Charlton Athletic 0
The United side picked for today had plenty of happy surprises, Brayford made it into the eleven, Murphy and Harry also returned. These were three of seven changes Nigel Clough made from his mid week winning side, Harris, Flynn, Baxter and Scougall all made it back into a very competitive and strong Blades line up. New boy Freeman joined super sub Chris Porter on the bench.
Flags drifted across the stadium and and atmosphere reached hysteric levels as the game got under way, United kicked towards the Kop in the first half, something I detest as to many times it has been a bad omen. The first half was devoid of any really flowing football, and both teams seemed very hectic on the ball, the atmosphere and the occasion clearly taking over the players for at least the early stages. The best early chance came for United, a corner whipped in with real purpose but Neil Collins could only guide his header over the crossbar. Charlton under the guidance of Chris Powell looked to try and take control of the physical side of the game, something they are known for in the modern age, but despite a small spell of set pieces they couldn't test Howard in The Blades goal. The first good opportunity had saw ex Sheffield Wednesday forward Tudgay fire a low effort in on goal, Howard was quick to push it away, the follow up caused problems as Church crossed back in but again Howard claimed the ball confidently. United fans thought they had a reason to celebrate as Coady put a loose ball into the roof of the goal but as the fans cheered the linesman flag was raised and the game remained in deadlock. Just before half time Maguire went on one of his rampaging forward runs, he then played a world class ball to Murphy who used pace and trickery to put himself in the perfect position to lay the ball to Harris, his curling effort not a long way from the target but not close enough to give United the lead. Half Time arrived and both sides were still in this cup tie, the second half required one team to step up and make the occasion their own.
The second half began with no changes for either side and again the two teams looked like they were drifting rather than focusing on their game plan. Scougall and Baxter both tried their luck from long range but Scougall went over the bar into the travelling support, Baxter's was held easily by Hamer in the Charlton goal. Maguire showed some fancy footwork turning on the ball more like a skilful midfielder than a centre half after a set piece ended up in his path, but his powerful shot on goal hit the side netting. Charlton kept coming forward but in the final third
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