Head-to-Head: Fulham

Last updated : 24 January 2014 By @blades_mad1889

Sheffield United have acquired themselves an excellent record against Fulham in the World's oldest cup competition that is better known as the Football Association Cup, with the aid of a replay the pair have met on five occasions with the Sheffielders winning five matches to just one draw. However our first meetings were ones to forget and only the FA Cup semi-final was one to remember.

On Friday, 19 April 1935 Fulham recorded a massive 7-2 victory at the Cottage on our first ever meeting, three days later they capped off their Second Division double with a lowly 2-1 victory at the Lane. The following season they would cap double league victories, but in the FA Cup was where United were kings. They had already lifted the trophy on four occasions (1899, 1902, 1915 and 1925) and lost in one final previous (1901) when they came across the Cottages at the Semi-Final stage in 1936 at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

51,568 had packed into Molineux on 21 March. United had already beaten Burnley and Preston North End in replay's whilst they would also be 2-1 victors over Leeds United in what still stands today as the Blades highest attendance at the Lane and lastly Tottenham Hotspur before facing Fulham who had overcome Brighton & Hove Albion, Blackpool, Chelsea and Derby County to reach the last four.

The Times newspaper reported on 23 March 1936'; 'Sheffield United beat Fulham in the other match in the semi-final round at Wolverhampton on Saturday by two goals to one; and so two London clubs will not after all, appear in the final round at Wembley.' Donald Bird and Jack Pickering scored the goals for United as they marched into the final for the sixth and final time in the clubs' history before a single goal from Arsenal put pay to any celebrations. A heartbreaking defeat considering Wednesday had won the cup the previous year.

They had to wait 30 until they met in the prestigious FA Cup once again and then fortune would face one-another two years on the spin with United again getting the better on their London opposition. The Sheffielders had already taken three points off Fulham earlier in the league season (win and a draw) and would cause further carnage when they won the third round cup-tie by three goals to one with two goals from Alan Birchenall and one from Alan Woodward. It was a cloudy and foggy afternoon on 22 January at Bramall Lane and Fulham were bottom of the First Division with seemingly only the cup left to play for and despite such a loss dramatically changed their season.

Manager Vic Buckingham brought in new players and went on a run where they lost just twice in 13 games to save themselves from relegation with Northampton Town and Blackburn Rovers suffering that elusive fate. That year's FA Cup would see a Sheffield side in the Final, though it would be rivals Wednesday who made the trip to Wembley and looked to be certain winners when they lead 2-0 at half-time but come the final whistle had sunk three goals in the second half against Everton and subsequently lost the match. Having beaten Fulham in round 3 the Blades were defeated in round 4 at Wolverhampton Wanderers by three goals without reply.

The Blades were forced to a replay when the two sides met at Craven Cottage on 18 February 1967 - a small victory for the Capital side who had previously been thumped 1-0 and 4-0 at Bramall Lane in the league. Mick Jones had been inspirational during this mini-cup run and had scored the game’s only goal when the Blades knocked-out Charlton Athletic at the Valley in round 3. And so they marched onto another tie with Fulham with the Londoners hosting for the first time in meetings between the two clubs.

Jones was on target again for Sheffield United on 18 February in a 1-1 draw that meant a replay at the Lane would be played out. Had the two sides have drawn again then under the then competition rules would have resulted in a third replay on neutral ground, however this wasn't required with the Blades romping to a 3-1 win on 1 March. The initial replay had been scheduled foe Wednesday, 22 February but a water-logged pitch was in such a state that referee R. Tinkler was handed no option but to postpone at short notice with supporters turning up to the ground unaware of the announcement. The game had also been attempted to be played the following Monday with no such luck.

Fortune was on United's side for Fulham hadn't won at Bramall Lane since the war and the hosts got off to a flying start when Alan Birchenall latched onto a faulty back-pass and finished in style, lobbing McCelland in the Whites goal to take the lead. United and Birchenall had doubled their advantage before the break when he nodded home Alan Woodward's centre and missing a good opportunity to register his hat-trick before half-time. After the break Woodward put the game beyond reach and at the other end their travelling supporters were given something to cheer about when John Dempsey scored a scant consolation. The Blades were eliminated in round 4 in a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.

By the time the two teams were drawn together for the third round tie on 13 January 1986 the Blades had in mean time sunk to the lower league of Division Four before climbing their way back to Division Two whilst Fulham also were in the second tier and had already ready completed the double over the Cottages, winning 3-2 in London and 16 days previous at Bramall Lane by two goals to one. This cup-tie was pretty much straight forward, Colin Morris netted twice as the Blades won by two goals without reply. Fulham ended the season bottom of the league and relegated along with Middlesbrough and Carlisle United whilst the Cutlers finished just above mid-table in seventh.

This seasons FA Cup has already seen the Blades pull off a shock win, having beaten Colchester United (3-2) and Cambridge United (2-0) away from home United beat Aston Villa at Villa Park (2-1) in round 3 and now once again are drawn at home to Fulham who defeated Norwich City 3-0 in a replay where live on BT Sports surely anything can happen.

