Subs shine in cup win

Lee Cartwright in action against Sheffield United in the FA Cup
Lee Cartwright in action against Sheffield United in the FA Cup
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Preston North End’s last meeting with Sheffield United in the FA Cup came 13 years ago at Deepdale.

The fourth round tie went the way of David Moyes’ men who recovered from falling behind early on to win 2-1.

Victory was achieved despite boss Moyes having to use all three substitutes by the start of the second half.

Colin Murdock limped out of the action with only 10 minutes played, then Eric Skora followed him to the treatment room part-way during the first half.

Striker Steve Basham did not make it out of the dressing room after the interval.

Admittedly, the quality of substitutes available to Moyes was of a high standard.

Lee Cartwright took over from Murdock, the switch seeing skipper Sean Gregan drop back into the defence from midfield.

Jon Macken came on for Skora, with Richard Cresswell the half-time replacement for the stricken Basham.

Cresswell was to quickly get his name on the scoresheet as North End launched their second-half comeback.

The Blades, managed by Neil Warnock, had taken a 15th minute lead.

A long throw-in from Gus Uhlenbeek flicked off Gregan’s head as he attempted to clear, the ball falling into the path of Peter Ndlovu who lifted it into the top corner from close in.

A controversial refereeing decision went PNE’s way when Michael Tonge – a future loan player for the Lilywhites – fell under Gregan’s challenge four yards inside the box.

However, referee Tony Bates chose to award an indirect free-kick to United rather than a penalty, deeming it as obstruction.

The free-kick came to nothing, leaving Warnock his usual angry self on the touchline.

Preston nearly equalised after half an hour, Cartwright’s cross parried by keeper Wilk de Vogt as far as Michael Keane on the edge of the box.

He shot towards the empty net but Robert Page got back to slide it off the line.

Substitute Macken, who had hit something of a goal drought, twice saw efforts saved by de Vogt before the interval. North End levelled the score eight minutes into the second half.

Tepi Moilanen’s big kick upfield was headed on by Macken for Cresswell to run through to the right of goal and hit a crisp shot across the keeper into the far bottom corner of the net.

Chances fell the way of Keane, Macken and Cresswell, Macken having wriggled past the challenge of two defenders only to shoot wide.

North End’s winner came with 19 minutes left from the penalty spot.

Rob Edwards’ cross from the left was nodded down by Macken to Cresswell.

He tried to flick the ball over the head of centre-half Page who stuck up an arm to block it.

Referee Bates pointed to the spot, Graham Alexander drilling the penalty into the bottom corner with the keeper going the wrong way.

Victory earned Preston a fifth round visit to Chelsea the following month.

They threatened a shock at Stamford Bridge in front of the cameras, Cresswell giving them a ninth-minute lead, only for the Premier League club to hit back to win 3-1.