AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley salutes his men despite FA Cup KO at Sheffield United
Sheffield United 2 AFC Fylde 1Fylde boss Jim Bentley was proud of his side’s display in their narrow FA Cup third-round defeat at Premier League Sheffield United.
Blades boss Chris Wilder saw his team go out of the competition at this stage last season as National League Barnet caused an upset at Bramall Lane.
But despite making 11 changes to his starting line-up, United avoided a giant-killing thanks to an early goal from ex-Preston striker Callum Robinson and a Leon Clarke strike on the hour.
However, the lowest-ranked team rema ining in the competition made the Premier League club s weat by setting up a tense finale when Jordan Williams pulled a goal back with 12 minutes left.
Bentley, whose Coasters outfit are in the relegation zone in the National League, felt his side gave a good account of themselves.
“I’m gutted for everyone concerned with our club but I’m mightily proud,” said Bentley.
“We didn’t just want to turn up and get beaten 4-0 and clapped off by the fans, we identified areas we could cause them problems and at times we did that.
“We came with a plan and a belief that we could get something, and it would have been massive if we had.
“This can help us in our league form. For 12 minutes at the end we had to believe and – on another day – who knows?
“I’ve enjoyed our run and it’s something to build on.”
Wilder said: “These games are so awkward, especially when you make as many changes as we did.
“There is never going to be the same flow as at first-team level.
“But it was all about attitude and I thought the attitude of the players was great. They smelt an upset towards the end but we saw it through.
“I thought we were comfortable but they made it difficult for us. I feel relieved after what happened last year.”