Woodwork 3 Blades 0
Sheffield United hit the woodwork three times in today`s nPower Championship game at home to Coventry City, but on the evening before Halloween, manager Gary Speed will be having nightmares about his team.
Once again the Blades put in a much better second-half after a fairly lacklustre first period, but it wasn`t enough to break down Aidy Boothroyd`s Sky Blues.
New signing Andy Reid had to settle for a place on the bench, as did striker Daniel Bogdanovic, with Jamie Ward getting a recall alongside Andy Taylor, who replaced the departed Ritchie De Laet.
The first half chance of the game saw the Blades hit the crossbar for the first time, as Richard Cresswell held off former Wednesday defender Richard Wood allowing Stephen Quinn to lob Kieren Westwood from 25 yards, but the ball just didn`t drop enough and rebounded away.
However, as it looked as though the Blades could be about to gain some momentum, Clive Platt headed back across goal for Gary McSheffrey to place a header in the top corner, and give high-flying Cov the lead.
With ten minutes of the half remaining, the Blades reverted to their acquired passing game against a physical Boothroyd outfit and began creating chances; Mark Yeates` cross found Quinn in the area but he got too much on the header and it was just wide, before a mistake in the defence put Ward one on one with the goalkeeper, and despite opting for placement, saw his side-footed shot strike the bar, before being cleared by a visiting defender. A golden chance, and one that Ward must take if he`s to be played through the middle.
Matthew Lowton replaced Andy Taylor at half-time who was struggling with an injury, meaning Nyron Nosworthy switched to left-back. City had the first chance of the half, when Sammy Clingan`s powerful free-kick caused Steve Simonsen to parry into the path of Lukas Jutkiewicz, but fortunately the Everton frontman couldn`t take advantage.
Substitute Andy Reid hit the bar for the final time direct from a free-kick with just his third touch in a Blades shirt, to almost give him a dream debut.
As the game entered the final five minutes, Cresswell couldn`t take advantage from two excellent crosses, and substitute Ched Evans had an effort blocked by Westwood after Mark Yeates had seen his volley comfortably saved.
Reid then volleyed well wide in the dying seconds, as the referee brought the game to an end, leaving the Blades just two points above the relegation zone.
Richard Cresswell continues to anger me, and Leon Britton's good touches are often overshadowed by his anonymity.
Matt Lowton looked impressive when he came on, and the 45 minutes from Andy Taylor were an improvement on previous showings but for me the only real commanding figure on the pitch (and in the 93rd minute, the only player to win a header from a forward ball) Kyle Bartley was a welcome return to the side.