Ipswich Town 0 Sheffield United 1: Blues tumble out the FA Cup without a shot on target

Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski is beaten by Nathan Thomas (not pictured) as the visitors take a 1-0

Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski is beaten by Nathan Thomas (not pictured) as the visitors take a 1-0 lead. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town’s search for an FA Cup win goes on after they were dumped out of this year’s competition by Sheffield United.

Nathan Thomas (not pictured) beats Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Nathan Thomas (not pictured) beats Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

The Blues went into the game without a single victory in the competition since the 2-1 third-round success at Blackpool in 2010, and that search goes on after Nathan Thomas’s 25-yard rocket sent the Blades into the fourth round.

Between the two teams there were 14 changes to the two starting line-ups, with Ipswich’s patch-work side made up of first-team regulars and fringe players falling well short as they ended the afternoon without a single shot on target.

There was no intensity, no burning desire to score a late equaliser. There was just a sense of predictability about it all.

With Tommy Smith missing out through illness, amid a link with MLS side Colorado Rapids, McCarthy made six changes to his side as Jonas Knudsen moved into the centre of his defence.

Nathan Thomas celebrates giving the visitors a 1-0. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.C

Nathan Thomas celebrates giving the visitors a 1-0. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Myles Kenlock and Dominic Iorfa came into the two full-back positions, Luke Hyam started his first game in 19 months, behind Kevin Bru and a front three of Freddie Sears, Bersant Celina and David McGoldrick.

And the hosts started well, with Chambers and Celina both having efforts off target while penalty appeals were waved away after a downward, Chambers header appeared to strike the hand of Daniel Lafferty.

Most Read

But, for all that, the Blues found themselves behind after 25 minutes as the ball was laid off to Nathan Thomas, 25 yards from goal, allowing him to rifle the ball into the top corner with the aid of the underside of the crossbar.

From then on the front three struggled to create any chances of note, as the trio of Sears, McGoldrick and Celina often found themselves occupying each other’s positions and looking unclear in what they were being asked to do.

Freddie Sears' attempted cross is blocked by Cameron Carter-Vickers late in the Ipswich Town v Sheff

Freddie Sears' attempted cross is blocked by Cameron Carter-Vickers late in the Ipswich Town v Sheffield United match. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

There was danger just two minutes into the second half as Bialkowski went chasing after a long ball angled into the channel, only to be beaten to the ball by Billy Sharp. The striker laid it off to Lafferty, who couldn’t find the target despite the empty net.

Another lapse in concentration, this time from Luke Chambers, allowed Sharp and Lavery to combine, with the Town skipper atoning for his error as he got back onto the line to clear.

The Blues’ best chance of the game came and went as Callum Connolly connected with Bersant Celina’s header but couldn’t keep it down.

Bialkowski heading forward for a late free-kick got the crowd going in stoppage time, but the delivery was nodded wide by McGoldrick.

That was as good as it got for the hosts, who have not won an FA Cup game in 13 attempts.

Ipswich: Bialkowski; Iorfa, Chambers, Knudsen, Kenlock; Hyam (Waghorn 61), Connolly, Bru; Celina, Sears, McGoldrick

Subs: Crowe, Webber, McLaughlin, Skuse, Garner, Drinan

Sheffield United: Blackman; Carter-Vickers, Stearman, Wright; Baldock, Lafferty; Carruthers, Basham Thomas (Slater 45); Lavery (Donaldson 72), Sharp (Fleck 88)

Subs: Moore, Stevens, O’Connell, Norrington-Davies