However the Blades must be aware! United have made the fourth round in the previous two years and on each occasion was defeated by four goals to nil against Birmingham City (2012) and at Reading in 2013. The last time the Blades made it to round five was in 2005 when (after beating Aston Villa, 3-1 and West Ham United in a replay) the S2 club was eliminated (on penalties) by Arsenal. Against Fulham however the Blades have been unbeaten against their London opponents for 29 years - the Cottages last victory in the Steel City fell on 6 April 1985 in the old Division Two, winning by a goal to nil.

Recently the two teams have met in the Premier League, this was during the 2006/07 season where United lost by a single goal at Craven Cottage but extracted revenge with a 2-0 win at the Lane later in the season...

26 August 2006 - Fulham 1 Sheffield United 0

Fulham recorded their first win of the season thanks to a Jimmy Bullard free-kick against lowly Sheffield United. Chris Coleman's side controlled this game from the start and never looked likely losers. Sheffield United however, need to produce a better showing than this if they are to remain in the top flight come the end of the season. It was Bullard who nearly handed Fulham the lead in the eighth minute when his curling shot from the edge of the area looked goal bound. But he was denied what looked a certain goal by an excellent save from Paddy Kenny who was a full stretch.

Fulham continued to press forward and Sheffield United were limited to a hopeless free kick by David Unsworth which ballooned over the bar on 12 minutes. The former Everton centre-back's wayward effort was the best it got for United in the opening half as Fulham ran rampant. Bullard was again the creative drive behind their attacking prowess. His second effort of the game came in the 18th minute when his long shot sailed narrowly wide. Then, four minutes later he was at it again, this time again he was slightly off target. Coleman's side came even closer to breaking the deadlock when Collins John was denied the opener by the width of a lick of paint.

The 20-year-old Dutchman had been preferred to Heidar Helguson in the starting line-up and he nearly repaid Coleman's decision when he found space in the area only to slam his shot against the post. But Fulham's persistence finally paid off when Bullard scored his first goal for the club since his arrival from Wigan this summer. The midfielder curled home his free-kick straight into the top left corner leaving Paddy Kenny rooted to the spot after Chris Morgan had fouled Brian McBride.

After the restart Fulham started with the same vigour with which they had ended the first half by taking the game to Sheffield United. But they found a more resilient United side with manager Neil Warnock's half-time team talk still ringing in their ears. If Fulham thought this was now going to be a walkover then they were soon to find otherwise as United dug deep. The hard-working Chris Armstrong and Michael Tonge chased every ball in midfield hoping to claw a way back into the game. At the heart of their defence was the unusual figure of Phil Jagielka who proved just why he is adored by the Sheffield United fans with a workman-like showing.

But the cracks in the United armour had already been exposed and Fulham's pace up front was again causing more problems for Warnock's men. John nearly caught them napping on the hour mark when he latched on to a weighted through ball but fortunately for United the ball skidded away to safety. Second half substitute Tomasz Radzinski then should have doubled Fulham's lead. The Canadian surged forward but after deliberating too long his pass was hurried. The ball fell kindly for Bullard but his blistering strike hit the post before rebounding for McBride, whose shot was saved by Kenny. McBride then dragged his shot wide at the death as Fulham were left wondering how they had not won by a greater margin.

30 January 2007 - Sheffield United 2 Fulham 0

New signing Jon Stead bagged his first goal for Sheffield United as Neil Warnock's side continued to edge their way clear of the relegation zone. Fulham were outclassed in a one-sided opening half as Stead - a £750,000 signing from Sunderland - and midfielder Michael Tonge found the target. Chris Coleman's side were pulled apart and when they rallied briefly after the interval, the Sheffield side held firm before Rob Hulse went close twice in the dying minutes.

United almost snatched a shock lead after just 30 seconds when Colin Kazim-Richards pumped a teasing cross into the goalmouth. Leading scorer Hulse pounced as Antti Niemi dived at his feet, but the ball flashed over the target leaving the Fulham keeper needing treatment. Niemi saved the London side minutes later as United sliced through his defence. Stead threaded the ball to midfielder Stephen Quinn who ran through and poked the ball to the keeper's left as he charged off his line but it rolled a fraction wide of the far post.

Full-back Liam Rosenior slammed a shot from 20 yards high over the target and then cleared a dangerous Kazim-Richards cross from under the nose of Stephen Quinn as United turned the screw. Fulham collapsed in the 23rd minute when Stead burst into the box to and blasted the ball into the roof of the net from close range for his first goal since signing from Sunderland. United grabbed the second in the 28th minute with the lively Stephen Quinn again involved. The little Irishman chased a loose ball and hooked it back into the goalmouth where the unfortunate Ian Pearce only half cleared and Tonge applied the finishing touch.

Stead had a long-range strike snatched on the line by Niemi before the Fulham keeper foiled the big striker by bravely diving at his feet after Chris Lucketti had headed a Kazim-Richards corner back into the goalmouth. Fulham forced their way into the game but found the United back four well marshalled by skipper Phil Jagielka. Hulse fired narrowly wide under pressure from Zat Knight and hit the bar seconds from time after beating Pearce eight yards from goal.

Full FA Cup Results

21 Mar 1936 - Fulham 1 Sheffield United 2 (at Molineux)

22 Jan 1966 - Sheffield United 3 Fulham 1

18 Feb 1967 - Fulham 1 Sheffield United 1

01 Mar 1967 - Sheffield United 3 Fulham 1

13 Jan 1986 - Sheffield United 2 Fulham 0

26 Jan 2014 - Sheffield United ? Fulham ?