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Hendo Relishes Hat Trick

Bristol City
- 3
Sheffield United

Ashton Gate

Saturday 28th November.

Attendance: 14637


Just when the travelling Blades fans were holding their heads in their hands and complaining that we always give it away, up pops Hendo to send us home happy, almost 7 minutes into added time!

United had weathered the unrelenting long ball bombardment throughout the second half, but having left too much room in midfield once too often during the last ten minutes it was always going to come down to a percentage game, and sure enough Saborio pounced on another snow covered ball to stab in what we all thought was a point saver for City. Then along came Hendo.

The travelling Blades fans were surprised to see Carl Ikeme replacing penalty saver Mark Bunn in goal, but the rest of the line up was as expected. The 4-5-1 formation that was so successful last season, but often criticised by the fans, looking so much stronger with the return of Nick Montgomery and addition of Lee Williamson. Monty took up his usual holding position in front of the back four, with Williamson pushing up behind loan striker Henderson, Harper in the centre and Jamie Ward adding pace down the right, and Quinn out wide left.

After one of the loudest renderings of the Blades anthem, City started brightly, but it was Jamie Ward who had the first real chance on 21 minutes when Henderson headed down for Ward to shoot straight at the keeper when a foot either side would have opened the scoring.

Jamie Ward - taking corners from both sides - then hit a series of great corners flat and powerful which had City's defense scrambling before another Ward cross was taken down by HENDERSON and slotted into the right corner. Referee Andy Hall appeared to award the goal before discussing with his assistant, then confirming his decision.

Three minutes later the Ward / Hendo trick worked again, Ward ceasing on a defensive error out on the right before sprinting forward and finding HENDERSON with a perfect pass for him to bury it into the top of the net.

Blades fans in the away end were by now having a great deal of very enjoyable 'banter' with the City fans in the other half of the stand.

City immediately went to the long ball,worked Ikeme a couple of times and kept up the pressure until the break, with right winger Evander Sno particularly involved. United's keeper almost presented City with a way into the game when he spilled a low cross, but at the break Blades held the upper hand.

With the Blades fans calling for a quiet ten minutes at the start of the second half, Johnson was through but Ikeme was quick to come out to block the striker. Then the Blades should have put the game well beyond any chance of a City come back. Henderson drifting wide left beat his defender and put in a low cross on the six yard box which pushed the sprinting Ward just too wide to get a firstime shot in.

In a clean flowing game,despite a heavy pitch and not one bad tackle, referee Hall then managed to show a flurry of cards to both teams for what appeared minor incidents.

United then gave away a free kick to the right, which was swung in for Carey to head past Ikeme. For those who were at Reading earlier in the season, it was a carbon copy of Matt Mills goal in that game.

Maynard and Haynes tested the Blades defense, where Davies and Morgan were more than holding their own under the raking long balls, but Ikeme delt with their efforts comfortably.

Down at the other end Ward was taking a corner when a missile was thrown at him, picking it up and giving it to the referee, he was booked for time wasting!

Moving into the last ten minutes, United's midfield and defense were continually defending too deep, allowing City to pump more and more balls into the box. Clearances were coming straight back. No one was surprised when the board went up with 5 minutes of added time, and City's arial bombardment took on a whole new meaning.

After the 5th minute equaliser, with Blades fans moving to the exit disgusted with two points given away, Quinn got the ball out to Reid whos shot was smothered by a defender only for HENDERSON, in the thick of things as usual, to rob him of the ball and fire a low shot across Gerken and into his far corner...right in front of the Blades fans.

Star Player

Could only be Henderson. A hat trick away from home. Worked tirelessly, roughed up City's defense, held it up, laid it off, took his chances.

Glouc's Opinion

Phew. Good game to watch, lots of end to end. United mixed it up well, kept it on the floor when they had to, went long when necessary. New loanee Ikeme is a big lad, has a great deal of presence. Spilled a couple but showed good speed off his line and always looked to throw out to keep possession. Great to see Monty back, looking lean and fit he did what he does best. Williamson tired in the second half, but he is going to be a good addition to the team. Harper was in and out, distributed some good balls. Ward on the right gives the team a whole different dimension, his pace and delivery of corners makes me realise what Cotterill didnt do. Davies continues to get better and better, solid and 'Morganeske' today, sign him Blackie. Gary Johnson's comments about United's perceived long ball tactics last season seem to have rebounded on him, the second half was like watching the Wimbledon of old.

Date:Saturday November 28 2009
Time: 8:55PM

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Ooooops, Sorry about the scores at the top, must have hit the buttons too hard!
28/11/2009 21:09:00
I was at work all day today and didnt even get chance to listen to the match, so cant really comment on the performance. Another 3 points and now 7 from the last 3 games is a massive improvement and credit where its due KB. Im more bothered about the points than any performances at the moment, if we can get into the top 6 over the xmas period then it would be a miracle considering our earlier poor run. I honestly thought the best we could hope for today would be a draw, so well done united!
100% BLADE
28/11/2009 21:43:00
a deserved win but very very very lucky to score in the last minute. thought blackwell got his tactics totally wrong in the second half and his lack of management quality really showed. 2-0 up and coasting then all we do in the 2nd half is deffend and panic. is it the players lack of ability to cope with pressure? or the managers inability to manage and deal with thigs properly? think the score line proved it's not the players. why couldn't we just keep possesion?, why did we have to bring hendo back to deffend? we really do make it hard with ourselves and any other day that mentality and tactics would have cost us dearly. we were lucky. performance was not very good but suppose it's all about results at the moment. DISGUSTED with the decision to drop bunn after he saved us last week.... great for his confidence and just shows how much respect blackwell has for him as a player..shocking blackwell. if that's his attitude towards the players and to kick then when they are down then make no wonder he is struggling to get them going. Hendo is really starting to prove his worth now - well done lad!! calm down with scoring though otherwise you will be flogged in janauey if your not carefull!!
28/11/2009 21:53:00
if Hendo keep playing like this for the next few weeks he could be gone by the end of January... right let's stop all that pessimism. 7 points from the last 3 games is definitely encouraging and we are definitely getting better. When I looked at the line up today I told myself there is no excuse (injury or whatsoever), the squad today is decent enough to win the match and we have won it. am a little bit sad that Killa's never found his form and is set to leave for cheap in January when we cold have made 4 million off him. We have practically spent 3.5 million to have him playing badly for us for half a season, but that's life. I wouldn't blame Blackwell for wasting money, it happens. (Warnock has done it multiple times)
29/11/2009 01:41:00
if Hendo keep playing like this for the next few weeks he could be gone by the end of January... exactlly bladester's words...99% of blades fans think like this..hardly an ambitious club...nevertheless credit where credit is due today!!
29/11/2009 01:52:00
BFL...Did you go to Ashton Gate yesterday?
29/11/2009 10:12:00
do you think i'm that bloody stupid?
29/11/2009 20:37:00
bladester, yes KB has spent money. But the fact is he has brought in a lot more in player sales than he has actually spent. KBs reign has made a much bigger profit than any other Blades manager, even if it was the board who actually sold the players.
100% BLADE
29/11/2009 21:29:00
I guess as players come back and results improve, you can't do anything but admit that it was the injuries that caused the slump, not KB. A great performance on Saturday, but its still too early to say that we are in recovery - really hoping for a couple more wins to help us build that momentum for the all-important christmas and new year period. Only 4 points off the playoffs at the moment so we have to be aiming for top 5 come May.
30/11/2009 13:24:00
We should be 20 points clear by now Rich. You are far too optimistic for this site mate!
30/11/2009 14:21:00
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