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Thread: United 2 Burton 0 - report

  1. #1

    United 2 Burton 0 - report

    The Blades got back to winning ways as they saw off relegation threatened Burton Albion 2-0 at Bramall Lane in a re-arranged fixture. A goal in each half saw off the Brewers but United were thankful for some key saves from goalkeeper Jamal Blackman with a final scoreline that may have flattered the home side. The crucial goals came from Enda Stevens, his first for the club after good work from Mark Duffy and George Baldock and then from sub David Brooks; thanks to more good work from Duffy and Billy Sharp. United were not totally convincing but once the second goal went in; they eased to the victory.

    United made two changes with Duffy and Wilson in for Lundstram and Ched Evans – who was not even in the matchday squad. Burton were right in the mire and included former England striker Darren Bent in their line up.

    The game began with no real chances of note and the game mired in midfield. Stevens got down the wing twice but his balls came to nothing before a challenge saw Evans and Allen both injured and the latter had to come off after only 10 minutes replaced by Sbarra. Burton had the first chance when Dyer had a shot blocked at the near post by Blackman after poor marking.

    Fleck’s cross shot evaded everyone after a quick throw down the left and then Duffy could not quite find Wilson after a clever ball. United won a corner and from it; Fleck’s shot caught his own man Wilson and then Evans fired over the ball as it came back to him.

    On the half hour United went ahead. A throw from Baldock found Duffy who played it down the line. The wing back got on the ball and centered and STEVENS came inside and from the penalty spot converted smartly past Bywater for his first United goal. It had been made by one wing back and converted by the other.

    Burton came back well though and had two clear chances before the break. They attacked down the right and the cross came over Akpan nearly converted but it was deflected just wide. Soon after they came down the other side and Dyer came in and unmarked hit a rising shot that Blackman superbly tipped over.

    The second half saw United begin well and Baldock nearly got on the end of a flowing move but his shot was blocked and then Wilson put over a low cross that Sharp stabbed wide on the stretch. It was a good chance. The game became much more open and Sordell somehow missed with the goal at his mercy and the action was transferred to the other end and Sharp found Duffy whose powerful shot was saved from Bywater. Sharp could not force the rebound home.

    Bent then headed wide from a corner when he climbed above Baldock. It was another good chance. Stearman then headed over his own goal under pressure as Burton penned United back. A change was needed and Brooks came on for Wilson.
    It was not long before the sub made an impact. A lovely touch from Sharp played it to Duffy who played a lovely ball into the path of BROOKS who took one touch and then rolled a delightful left foot finish into the corner past the despairing dive of Bywater. It was Brooks first goal at the Lane in a competitive first team fixture and reminiscent of the goal at Leeds with Duffy again the architect.

    This seemed to take the life out of Burton and Sharp nearly got in soon after. Decent football saw Evans then hit a rasping drive that hit the top of the bar. Naylor then upended Duffy but the free kick was blocked. Stearman was booked for a pullback not long after. The game started to peter out as Burton had not really created anything since the 2nd goal whilst United were content to play keep ball when they had it.

    Lundstram came on for Duffy with 5 minutes to play as United sought to run the clock down but United won a free kick for a foul on Sharp and Fleck took it but his superb drive was tipped around the post by Bywater. The home side then won two corners near the end and Stearman had one spectacular effort blocked out as the three minutes of stoppage time were played.

    Donaldson came on for Sharp right at the end and soon after the final whistle went in the to confirm United had moved up to 7th and 2 points off the playoffs.

    United – Not amazing at all. We started game sloppily and the first half they were as good as us and had the better chances. Blackman made a few good saves and they had a few other chances. We did little the other way but Stevens took his goal that was well made. It was not a lead we really deserved. Still second half we improved and for 20 mins we stepped up and Duffy, Baldock and many others started to go at them. We made a change and Brooks made a different and we got the second. After this we could have scored more and Burton went a bit. Still they had a spell near the end and pressed us back again.

    Overall it was a win. Not a classic performance. Some players were really mixed and first half off it a lot (Sharp, Fleck) but we only needed a few moments of quality to win. Duffy made both goals and was key again despite being quite in spells. Burton did miss chances and another team could have made us pay but missed them. After we went 2-0 up we kind of eased to victory. We have played better and lost this season but we did enough. This was a trick fixture so just important to get the victory really. Nice to see Brooks make an impact and hopefully that will give him confidence and he will see more minutes.

    We now have a huge game Saturday. Karanka has added some experience and some quality and Forest been on a decent run. We need to improve quite a bit as they will offer a sterner test. There will be a bigger crowd and a better atmosphere and hopefully players will respond. Win this game and we are right in the mix again but we do have some tough games to come against Brentford and Cardiff over the Easter period. Hopefully Clarke will be fit and can give us that extra dimension at the top of the pitch. We need to make sure we are sharper and quicker with the ball and we press the opponents more. Tonight, we probably got away with it a bit as Burton are a poor side but we did show the quality when we needed it in both boxes.


