The Blades win the battle of the Uniteds
Attendance: 16, 167
A first half goal from in form striker Ched Evans gave the Blades a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane yesterday afternoon.
n a game that did not provide the best advert for League One football saw the Blades get a deserved three points and were solid at the back were notably impressive.Nevertheless,it was another underwhelming performance by Wilson's boys.
United's starting XI was unchanged from the FA cup tie against Oxford last week and from an early stage United left off from where they had ended a week before controlling the early stages of the match.Lee Williamson was looking particularly bright and gave United the chance to give the Blades an early lead. After cutting in
rom the left his curling shot was expertly tipped on the bar by the Cambrians' goalkeeper Colin and the resultant rebound was ballooned over the bar by Cresswell.
This ascendancy continued and as the pressure built through corners and crosses into the box
nited were rewarded with Ched Evans scoring the opener. After having an effort blocked minutes earlier, United won a corner and an excellent Williamson delivery was flicked to the back post by Cresswell and after one header was blocked on the line, Ched Evans was on hand to poke the ball into the roof of the net.
It was what United deserved and it was hoped that they could kick on from this point. However, it was a matter of the same old story as United reacted to their goal
nd began to give Carlisle more of a foothold
n the game. There were a few free kicks given in dangerous areas and Carlisle's Miller blasted into the side netting. After weathering this small period of pressure the Blades ended the half strongly and should have taken a two goal lead into the break as Quinn was given the opportunity to shoot just outside the six yard box but his tame effort was easily palmed away by Carlisle's goalkeeper.
With the Blades one nil up they received a polite applause going into the break but the one goal lead still left many nerves in stands.
It was pleasing to see United come out of the break with their foot on the pedal and although they did not create any chances of note, much of the play was being played in Carlisle's half.
An early change was made by Wilson with the hobbling Williamson being replaced by the energetic Flynn. His introduction swiftly began to give United more width and his direct running gave Carlisle's left back more to think about. Nonetheless, United's good possession was spoiled by poor quality in the final third and many final passes or crosses were poor and a common feeling of anxiousness with regards to the Blades ability to hold onto a lead began to creep in.
United were then given an opportunity to dissipate these fears when the slippery Flynn was clumsily felled by Carlisle's full back Ribiero. It was in truth a poor foul
s Flynn had seemed to run into a cul-de-sac. After a tug of war over the ball Cresswell was given the duty from the spot but his blast down the middle of the goal was
asily saved by Colin. The fact that it was not converted meant a nervy last twenty for fans and players alike, a feeling both have been getting used to this season.
Once again the Blades decided to sit back to protect their lead and the introduction of Carlisle's Zoko began to create problems in the Blades ranks. This galvanized Carlisle and they were putting on all the pressure in the last ten. Carlisle threw the ball into the box and had a number of shots blocked and a Miller effort grazed the bar on its way over.
This all out attack strategy left the Cambrians open and the Blades could have sealed it but Cresswell was unable to convert a Quinn cross. This was irrelevant as
he Blades held onto their slender lead and got a crucial three points.
All in all it was a good three points but was far away from a vintage performance.Defensively they were solid. Both Collins and Maguire hardly put a foot wrong. Williams was once again steady in his
efensive duties and it was pleasing to see Lowton seems to be coming out of his early season dip in form. Another pleasing aspect was Simonsen who although untroubled looked much more assured in and around his six yard box.
he midfield in possession was poor today and the combination of Monty and Doyle will not create anything. For all there good work off the ball both players were poor in possession. It is hard to remember a forward pass from Doyle.
feel we still need a creative player in the middle of the park and I do not think McDonald is that player. It is imperative to sign a player of this moould in January if we want to gain automatic promotion. Up front I still feel we
ack a cutting edge in the forward positions. For all Cresswell's hard work he is passed it and lacks any form of pace that is needed and as a target man at this level he is usually dominated by big League One centre halves.
f the decision was made on a basis of what players did with the ball Monty and Doyle would have definitely be in contention. However, they were essential in the Blades looking defensively solid and Monty in particular cut out many passes and won many balls that he had no right to win. Instead, Stephen Quinn has to be my stinker of the day. He obviously has the ability that surpasses most League One players and has been a stand out performer this season but today he just wasn't at the races. He often made the wrong decisions with his passing and there were many mistakes within all round performance yesterday. I think this might just be a blip and with the loss of Phillips and Clarke he becomes even more important to United's attacking play.
Man of the Match Neil Collins
thought all the defenders played well today. I really think we should try and sign Williams as he looks one of the most steady full backs we have had at the Lane in recent times. Lowton had an assured performance. He as usual got forward when he could
ut was equally strong in his defensive duties. I would still say he needs to sort out his crossing. After doing the hard work it is usually spoiled by a poor ball in the box. Nevertheless, my MoM award goes to Collins. It is not only his performance but
e is also important in his leadership of a young back four. His consistently committed performances raise the team and he is often on hand to cut out danger when the Blades most need it. He occassionally is over zealous in his challenging and this can lead to him
iving away silly fouls but yesterday this was minimised. For me he has been about United's best player this season.