Phil Parkinson gutted after Sheffield United’s late show spoiled Wrexham party

Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson was “choked” after being unable to hold off League champions Sheffield United after his side were denied a famous victory by an injury-time equalizer.

Paul Mullin’s 27th goal of the season with four minutes remaining had put the National League leaders ahead of the FA Cup fifth round only for John Egan to make it 3-3 in seven minutes of added time.

Blades forward Oli McBurnie scored after just 64 seconds, but goals from James Jones and Tom O’Connor early in the second half put the Welsh club on course for a second successive upset after accounting for another championship team Coventry in the last round.

They also rallied from an Oliver Norwood equalizer and, after Daniel Jebbison was sent off for an off-the-ball incident, Mullin struck to put Wrexham – watched by one half of their Hollywood ownership duo Ryan Reynolds – on the verge of a another shock only for an even later goal to flatten the atmosphere at the racecourse.

“The start we had, conceding one goal and losing two players (Jordan Tunnicliffe and Aaron Hayden to injury), for the team to reset as we did, I thought it was exceptional,” said Parkinson.

“When that happens, heads can fall off quickly and people start making excuses and there was none of that. I thought the boys were immense.

“These are a good team, as their position in the league suggests, and they have the Premier League written all over them, but we have locked them out for long periods and it’s a real blow that they didn’t cross the line.

“It’s a mix of emotions. I’m choked on fans that we didn’t cross the line and create history here.

Reynolds, who has arrived from America, has ambitions alongside fellow actor Rob McElhenney to take the club to the top flight and this performance – which ended a run of 16 consecutive home wins – provided further encouragement.

“Ryan came into the dressing room after I’d finished my cut and said some nice words to the lads and that meant a lot to the team because the lads gave everything,” added Parkinson.

“The boys were flat in the dressing room, I think it shows the group they are.

“But when we wake up tomorrow we’ll have to take huge credit for the way we’ve been running business, but also for the atmosphere created underground.”

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has been told to leave midfielder Sander Berge out of the squad as he is the subject of interest from Premier League side Fulham.

The Blades boss was not happy – the club needs the funds as they are under a transfer embargo for non-payment and are also the subject of a takeover bid – and will only be appeased if he can replace Berge.

Daniel Jebbison (right) being sent off for Sheffield United (Peter Byrne/PA)

“We have been asked not to use it as we are talking to other clubs – the club wanted to protect the asset,” he said.

“The situation we’re in – midway through the takeover and embargo – the only way to potentially solve the problem is to sell a player.

“But it would be foolish to sell a player and not have a replacement.”

Heckingbottom praised his players for the way they handled the game.

“It doesn’t surprise me that we fought and dug in to keep ourselves in the hat and upset everybody,” he added.

“We all know why everyone showed up today and I’m glad we didn’t give them what they wanted.”

On Jebbison’s “hugely disappointing” red card, after referee Dean Whitestone took advice from fourth official Scott Oldham, the Blades boss said he had yet to see convincing evidence to justify a sending off and three-match ban .

“I was standing next to the fourth officer and he said he had seen something that I didn’t,” he said.

“I watched the footage and I still can’t see anything. We can’t just accept it, we have to go through with it.

“Either Jebbo has to learn from it or if there’s nothing in it we want the player and we’re going to have to appeal so we need some footage.”

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