    Burton – They had 2 or 3 chances first half after we scored and then another few second half but did not take them. They moved it around ok but you always sensed they were vulnerably at the back and for a spell after it went 2-0; you felt it could go on and be 3, 4 or 5. They kept going but never looked like they may get back in it and clearly lack confidence and belief. Not sure they sense they are going to get many wins from their body language. They gave away two sloppy goals and at times when United played some nice football; looked like we would go through them. At the other end they had chances in open play and a few corners that could have been converted. Sure, Clough will talk about the chances and how they were more than a match but ultimately as our former manager said if you can’t keep them out one end and put them in the other; you are in trouble.

    They looked a bit of a soft touch and despite some of their decent play they did not rip us apart and you sensed we were off our best but still a touch too good for them. Clough will probably talk about them being more than a match and the chances but this seems to happen to them every week. They do not quite have the quality at both ends of the field. Still despite this, they still have some quality and experience and the likes of Buxton and Varney have played at this level most of their career. They are not quite the hard up side that are mismatched that Clough portrays and have many experienced Championship players. Still despite this they have some poor players who would be more at home in the league below and that is where they are surely heading. Cannot see them winning more than the odd game before the end of the season and that will not be enough.

    Messrs Clough and Barker stood there in their white pumps appealing non-existent decisions all game but know that they will more than likely be managing at a lower level come August.

  2. #2
    Opposition Man of the Match: The lad Dyer was a threat and showed his pace and trickery. I also thought the young lad Davenport was decent in a poor side.

    Opposition Weak link: Have to say the keeper Bywater was less than convincing all game. They looked powderpuff throughout the side but the ex-Blade McFadzean looks a lower league player – slow and clumsy. He struggled second half with movement of our players; as did his partner Naylor. Bent looked a shadow of the player who once played for England.

    Blackman 7.5/10 – Made some key saves tonight. He saved one regulation one at near post early on but then one great save from Dyer. His handling was very good. He came off his line and took several high or through balls. He was really commanding. His distribution was superb tonight with several quick throw outs setting us on the attack.

    Baldock 7/10 – Usual vibrant attacking display where he got up and down. First half his final ball was a bit off but he made the first goal. Let Dyer get inside and away from him a few times. Second half he forced his man back and was involved in many of our good attacks. Had a few searing runs. He missed one good chance when he was blocked out but on the end of 3 or 4 good moves and just could not find killer pass.

    Stevens 7/10 – Began game getting forward and was involved in most of our best things first half of a poor performance and was maybe out best player. Got in some good areas and had one cross at the keeper and another blocked. Then he got in and converted well as he got right into the box. He still makes some poor mistakes and will not use his right foot which is frustrating. Second half he was solid enough but did not get forward quite as much and a few poor decisions with the ball but was solid defensively.

    Basham 7/10 – Thought he was solid throughout and best of the back three. He got forward first half and did make a few good runs but often no end product. Second half he got forward a lot and played a few decent balls in and was able to combine well with Duffy and Baldock in some of our better moves. Always looking to get forward and attack. He was more competent than the other two in his defensive work too.

    O’Connell 6.5/10 – At times they got chances and we sat off a bit. He was a bit sloppy in marking a few times first half. Also felt he punted it forward aimlessly. Second half he lost his man twice on corners but after this did improve and I felt we were tighter in the final 20-25 minutes. He came onto the ball more and was better with his passing. Need the defence to be tighter than they were though and a better team may have finished things.

    Stearman 6.5/10 – As for O’Connell; I felt first half we let them turn too easily and were not always marking when the balls came in. They had quite a few chances and better finishing and they would have scored 2 or 3 goals. Got better 2nd half and came onto the ball more including one driving run forward – but they still had chances and a few corners could easily have been converted. Became more solid as the game came towards its conclusion and had a spectacular overhead kick that looked goalbound before being blocked.

    Fleck 6/10 – Have to say first half he was really poor. He gave it away, gave short balls and his touch was off. We sat off them at times and He got better as the game went on and slowly started to be surer in his passing. Do think at times even second half we sat off. With the ball we got better but off it they had too much time and space. Had one poor free kick that was blocked but then had a great free kick effort that was tipped around the post. He will play much better and Saturday he will have tougher opponents in Watson and Colback but I expect he will step up.

