Sheffield United cruised through to the FA Cup fourth round with a dominant 4-0 victory against League Two side Gillingham at Priestfield.
Danish striker Will Osula scored his first two goals for the Blades to put the Premier League’s bottom side in control at half-time before James McAtee’s quick-fire double late on earned last year’s semi-finalists their first away win in all competitions this season.
Blades manager Chris Wilder made five changes to his starting line-up for the game, but his side delivered an assured performance to avoid an upset and progress to round four with ease.
Osula’s opener came following a United break on 14 minutes, with his low effort going through the legs of Gills goalkeeper Jake Turner.
Turner’s fumble shortly after almost allowed Cameron Archer, one of those players who came into the United team for this game, to double the Yorkshire side’s advantage.
The Gills’ last FA Cup victory against top-tier opposition came five years ago against Cardiff, who also sat bottom of the Premier League upon their visit to Kent.
However, in front of a season-best crowd of 8,801, their afternoon went from bad to worse when Osula capitalised on Turner’s poor parry from Femi Seriki’s shot to side-foot home for his second six minutes before half-time.
Oli Hawkins wasted a brilliant chance for the Gills, League Two’s lowest scorers with just 21 goals in 25 games, when he miscued a header from Connor Mahoney’s corner 10 minutes after the break.
The Blades were also increasingly wasteful in front of goal, with McAtee and Archer flashing efforts over the bar, before the latter’s deflected shot on 63 minutes called Turner into action.
Gillingham’s best spell saw Mahoney test Wes Foderingham from distance, before Hawkins again failed to work the United goalkeeper with another header.
The hosts looked to have pulled themselves back into the tie 12 minutes from time when Max Ehmer’s glanced header crashed off the inside of the post, but the ball went back into play instead of over the line.
McAtee ended any doubts about the result on 83 minutes, as he beat the offside trap to meet Ollie Norwood’s pass and fire past the luckless Turner.
He completed the scoring with the best goal of the tie with three minutes remaining, blazing into the top corner from 20 yards after Gustavo Hamer’s short corner caught Gillingham napping.
Wilder sent new signing Ben Brereton Diaz on for his debut 20 minutes from time, but the Villarreal loanee was denied a first Blades goal by Turner in the final minute.