Blades 10 Battle For Point
Cardiff City Stadium
8th August 2010
The Blades lived up to their billing as a difficult team to beat at Cardiff City Stadium in the last game of The Championship`s opening weekend. Those who weren`t there today will have watched the game on Sky, but here is a view from inside the ground.
After the confirmation that Nosworthy would not play, Blades fans in the stadium were looking forward to seeing how Ertl played alongside Morgan, and to seeing Leon Britton start his first game for United. The much reported "welcome" for the ex-Swan never amounted to much more a few half hearted boos, much like the City fans support for their own team.
Marshall flapped at United`s first corner causing McNaughton to head over his own bar… Just, then Chopra - who managed to moan and complain his way through the entire game - had one ruled out for a previous foul. Referee Walton who was always well off the pace, seldom looked toward his assistants for any decisions.
Evans then got on the end of a lovely reverse pass from Britton after having himself been fouled in the area, and gave Marshall no chance. Delighted Blades fans wondered if a penalty would have been given if United had not scored! The goal brought to an end a period of ponderous scrappy play by both teams.
Matt Lowton had enjoyed a solid start to his first game, his first touch finding Ward out wide with great control. With Whittingham attacking down his wing and McNaughton taking every opportunity to get forward, Lowton was having to work hard but seemed to be coping with the pace of the game well. Then just after the half hour he went in aggressively for a second ball which was just a bit too far in front and caught McNaughton. It was too far away for Blades fans to see clearly, but texts and mobile phone conversations at half time seemed to have the opinion that it was a straight red offence.
Referee Walton, came running across brandishing his red card and screamed in the lads face " GET OFF". Well done Mr Walton, clearly the words discretion, inexperience and over enthusiasm are not part of his vocabulary.
The next ten minutes passed with Blades fans holding their breath and hoping the temperature would drop after Evans and Bothroyd decided they would have their say about Lowton`s dismissal and receiving yellows for their trouble.
With Ward at right back, it was going to be a long second half. United were slowing the game down at every opportunity. Fitness of the remaining 10 was going to be tested. United`s back four were holding a high line until the hour mark when another long ball down the channel found Chopra who danced around Simonsen at the edge of his box and squared for Bothroyd to find the gap between Morgan & Ward on the line to level.
City, who despite playing against 10 men had been totally devoid of any ideas in the box until then, saw the chance of a win and Simonsen was forced to make three good saves in the space of a few minutes as the home team built up a head of steam as crosses and long balls found their way into United`s box. Understandably United`s 10 began to fall back deep with midfield often being forced back as City tried to find a way through United`s determined well disciplined rear guard. Simonsen made two further saves as United struggled to get out of their own half.
United took every opportunity to slow things down, Luckily Ward was the only player booked for this offense, there could have been a few others, as United wound down the 5 minutes of added time to the final whistle.
In the end a battling, disciplined, stubborn rear guard action to get the point, but a full 90 minutes of 11 v 11 would have been interesting.