    Evans 6/10 – Thought he was poor first half and that he was sloppy with the ball but also did not do the defensive stuff either. Just looked a bit slow and sluggish and took too long to do things. Representative of the entire team. Involved in a poor tackle after a bad ball from Fleck and got injured himself – lucky to escape a card and then did get booked second half for a late tackle. Second half he was much better in terms of getting on the ball and moving it quicker and going forward. Played some nice diagonal balls and one great shot that hit the bar. Just seemed more determined in everything he did. He is a neat and tidy sort of player but needs to be more positive and impose himself more.

    Duffy 7.5/10 – Weird one as he had quite spells in the game and not sure first half he did too much. He had one run and pass and then involved in build up to first and always looked a threat but was quiet-ish for him. Second half a different story; he got on the ball, linked play and ran with it. Made the second goal with a lovely ball and created a few other openings. They struggled to contain him as all our best stuff came from him.

    Sharp 6.5/10 – Game of two halves. I thought he was poor first half and never really in the game but we did not give him much in terms of balls and it was a really scrappy game. He barely had a touch actually and the ball was never really played into feet or any clear balls came across. Second half he chased around more and pressed and never let the centre backs drop and was much better. Did miss a good chance. Either him or Wilson could have gone off to be fair though. After Brooks came on; he improved and linked better with a number of players and helped make the second. Had a few half chances after this and involved in a lot of the better things we did.

    Wilson 6/10 - Not convinced by him yet at all but I watched him tonight and I felt he did try and ran around a lot and did at least chase and press. His touch is a bit off but tonight he did a few decent things but did not show enough for the ball. He never really had much service and was feeding off a lot of knock downs or through balls. Second half he did put one good ball in that Sharp maybe should have scored. Not sure he has given us the lift that Wilder wanted and still not quite sure what kind of player he is – he is not fast nor is he a back to goal player. Looked fed up to come off and to be honest he had probably been better than Sharp; who ironically improved after Brooks came on.

    Subs:

    Brooks – Came on and ran it out almost instantly. Next touch and he scored with a lovely run and then cool finish with one touch and then a rolled left foot finish right into the corner. He looked to get o the ball; came off the front and was a threat. Sure, not everything came off but love the fact he wants the ball and he does draw defenders.

    Lundstram – We had started giving it away a bit so he came on to solidify the midfield with five minutes to play. Won a few tackles and blocks as we saw out the game.

    Donaldson – Brought on right at the end for Sharp. Not sure he touched it.

    Manager: Wilder 7/10 – It is a win. Performance was a bit meh but he will point to the fact we kept a clean sheet and scored two decent well-made goals. His change with Brooks coming on saw him score the second. Not sure Wilson and Sharp worked and a few were off the pace. He had words at half time and we looked more determined playing a bit higher up the field and pressed them more and this led to us getting more of the ball and more chances.

    Officials – Scott Duncan. Odd performance. He was not awful and at times felt he let it flow and tried to keep the game going but he did some strange things. He gave a throw to us when he felt they took their throw too far forward from the position where he should have been (can you do that – thought you just booked them and let them take the throw still?). He then somehow missed the most obvious back pass I have seen as they played it back and Bywater picked it up? Did I miss something! The bookings he mostly got right – Stearman and Evans were cynical fouls as was Naylor for pulling Duffy down – why did he appeal that? A few free kicks I was not sure about – he penalised Evans for nothing and then Stevens for a fair shoulder charge and took ages to give it. He then gave us a free kick for a soft foul on Sharp. His assistants were not great as they kept guessing decisions – often not looking.

    Crowd – Flat atmosphere. Only a few hundred from Burton and not the best game. It was quiet though and I hope the crowd ramp it up a bit Saturday.

  3. #3
    Very good report DB. Always very well written, balanced and fair. Two comments. From my referees qualification recently: A throw from the wrong place is simply retaken. It isn’t a YC booking... except in exceptional circumstances such as it’s repeated (unsporting behaviour) or the taker is mouthy (dissent). Also... you have a repeated typo ‘quite spell’ instead of ‘quiet spell’. But thanks again for a comprehensive and reliable report.

  4. #4
    Thanks as always DB.
    Personally I thought the referee was poor. One or two nasty ones he let go and then he’d dish out a booking for what looked like a solid ball winning tackle. Minor things but just what I noticed.

  5. #5
    Agree with your scores DB Duffy MOM for me also. You always view the game through the whole of the 90 minutes and mark accordingly. Strange game we looked sluggish first half and Negative Nige played three forwards and it caused our three centre backs to hoof it first half. We scored a well worked goal and then had our usual slow five minutes before half time and Blackman kept us in it.

    Second half much better no doubt after a few words from CW and Duffy caused them problems with his running. Scored a sublime second goal great lay off from Billy perfect measured pass from Duffy and clinical finish from Brooks. Too many gaps in front of our back three that allowed them time and space. We need to tighten up against Florist as they will be tougher opposition.

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