Wednesday, 20 November 2013

VS Gillingham

Attendance 16,560

A cold Saturday afternoon lead to The Blades sinking to a new low, I never thought in my lifetime I would see my team perform this badly. The local press and some fans would have you believe by their opinion we didn't play too badly, this is utter tripe. There was no communication between the goalkeeper and the back four, in the final third the strikers were unable to take advantage of the scraps provided by a very defensive
midfield, and of course the bench once again had more quality than the starting eleven. To suffer at the hands of goals crafted by our own inadequate defending was possibly the hardest pill to swallow from this. An early mistake from the usually solid Harry Maguire, his poor and weak back pass not reaching Long who was slow off his line, Longs rushed clearance rebounding back off Kedwell giving the Gills a one goal lead. The Blades had a chance from a corner to equalise, but Neil Collins header was cleared off the line. A slow period followed, the Midfield not finding the right passes, along with Chris Porter losing the ball all to often. Miller looked sharp but never got the service to cause any real damage. Another set piece led to the equaliser, a corner kick floated into an unmarked Porter who took advantage of the space to nod home from close range. Things picked up a little, but again Porter never really looked like keeping the ball or causing any real problems.

The second half started badly, a nothing cross not dealt with by the defence leading to a Gillingham header looping a poorly positioned Long, who bizarrely lowered his hand instead of stretching hitting the bar, the ball fell back into the area where George Long had to make a save from close range, but the ball ricocheted into
McDonald, the scramble ended with the ball into The Blades net, putting The Gills in front. The following was a long drawn out boring display, the midfield looking like scared children and the defence looking vulnerable on any kind of counter. Flynn again showed he was out of his depth, not being able to beat a player and looking negative, Porter still could not keep a hold of the ball or win a header. We lost any kind of progressive build up play and reverted to trying to pick out the strikers with lofted balls which of course lead to a loss of possession. Hill's performance was particularly terrible in defence, his lack of pace and ability to make a credible challenge was a major hindrance. Miller managed to find space on the odd occasion but was unable to get the goal he so desperately needs, but his energy and fight was a refreshing sight. Clough made some changes, McGinn and Taylor coming on, these two players delivered more in their time on the pitch than most of the starting eleven. An eleven which consisted of six defensive players and approached the game in a very negative way.
Gillingham began the task of running down the clock, and when a scramble formed in the Gills area the referee caused outrage by blowing for a Gillingham foul, despite it being a Blades player on the bottom of the dog pile and the Gillingham keeper being on the top. This caused a pushing and shoving match one of two that happened in the final quarter of the game, all caused by poor refereeing decisions. Outrage also engulfed the Blades support after the Gillingham keeper dramatically dropped to the ground despite no physical contact from anyone, leading to Shaun Miller being booked, nearly four minutes were wasted by the acting. The Gills game plan paid off and The Blades suffered another home defeat to a chorus of boo's from the home crowd. An awful display and a harsh reminder that unless things improve we are in real danger of becoming a League Two club.

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