangerous looking Duff free kick out of play. From the throw, Dejagah overhits a cross and it goes out for a goal kick.
112 minMore shirt-pulling in the box there as a Duff free kick comes in. They have got away with quite a bit of that tonight as Collins climbs all over Hangeland to stop him jumping.
113 minBaxter lines up a free kick from a Passley foul on the edge of the box and he absolutely skies it over the bar. That was a really good chance but he blew it.
115 minCLOSE! What an effort from Kasami! Sidwell played the ball back to him and he took a touch before unleashing a strike that went inches beyond the far post! He, the goalkeeper and Meulensteen think it's in. But not quite.
117 minLate corner for the visitors. It comes from Sidwell being absolutely clattered by Collins in the air, but nothing given. Passley eventually concedes the corner which is punched clear by Stockdale. Just three minutes to go.
118 minSAVE! Kasami close again! This time it's a skidding low drive that's tipped behind by Howard. Is there time for another chance?
119 minLate corner for the away team as Brayford again bursts forward. He immediately goes down with cramp and if anyone is likely to get it it'a him.
10.20pmTo be fair, the away side deserve that. Fulham's miserable run continues and now they don't even have the FA Cup for consolation. Things couldn't be going any worse for Rene Meulensteen and his future could well be speculated now.
10.21pmThanks for joining me for this dramatic FA Cup clash. Sheffield Uniteed move on into the last 16. It's goodnight from me!