Blades Stung by Sordell Strike
Sheffield United`s inconsistent run of form continued this week as they fell to a 1-0 home defeat against Watford after Marvin Sordell`s first-half strike.
The Blades, who were forced into changes, with recent injuries to Leon Britton and Kyle Bartley, recalled Jean Calve and Stephen Quinn to the side which also included Daniel Bogdanovic for his first start at Bramall Lane.
Mark Yeates forced Scott Loach into action early on, but it was Sordell who struck first to give the Hornets the lead on sixteen minutes. The impressive Danny Graham picked up the ball on the right hand side and fed across for the rejuvenated striker to slide in and put the visitors in front.
United began to struggle following the goal despite having had the early advantage, and the recently found passing game almost disappeared with a panicked Blades side unable to take a hold of the game.
However, Watford did have goalkeeper Loach to thank for the scores being level at half-time - the ineffective Bogdanovic crossed for Richard Cresswell whose header back across goal looked destined for the bottom corner, until the 'keeper stretched out a glove to tip wide of the right-hand post.
The second-half became a different proposition, with United looking the more assured side, and were unlucky not to grab a leveller. Bogdanovic turned his game around and looked the flair player who became loved at Barnsley, his touch and skill began to show through, and his work rate was never in doubt, but he will have been disappointed with his eventual contribution, wasting the Blades best two chances.
Twice he found himself in the area with a free header, one trickling harmlessly to the underworked Loach, and the other flicking off his head and out for a goal kick.
The hornets held on for all three points, and despite not having their goal flooded with opportunities will know it could have been a different story based on United`s second-half performance.
However, the Belgian international put in an assured performance, and barely put a foot wrong all game. His confidence to move the ball quickly was refreshing to see, as was his assurance in the tackle, something that can't be said for his defensive partner.
The first half was poor at best, and Speed himself agreed with this after the game, but the second-half was much better to watch. The Blades were patient in their build up, moved the ball well and will be disappointed they couldn't grab a goal.
It's often said, but it is going to click into place some time soon, and one team is in for a hiding, but looking down the fixtures it's hard to see when it's going to come, and the longer United struggle, and the new manager momentum will begin to drop.
With Britton back in the side, in place of either Montgomery or Ertl (not both needed in a home game), United will be lacking just one component, and the problem is, it's a key component - a goalscorer.
Cresswell gets goals, Bogdanovic could get goals, but neither of these two, nor Evans who was on the bench will attack a ball in the area. When a cross goes into the box, you want to see a striker charging towards it, and for now I can only think of Darius Henderson in the United squad who is anywhere close. He can make a difference in the side, but when he overcomes his injury is still not the final solution.