Leyton Orient 1
Odubajo was the first to try and spark the game into life, but his low cross into the box couldn't find a team mate. Brayford's cross at the other end forced the Orient keeper to parry the ball clear of danger, both teams had now begun to test the waters and were ready to try and take the required risks to gain an advantage in the fixture. The deadlock was broken as Odubajo used a cheeky little turn to give himself some room, his shot deflected off of Brayford before being looped into the box, Cox used some sublime ball control and skill to flick it over hos marker, as Howard rushed to close down the danger but Cox slid to roll the ball under the Keeper and into the back off the net, one nil to Orient and as Cox ran in front of the Kop with a rather arrogant celebration it became clear we would have to show a vast improvement to salvage the game.
The second half was a wake up call and The Blades changed their strategy and fought hard to gain control. A Brayford corner caused danger in the box but the ball wouldn't fall into the goal, Murphy's free kick looked goal bound but unfortunately the ball kept rising and went over the bar. A change from gaffer Clough saw United replace McGinn and Porter with Davies and Scougall, Jamie Murphy switched form the wing to being the sole striker. It was this tactical change that would lead to the equalizer. Goal number seven thousand was one that radiated quality, Davies played a high through ball that beat Baudry in the O's defense, Murphy used great pace to stay onside and rush onto the ball, he used intelligent footwork to round the keeper and slide the ball into the opposite side of the goal from an acute angle to beat the defender who was rushing back, he celebrated his goal in front of a jubilant Kop. United could have nicked all three points, Harry Maguire made an amazing run from his own half, skinning more than one opponent, but once he was at the edge of the Orient box his legs buckled and he resembled Bambi on ice, screams of shoot rang out but Maguire became indecisive and opted to play the ball wide and nothing came of the attack. A draw was a fair result in the end and both teams shared the spoils.
Sheffield United 1
Rotherham United 0
Rotherham United 0
George Long replaced Howard in the Blades goal, a back three of Harry Maguire, Matt Hill and youngster Terry Kennedy all had the duty of protecting Long from Rotherham's strikers. Kieran Freeman and Bob Harris took the wing back roles in this altered formation. Clough has selected a midfield three of McGinn, Davies and the eightteen year old Conor Dimaio, the young Irish midfielder making his first senior start. Baxter and loanee Billy Paynter made up the front two. The away fans had made a lot of early noise but soon fell silent and remained that way for a lot of the game, the cause of this silence, United having the early dominance despite an altered line up, with Baxter and McGinn both testing the away side with long range efforts. Rotherham did create a good chance but Tavernier's long range effort was strongly pushed away from danger by Long. The Rotherham total football we had heard so much about was non existent, the away team was content with long ultra direct balls up field that were dealt with easily by the Blades defense. And apart from a few chances late on for the away side the first half ended without incident.