Late Mistake Costs Blades
Saturday 25th September
In a disappointing Yorkshire derby, Stephen Jordan`s mistake 7 minutes from time cost the visitors a well earned point.
Neither side created many chances, though Leeds had slightly the better of the first half, forcing Simonsen to make just one save from Johnson's close range header after half an hour. Steven Quinn`s free kick on half time plucked from under his bar by Higgs being the best effort from The Blades.
As both sides struggled to get into their stride, referee Taylor did his best to break up any suspicion of momentum with constant whistle blowing, even managing to mistake a Leeds handball in the Blades area despite being just a few yards away, fortunately an assistant 50 yards away managed to get it right.
Leeds were looking to get wide men Lloyd Sam and Gradel down the wings in between continuous long balls. At the back, Bartley was having a chat with Becchio about his inability to stand up whenever a black shirt came anywhere near him. Bartley was winning everything in the air though some of his distribution was wayward.
New loan signing Richie DeLaet replaced Calve at the start of the second half, Gary Speed deciding that the physical demands of a local derby and some of the tackling, best described as agricultural, was a bit too strong for the Frenchman.
Neither side looked capable of conjuring up a goal, and despite The Blades having the better of the second period, Higgs goal was seldom threatened. A stalemate always looked a likely result, only a mistake or a flash of brilliance was going to settle it either way, and that happened with 7 minutes left.
Another hopeful long ball from the back was completely missed by Stephen Jordan, Snodgrass took the ball to the byline, DeLaet came across to cover but allowed the cross to come in where Johnson fired into an empty from 6 yards.
Snodgrass was then sent off for a second yellow for a forearm tackle on Britton, and then Monty`s cross was headed onto the bar by Ertl with Higgs on the floor, the rebound bouncing off Ertl into the keeper's grateful arms.
As the added time ran out, Kilkenny's crude body check on Ward earned a yellow then moments later Ward`s over the top tackle earned a straight red, though TV replays show no contact was made despite Kilkenny's writhing antics. There could be no excuse for the intent however.
The whistle went seconds later.
On the pitch, Kyle Bartley had another strong game and though Simonsen had little to do, his brilliant save from Johnson was a potential match winner.
Britton toiled in vain to get United moving but they rarely looked threatening despite having the best of the second half and 5 attempts on target to 2 from the hosts in the entire game.
From the feast of chances created - and missed - at Derby, to the dearth against pompy and today, Gary Speed has a few issues to wrestle with. Up front Ched Evans continues to struggle, though he did improve in the second half, is it time to give Boggy a start? Cresswell isn`t having the impact he had last season, and goals from midfield simply aren`t there. Jamie Ward is inconsistent other than proving he is a hot head, the intent in the tackle that got him sent off was awful.
On the positive side, Bartley continues to develop into a strong, competitive defender, Britton shows flashes of his undoubted ability and skill, and new loanee DeLaet looks comfortable and quick.
At the moment, we never know what to expect from United so no doubt the Forest game on Tuesday will provide a few more surprises!