Evans Leads Blades 5 Star Show
10th April 2012
Five wins on the trot and five goals away from home for the second time in three trips. But the sell out Blades following held their breath just 3 minutes into this massive game.
Ched Evans hit a post - for the tenth time this season - in the first minute after a well worked corner but the home team cleared the ball up field where Akpro worked down United`s left, centring for KENNEDY to head powerfully past Simonsen.
That was certainly not in the script, but the noisy away following did not have long to wait for an equaliser. Just two minutes later Simonsen`s kick found Cresswell who caused panic in the Rochdale defence, the ball arriving for McDONALD to volley home from the edge of the box.
Rochdale were certainly playing well above their league position, their back four constantly held a high line to squeeze Evans and Cresswell high up the pitch a tactic which gained them a number of early offside decisions from referee Ilderton who seemed prepared to let a number of offences go on both sides in an effort to keep the game flowing…..or was he just not seeing them?
Rochdale took every opportunity to get the ball out wide where Akpro gave Matt Hill a torrid time with his pace and direct approach.
United`s second goal arrived via a familiar route after 20 minutes. The wet surface caused a defender to miss kick, Cresswell latching on to the ball, squaring for EVANS who worked his way along the edge of the area before hammering his 33rd goal past Lucas.
Just 5 minutes later, Quinn down the right beat his marker and shot from the edge of the box only to see his effort deflect off a defender, the ball looping over to WILLIAMSON on the left of the 6 yard box for an easy shot into an empty net. Cue much celebration in the away stand.
Rochdale continued to work hard and attempted to attack United, constantly launching the ball into United`s box where Collins and Maguire were kept busy.
Goal number four arrived in stoppage time of the first half. The move began on the left and involved several Blades players before arriving with Ched EVANS on the edge of the box where he turned and slid home his 34th of the season. Game over.
Flynn replaced Williamson at the start of the second half. Simonsen pushed away a stinging shot before Evans tried to complete his hat trick from an unlikely angle with other attackers well positioned. Shortly afterwards United made it five from an unlikely source. The ball from McDonald found DOYLE 25 yards out who advanced and hit a screamer which passed through the keeper`s hands high to his right into the roof of the net.
The skipper then set off on probably the most enthusiastic celebration of any player this season. With arms waving he ran at full tilt across to the United fans finishing with an Evans-like knee slide.
Porter on for the hard working Cresswell, then Blades fans held their breath for a second time as Ched Evans went down holding his right leg. After a bit of treatment it appeared to be just cramp, but shortly afterwards Danny Wilson brought Evans off to a standing ovation from the fans.
Rochdale continued to work hard despite the deficit and scored their second after a bit of sloppiness in the United defence. OBADEYI was allowed far too much space and accepted his chance well.
Lowton hit the bar and O`Halloran wasted a good chance in the last ten minutes as the Blades fans sang "Not bad for a one man team"
Ched Evans. Another 2 goal return from a player on top form. Kevin McDonald made things happen whenever he had the ball and Michael Doyle was rewarded for a solid performance with a great goal.
Some clinical finishing from the Blades. Ched Evans believes he can score from every chance he gets and his confidence is infectious through out the team. Five goals away from home anywhere is a great result and United have now achieved this twice in the last 3 aways, and last night also managed to hit the woodwork twice and to miss a couple of good chances as well.
I know I am being unrealistic, but it does irritate me when we get sloppy when in such a strong position and give goals away. Rochdale`s first goal caught us cold so fair enough but their second was as a result of some dozy defending and loss of concentration higher up the field. In a season when goal difference might have the last word, I hate to give anything away.
But let`s not take anything away from last night`s performance. Knowing what had to be done to regain the position puts everyone under pressure to achieve, and the fantastic away following`s anxiety gets across to the players, but there is great belief in the team which was clear for all to see last night.
So just 4 to go. Every game is massive, Danny Wilson has the squad well set up to play to the conditions and opposition, will it go down to the wire?