John Egan’s dramatic late leveller salvaged 10-man Sheffield United an Emirates FA Cup fourth round replay in a heart-thumping 3-3 draw with National League Wrexham.
Paul Mullin’s seventh cup goal of the season had looked to haul the hosts, watched on at a raucous Racecourse by American actor and co-owner Ryan Reynolds, to a memorable upset under the Sunday night lights.
But Republic of Ireland defender Egan struck deep in stoppage-time to earn Paul Heckingbottom’s Championship high-fliers another shot of progression at Bramall Lane.
The pre-match atmosphere was electric but the Blades required under two minutes to silence the Welsh crowd as Oli McBurnie fired them in front.
But the non-league hosts rallied for a leveller as Mullin, who grabbed a goal in Wrexham’s thrilling 4-3 win at Coventry in the third round, proved a constant handful.
And they eventually found it just after half-time when James Jones diverted home after Ben Tozer’s dangerous long throw.
That handed the hosts the momentum and they seized the lead just 10 minutes later when Thomas O’Connor hammered the ball in after brief pinball from a corner.
But the Blades hit back straightaway as midfield maestro Oliver Norwood rolled in to tee up a frantic finale.
The game took a further twist just five minutes later when Blades youngster Daniel Jebbison was sent off for an off-the-ball clash with Wrexham defender Tozer.
The hosts almost capitalised when Ollie Palmer clattered the crossbar before Mullin triggered pandemonium with a predatory low strike.
That looked to propel the League-Two chasing outfit into the fifth-round hat before Egan headed home at the far post to rescue the Blades a replay at the beginning of next month.
Earlier in the day, Kaoru Mitoma’s magnificent late winner ended Liverpool’s Emirates FA Cup defence as Brighton completed a memorable comeback at a rocking Amex Stadium.
Harvey Elliott had fired the visitors in front before Lewis Dunk’s fortuitous deflection levelled the tie at the break.
But with an all-Premier League replay at Anfield looming, Japanese star Mitoma pounced to fire Roberto De Zerbi’s in-form side into the fifth round and dash Liverpool’s hopes of a ninth Emirates FA Cup title.
Elliott proved the matchwinner in the Reds’ third round replay at Wolverhampton Wanderers and continued his prolific cup form on the south coast.
The energetic winger was put through by Mohamed Salah’s pinpoint pass before coolly slotting past Jason Steele in the Brighton net.
But the hosts hit back just nine minutes later as Dunk equalised in unconventional circumstances.
Tariq Lamptey’s long-range shot took a wicked deflection off the Brighton captain to wrong-foot Alisson and restore parity at half-time.
Both sides pressed for a winner throughout an end-to-end second period as Solly March and Alexis Mac Allister went close for the Seagulls.
But they eventually clinched it in stoppage-time when Mitoma, who played an equally influential role in his side’s 5-1 triumph over Middlesbrough in the previous round, deceived the Liverpool defence before brilliantly rifling into the roof of the net.
Elsewhere on Sunday, third round giant-killers Stevenage could not emulate their dramatic Villa Park exploits as they slipped to a valiant 3-1 defeat Stoke City.
Steve Evans’ League Two high-flyers had completed a remarkable late turnaround at Aston Villa earlier this month but goals from Jacob Brown, Josh Laurent and Lewis Baker ended their Cup adventure at the bet365 Stadium.
Jamie Reid, whose penalty had kickstarted Boro’s comeback in the previous round, did equalise in the 70th minute but the Championship hosts responded to keep their name in the hat for round five.
Source: The Football Association