Football: Overmars seals action replay

AFTER ALL the furore over Marc Overmars' winning goal in the original fifth-round meeting 10 days earlier, which included pronouncements from the game's world governing body and all manner of legal, moral and philosophical arguments, Arsenal and Sheffield United contrived to produce the identical scoreline in last night's FA Cup re-match at Highbury.

Almost inevitably, Overmars played a pivotal role in Arsenal's victory, scoring their first goal and helping to make the second for Dennis Bergkamp before half-time. United again belied their modest standing in the First Division and deserved the riposte from Lee Morris which set up a lively final few minutes, but the holders moved without further alarms to a home quarter-final against Derby or Huddersfield.

For a contest billed as a grudge match, the evening finished with grudging mutual respect. Apart from a flurry of relatively innocuous fouls which saw United receive three yellow cards shortly before and after the interval, to be followed into the referee's notebook by Tony Adams, there was little of the unsporting behaviour with which Overmars had tarnished the first encounter.

On a night of lively chant and counter-chant from a near capacity, cut- price crowd, the Dutch winger bore the brunt of the United fans' ire. They booed his name beforehand and his first few touches, they were taunting the Arsenal supporters with "You only sing when you're cheating", when the players were suddenly milling round. For a moment, the scene was reminiscent of those which followed Overmars' ill-judged actions in the first match.

This time the stoppage was to allow treatment to Graham Stuart, who had to be substituted in only the fifth minute after a strong challenge by Ray Parlour. Undaunted, United carved out a fine opening six minutes later following a mazy right-wing run and measured pass by Shaun Derry. Marcelo slipped Adams in the six-yard box, but the Brazilian's composure was not of the kind one associates with his nationality and his shot sailed into the North Bank.

His profligacy was punished by Premiership class in the 15th minute. Bergkamp and Stephen Hughes combined to release Overmars to run at Alan Kelly, and there was no disputing the quality of the finishing as his low shot beat the goalkeeper for power and placement.

Bergkamp, the creative if goalless force behind last Saturday's 5-0 rout of Leicester, moved back to within one of his countryman's tally with his 10th goal of the season nine minutes before the break. Overmars initiated the move with a sweeping 50-yard pass from one flank to the other, where Parlour cut the ball back from the byline. Bergkamp dug his foot beneath the ball to chip it deftly over Kelly from level with the penalty spot.

United, who were especially well served by the enterprising Wayne Quinn, spurned a further opportunity early in the second half. Morris did well to get into a scoring position at the expense of Steve Bould, but hesitated with "only" David Seaman to beat and allowed Nigel Winterburn to clear.

The game had been largely malice-free to that point, yet it did not take a rocket scientist to work out that one of the Blades would exact some form of retribution on Overmars. Derry duly scythed into him and was booked, but Overmars left to a rapturous ovation from the home support when he was substituted with 15 minutes remaining.

"Brucie, Brucie, take 'em off", they crowed at Steve Bruce, the Blades' manager, to which the Bramall Lane 3,000 replied with righteous humour: "We're supposed to be at home".

Parlour, with a drive which stung Kelly's fingers, and Adams, failing by inches to convert a cross-cum-shot by the subdued Nicolas Anelka, might have added to the Double winners' lead, but United stuck gamely to their task.

A header over the bar from Marcelo had already threatened the United goal which finally arrived in the 86th minute when Morris scrambled the ball in from close range. "It shows that you can have fair play and win," Arsene Wenger said. This time Bruce was in no mood to argue.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Vivas, Adams, Bould, Winterburn; Parlour, Vieira, Hughes, Overmars (Garde, 75); Anelka (Kanu, 70), Bergkamp (Diawara, 80). Substitutes not used: Grimandi, Garde, Manninger (gk).

Sheffield United (4-4-2): Kelly; Derry, Holdsworth, Sandford, Quinn; Devlin (Twiss, 66), Hamilton, Woodhouse, Morris; Marcelo Stuart (Ford, 5). Substitutes not used: Henry, Jacobson, Tracey (gk).

Referee: P James (Loughborough).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year