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Report: Sheffield United 1-0 Bristol City

Ten-men City have been knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup at the Fifth Round stage by Sheffield United after Billy Sharp’s second-half penalty at Bramall Lane.

Referee Robert Jones gave Alfie Mawson his marching orders in the 65th minute after a VAR review into the ball striking the centre-back’s hand as he flung himself to block a David McGoldrick shot.

Sharp converted the penalty which beat Max O’Leary to see the Blades advance to the last eight of the competition.

Dean Holden named Ryley Towler at left-back as the Academy defender made his club debut. He put in a good showing against the Premier League outfit too, while at right-back Jack Hunt made his 100th City appearance.

United started brightly but the game’s first chance of note fell for City when a Paterson free kick found its way to Tomas Kalas and his low drive was pushed away by Aaron Ramsdale.

It was a rare chance for City’s captain, who scored his only goal in Robins colours on the first day of the Sky Bet Championship season. Meanwhile, at the other end, O’Leary could only watch on as Max Lowe took a touch in the box but his shot pinged off the crossbar.

In midfield, Williams looked accomplished perhaps boosted by his minutes at the weekend, though the Blades were doing well to close out the gaps when City were in possession.

The better chances would go the way of the hosts as the half progressed with Jayden Bogle going close only to place a close-range header straight at O’Leary. He should have done better and it was a let off the visitors, with the right-back ghosting forward on more than one occasion.

This was City’s first match under the watchful VAR eyes and it was in use just before the half-hour mark as the Robins waited to see if they would receive a penalty. Ethan Ampadu was the player who did handle the ball but it flicked up off his body before striking his hand and so the appeals were dismissed.

A long range strike from John Lundstram was watched and held well by O’Leary, before Taylor Moore headed just over before the break as City held their top flight opponents level.

But the Blades came out on top with astute defending from Towler needed to clear the danger, while another low delivery evaded everyone in the box. McGoldrick eventually ended the attack with a shot wide.

Williams’ evening was cut short in the 57th minute with Ádám Nagy his replacement as the snow began to fall heavily.

City produced more exceptional defending, or so it seemed until the referee pointed to the penalty spot via VAR assistance. McGoldrick saw a shot deflected on to the bar by Mawson, while Lundstram’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Kalas.

However, the game was delayed when referee Jones consulted his pitchside monitor and judged a direct handball by Mawson. Jones awarded the penalty and Mawson was given his marching orders.

Sharp dispatched the spot-kick with confidence to put the hosts ahead. O’Leary went the right way but was powerless to prevent the opener which Sharp placed with power.

McGoldrick could have doubled their lead only a minute later but shot wide as the Blades took control of this chilly cup tie.

Dean Holden rang the changes with Han-Noah Massengo, Kasey Palmer and Antoine Semenyo all introduced as Wells, Paterson and Diédhiou all made way.

VAR looked into a potential handball against O’Leary as he came to the edge of the box but it was ultimately clever play with his chest.

The keeper would be beaten though when he raced off his line to close down Oli Burke in injury time. Burke won the race to take the ball past O’Leary but Moore got back to make a vital block.

However, there wouldn’t be enough time for City to build on that and the full-time whistle would confirm the Robins’ FA Cup exit.