Billy Sharp keeps Sheffield United on course to fulfil his Wembley dream

Billy Sharp was among the fans the last time Sheffield United played at Wembley in the FA Cup – and he is just one game away from returning as a player.

The diehard Blade was on loan at Doncaster from Southampton and made the trek down with his mates to see United lose to Hull City in the 2014 semi-finals.

United are just 90 minutes away from making it back to Wembley after Sharp scored from the penalty spot to put them through to the quarter-finals for the second successive season.

Chris Wilder was also among the disappointed Blades fans at Wembley that day and he was Northampton boss at the time.

The Blades deserved to claim their third EFL scalp in the Cup and they were dominant against Bristol City.

But their finishing let them down and they missed a couple of chances before Sharp scored after Alfie Mawson handled David McGoldrick’s shot and was sent off.

Wilder made four changes to Dean Holden’s five and fielded a strong side in a sign of how seriously he is taking the Cup.

Holden’s side matched United by going with three at the back and posed a threat from set-pieces.

Skipper Tomas Kalas had a shot from just inside the area saved by Aaron Ramsdale when a free-kick fell to him and Taylor Moore directed a glancing header over from Jamie Paterson’s free-kick just over.

The Blades enjoyed more possession and territory, but failed to make these advantages count.

Max Lowe grazed the top of the bar from a fine opportunity before Jayden Bogle should have done better when he headed Ethan Ampadu’s cross into the ground from seven yards out and Max O’Leary saved comfortably.

John Lundstram had a drive saved by O’Leary, Bogle shot over and McGoldrick curled a shot just wide as United’s frustration grew.

They made the breakthrough after City twice denied them with some last-ditch defending when Mawson blocked from McGoldrick and Kalas from Lundstram’s follow-up.

VAR Anthony Taylor alerted referee Robert Jones that Mawson had used his hand and the official awarded a penalty and dismissed the Robins centre-half after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor.

Sharp, who turned 35 this month, made no mistake on 66 minutes to convert his third penalty of the season, and his fifth goal in total, to send the Blades through.

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