Blades Unlucky With Just A Point
Sheffield United couldn't make it four wins on the bounce at Bramall Lane tonight, against a mediocre, yet resilient Nottingham Forest side.
The Blades had the lion's share of play and the better of the chances, a phrase you wouldn't expect to hear considering the differing form of the two sides. Mark Bunn could have taken his Christmas holiday early based on tonight's display, but the concerns for the Blades came at the other end of the pitch.
In the absence of Darius Henderson, the Blades offered very little up front, Ched Evans playing almost as a holding midfielder, and Richard Cresswell's hearty performance showing the striker's lack of fitness.
Kevin Blackwell brought Andy Taylor, Ched Evans and Mark Bunn back into the side, Carl Ikeme missed out through injury, Lee Williamson made the bench, but Toni Kallio fell out of the squad altogether. Due to Evans' positioning when the Blades were defending, any attacks in the first half saw Cresswell isolated up front, and the Blades showing a 4-2-3-1 formation.
United exploded out of the blocks, some slick passing play set up Cresswell who fired well wide after slipping on the moist surface. Actually, it's been such a long time since I could say that, I'm typing it again in bold. Some slick passing play set up Cresswell.
Forest hit-back but three weak efforts failed to test Bunn, who caught one and watched the other two sail wide. Ched Evans snapshot from forty yards was comfortably caught by Camp, but it was certainly a signal of intent by the Blades.
Despite the advantage in terms of territory, the Blades were creating very little, but on 62 minutes the first save was forced, Jamie Ward's header was too close to Camp, who pulled off an excellent save to deny the striker.
Stephen Quinn went close soon after, following a cheeky lob over the defence by Harper, but his outstretched leg couldn't convert the ball past Camp. Substitute Camara went close soon after, when he carved out an opportunity for himself, but the 'keeper was equal to it, as he was when Quinn slipped through the Senegalese striker moments later.
Kilgallon went on a maverick run upfield with 12 minutes remaining, and when Quinn found him with a clever chip he controlled superbly before a weak shot with his right foot was blocked.
United couldn't create anything more in the final ten minutes, or the additional 5 despite the possession, and whilst on the balance it's two points dropped there were certainly many encouraging signs.
Blades: Bunn, Walker, Morgan, Kilgallon, Taylor, Ward, Harper, Montgomery, Quinn (Stewart), Evans (Camara) Cresswell.
Unused: Bennett, France, Williamson, Little, Geary.