Blades Miss the Chance
Weston Homes Community Stadium
Tuesday 13th March
Sheffield United`s game in hand at the top of the league one table failed to produce the 3 points that would have put useful daylight between them and their chasers.
Colchester began the livelier but gradually United began to get a grip of the game with some pleasing passing and movement. Evans and Porter were linking well up front, Hoskins wide right looked more settled than he had been at Brentford and his partnership with Lowton was allowing the full back to get forward more.
On the left Quinn followed on from his good performance at Griffin Park and was a continual thorn in the U`s defence.
As the half wore on, the home side resorted to more ball in the air with possession given away too easily. It was The Blades who took the lead just after the half hour with a swift counter attacking move which started down their left where Porter moved the ball on to Quinn who squared to Evans just outside the box. He passed wide to HOSKINS at the corner of the box unmarked who advanced and curled a left footed shot around the keeper.
United then created numerous openings as their passing game pulled the home side around the pitch. The second half started much the same, The Blades looking dangerous in front of goal. Evans first then Quinn had good chances to extend the lead. Hoskins broke down the left, to the by line, pulled back for Quinn who lifted a great chance over the bar.
But as often happens, the Blades were punished for not converting chances when Colchester scored a tremendous goal out of nothing. On 56 minutes the ball was given away in midfield and found its way to Odejyi who fed strike partner GILLESPIE whose first time shot hit the angle of post and bar and rebounded across into the opposite corner of the net.
Buoyed by this, the home team stepped up their game and had two further good opportunities within the next couple of minutes. The goal certainly gave the U`s new confidence and the game became quicker with action swinging from end to end.
Ched Evans then created and almost scored with 20 minutes left. He held the ball up on the right side of the box, beat his defender and hit a strong shot from an angle that the home keeper just managed to take enough pace off and watch it roll wide of his right hand post.
Cresswell and Beattie came on for Hoskins and Porter - who had by far his best game for some time - in the late stages of the game, but despite more end to end action, the game ended with referee Kettle waving the yellow cards for silly reasons and Evans trying a long range effort.
The 1100 vocal Blades fans were left feeling like an opportunity had been missed.
Certainly a chance to build the gap missed. Colchester are a decent side, poor in the first half as United dominated and didn`t extend the lead, better in the second half after their goal but still a side that should have been beaten.
Porter had his best game in a Blades shirt, Quinn is getting back to form, and Hill partnered Maguire well in central defense. Hoskins settled into the wide right position well and could be what we have been looking for, he certainly gives us added goal scoring ability.
The news that McDonald is back in training is good to hear. We have missed his creativity in central mid field. Williamson is a different type of player, competitive and involved at times, but often guilty of not stamping his undoubted ability on a game.
So 10 to go, 5 at home and 5 away, with a couple of tricky games in the final three but, hopefully, with the team back to full strength against Tranmere, we have the depth of squad to see it through.
On a different note, This was my first visit to the new stadium and it is certainly one of the better new builds, it doesnt look like a piece of meccano like so many of the others and is a thousand times better than the old Layer Rd. For travelling fans the access is easy as it sits on the hard shoulder of the A12.....BUT where on earth are we supposed to park the car? The clubs own park is by reserved ticket only, there are street marshals on the enterance to every housing development, police signs saying road closed or no parking everywhere, leaving just two car parks on the industrial estate half a mile away where you have no choice but to pay £6 ! Its no wonder the gates are so poor, just 3500 home fans last night. Give me the old stadiums in the towns and citys everytime, lots of chimney pots with streets and lanes around.