Thursday, 13 March 2014

Perfect Ten

Sheffield United 1
Carlisle United 0
Bramall lane
Attendance 15,437

FA Cup semi-finalists (I will never tire of saying that) Sheffield United put Carlisle to the sword as they make it ten wins in a row (seven in a league) showing that this club is ready to fight on until the bitter end and prove no one above them is safe. A single first half goal was all that we required to stamp a victory in this lacklustre game. Nigel Clough made only one change from the heroic eleven that started Sunday, Ben Davies taking the place of John Brayford, a player obviously fatigued after surprising us all with his featuring role the past weekend. Fellow loanee Freeman still awaiting his debut start was on the bench. 

As the referees whistle sounded The Blades went for an instant kill, Jamie Murphy taking the ball out wide, he managed to sucker in a defender expecting a cross before dropping a shoulder and looked to get a shot away, it looked destined to be an early goal, only the legs of Pickford the Cumbrian shot stopper managed to deny Murphy the opener. The Scottish connection came close to punishing a fragile opposing defence with Flynn, Murphy and Scougall all causing problems, one of the more noteworthy being Flynn laying off a clever back heel to Scougall, despite options he decided to shoot but his effort straight down the throat of a grateful Pickering. The pacey Amoo gave the away side their first real attack on goal, he used blistering speed before playing in a deadly ball to The Blades box, but the awaiting Miller couldn't get onto the end of the ball leaving him frustrated as it was cleared to safety. Just before the referees watch hit thirty minutes The Blades found the lead, Murphy got forward well with the ball and assessed his options, he wisely passed inside to Conor Coady who spotted Baxter in space, he hit a low hard pass to his awaiting team mate, Baxter used his educated feet to control the ball with sublime technique before stepping inside his marker and placing a curled effort into the back of the opposing net, one nil Blades and thoroughly deserved. From then on out I was disappointed yet understanding that the game seemed to fizzle out, a hectic schedule was finally catching up to The Blades and the players looked tired, they kept hold of the ball well and controlled the rest of the half, but had chances to go forward, I personally believed with only one goal to the good we should have used this dominance to push for a second, as we all know things are never a done deal when one goal in the lead. We were nearly punished for this lack in energy as Amoo carried the ball forward with pace and had options either side but luckily for us he selfishly shot leaving Howard to make a save. As Half Time came The Blades deserved their lead but the pace and dominance was beginning to thin. 

As the second half began United again went for the instant offensive, Flynn causing the opposition defenders all kinds of problems, after linking up with fellow Scot Murphy United nearly had a second goal, but Pickford came to the away sides rescue to keep out the wide man. From here on out action was at a rarety as United professionally shut Carlisle out of the game, never sitting back or playing sideways but getting the ball down the flanks and switching play often, it was good to see but still we needed a second to be safe, unfortunately the second never came BUT on this occasion it wasn't costly. Carlisle did manage to make life difficult for us in the last twenty minutes and regain control of possession for a majority of the closing stages, Miller saw his overhead kick pass Howard but drift off target and Amoo caused us numerous problems, Davies having to clear one of his headers from crossing the line at the back post. Full Time crawled its way into view for us but I'm sure for the visitors it came in like a flash as they looked frustrated not to have found an equaliser. United win one nil and can now take time to recover for Mondays fixture away at Preston as we look to keep this amazing run alive. 

- Jonathan Gascoigne

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