Sunday, 9 February 2014

Hard Work and Tired Legs

Sheffield United 2
Shrewsbury Town 0
Bramall Lane
Attendance 15,987

A quick double for The Blades bags three essential points and a step in the right direction. After the drama and eventual jubilation in midweek, no one needed to be reminded how important this game was, a true survival six pointer. Jose Baxter started the game as the solo forward with Chris Porter being relegated to the bench. The Scottish contingency of Flynn, Murphy and Scougall boosted our attacking midfield options, Neil Collins again took over captain duties for the game. United started the game well, Brayford again looking dangerous when going forward, linking up with Flynn like he has since day one of his arrival at Bramall Lane. It only took eleven minutes for the deadlock to be broken, McGinn and Scougall linked up well and McGinns through ball was met by the pacey Scottish youngster whose low hard pass across the box missed Baxter but found the lurking Flynn who side footed low and true to rustle the back of the net in front of The Kop, advantage Blades and a relieved celebration for the fans who feared another cup hangover. The fans didn't have to wait long for another celebration as just six minutes later stand in skipper Neil Collins came forward with the ball,
his short pass sidewards came to Scougall, with a number or Shrewsbury players in front and and around him he only saw one option, a speculative low bouncing shot on goal squeezed its way over the line and the former Livingston man had his first goal in the famous red and white stripes, much to his delight and that of the fans now chanting his name to the theme of 'Hey Jude'. United slowed down the pace for the remainder of the half, and whilst we still looked dangerous when forward the chances began to dry up, legs were still tired and sore from over two hours of football in midweek but hard work continued and Shrewsbury were limited to half chances. The most dangerous being a cross to the back post, but Mills couldn't direct it on target. One of the last chances of the half almost saw a third for United, Flynn's fast feet gave him the opportunity to get a ball into the box, Baxter skilfully flicked the ball up and hit it on the volley but narrowly went over the bar. Half Time and two goals to the good, just what was desperately needed.

As the teams took the field for the second half the rain came down hard, the gloomy Sheffield weather continued its month long trend, the wind whistled around the ground and the game was back under way. McGinn was replaced with cup hero Shaun Miller, who we are all hoping has a new found confidence. The pace continued to be slow as United dictated the tempo, trying to find time on the ball to gather back energy that was quickly escaping them. The patient build up led to a few chances one of the more notable was Flynn firing a shot over the bar. Shrewsbury did knock at the door a few times but they were limited to hopeful efforts mostly going well wide or over the bar, the closest they came saw Taylor slice an attempt wide. Porter replaced Conor Coady late on and had his goal ruled out for offside, and rightly so. A professional second half performance saw the final whistle give United their victory and a good solid defensive display. As we look to the next game, a Wednesday night visit from table toppers Brentford we know our work is cut out for us, but lets hope we can again show some classic Sheffield Steel and carry forward our momentum.

-Jonathan Gascoigne

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