Sunday, 23 March 2014

It's Our Party And We Will Cry If We Want To

Sheffield United 0
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
Bramall lane
Attendance 21,659

A day of celebration was dampened by our unbeaten run being extinguished at the hands of the Division leaders. As the heavens opened up to rain on our proverbial parade we got a harsh reminder that we are not unbeatable.

Ex United midfielder Kevin McDonald and his side of table toppers had suffered a defeat to Crawly recently and were desperate to avoid another defeat. United made one change from the team that started against Preston, John Brayford returned to his starting position at right back whilst Luke Freeman switched to the left, covering for the injured Harris and Hill. The bench featured two unknown quantities in Kahn and Dimaio, starlets from The Blades Academy, although they would not feature in any of the action it was encouraging to see players progressing up the ranks. Baxter started up on his own up front again, the attacking midfielder given the task of trying to break down the Wolves defence. 

As the two teams walked onto the pitch through a gathering of Blades Legends from the past and Annies song was sang loudly from three sides of the pitch things started brightly for us, a good ball from Jamie Murphy met Baxter who played into the path of Scougall, he forced a top draw save from Ikeme to prevent us getting an early lead. Wolves then took control of the game, they chased every ball and gave us no time or space to build up any kind of attack. The boos and jeers, along with many a negative chant (the consensus of such that he was only interested in money and disloyal) failed to have an effect on Kevin McDonald and despite the odd stray pass he ran the game for Wolves. Just before the fifteen minute mark Wolves took the lead, a cross from Henry should have been claimed by Howard but instead it was left unattended, and Edwards flicked the ball into the corner of the net. The Blades tried to hit back and applied a good spell of pressure but couldn't make any of their chances count. Baxters free kick nearly crept in but Ikame managed to prevent an equaliser, the Wolves stopper was called into action again and made a world class save from Baxter. Referee Kevin Friend had a woeful game and failed to award two stone wall penalties for United, firstly Batth braught down Coady and Collins was dragged down. Wolves came close to making it two, only the post saved The Blades from Henry. Stearman also cleared off the line as United pushed for an equaliser, and as the half time whistle sounded United were still in the game.

The second half began and United again went straight on the attack, Brayford played in a cross that was controlled excellently by Murphy, he played the ball into Scougall who watched his shot go over the crossbar. After this effort United seemed to lose their fight and Wolves took one hundred percent control of the match. After winning a corner and floating in a high ball Wolves doubled their lead, a deflection saw the ball fall perfectly to Edwards who struck the ball hard into the back of the net. We never recovered and the game was lost. Brayford didn't look his usual self, still obviously not one hundred percent, Baxter again was struggling to lead the line on his own and despite Harry Maguire trying desperately to get us back in the game with his rampaging runs we had nothing left to give on this day. The best chance of any kind of recovery came as Baxters free kick hit the side netting. The referee continued to have a disaster getting decisions for both sides wrong and not even making the most basic of decisions correctly, awarding a throw in to Wolves after their player had hit it out. Leon Clarke let a golden chance to make it three go begging, one on one with Howard after finding space, he attempted to chip our keeper but hit it over the bar. Chris Porter came on for Baxter but as the game was already lost failed to make any kind of impact. Freind sounded his whistle and we were left deflated as our amazing run came to an end.

It is important now to not let this defeat destroy moral, yes we were beaten by a bigger, stronger and more clinical team, but a team that is top of the division. Yes we have slayed two Premier League Teams and two from The Championship and I stand by my statement that we should fear no one but lets all face it, a few weeks back we were in teh relegation zone and now we are in the top half. We have nothing to be ashamed of and next up is Crawly on Tuesday, and an opportunity to get back on track.

-Jonathan Gascoigne

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