Cherries Pitted By Blades
Sat. 17th December
The Blades made it 6 on the trot with some ease at The Seward Stadium in front of over 1100 happy Blades fans. Don`t be fooled by two 'own goals', the difference between the teams was considerably wider than the score suggests.
United picked up where they left off against Rochdale, Danny Wilson naming an unchanged team, who were looking confident and moving the ball easily. Evans terrified Bournemouth`s centre halves, Barrett and Cook, every time he got on the ball, their nervousness was there for all too see and both goals resulted from Evans powerful crosses which brought panic lunges from each of them as they attempted to cut out the scoring chance for United`s attackers.
The Blades dominated through out the first half, McDonald again providing the attacking balance in central midfield leaving Doyle to break up play for United. After the opening goal United should have made the game safe after 9 minutes when Cresswell - who spent the entire game complaining at everybody - rounded the keeper but saw his shot cleared off the line by ex Blade Simon Francis. Reports suggest that the ball was over the line but referee East waved away United`s appeals.
For the home side, Pugh down the left posed a threat as Bournemouth looked to get the ball wide at every opportunity. Lowtons return to form continued as he successfully dealt with the winger and still had time to push forward. Bournemouth were having little joy down the middle and relied on putting the ball into United`s box from out wide. Collins and Maguire dealt with everything that came their way, Harry`s distribution was noticeably better with the short ball out of defence!
Both teams were playing a passing game and although chances were few during the half, the game had a pleasing flow, United having the lion`s share of quality possession. Simonsen`s only contribution to the half was one solid punch away towards the end of the half.
Through out the match, referee East was determined to be noticed as he whistled and handed out yellow cards for the slightest contact. It seemed that every time a player went off his feet - on BOTH sides - he saw an infringement of some description.
McDonald continued to probe with some measured passes in the second half until he took a couple of knocks and had to be replaced by Ertl on the hour. Ertl quickly had an impact on the game with his strength and composure. His nicely weighted pass inside the defender to Evans wide on the right was taken on by the striker who hit a powerful cross from inside the box to Cresswell waiting for the tap in only for Cook to lunge at the ball to prevent the cross and put it into his own net.
Minutes later Porter, on for Cresswell, was put through on goal but wasted the chance to give the score line some reality when he was caught before getting his shot away.
Five minutes of added time saw United playing keep ball and Blades fans singing and applauding the Father Christmas fancy dress conga parading down in front of the happy Blades fans.
The mid field balance is much better with McDonald partnering Doyle (or Monty), his passing and creativity is a real plus providing he can work on other areas of his game. Out wide Quinn is not at his best right now but still far too good for this level. Williamson is an enigma. He has the ability to dominate a game but can lurch from the heights of inspiration to the depths of wastefulness and disappointment within seconds.
Up front Evans is now showing why he was valued so highly. He looks fit and confident, every time he got the ball defenders were terrified. He is now holding the ball up well, is strong in the tackle and lays off confidently to supporting players. Cresswell on the other hand spent the entire afternoon moaning and complaining, usually at his own teammates. His work rate is as high as always but we really need a bit more than that. Are we ever going to see Beattie?
On the down side, United still give far too much ball away when under pressure, and continue to waste posession at throw-ins when the ball is thrown long. I want to see players coming short to take the ball at feet rather than competing for the long throw which always favours the defender.