Get your very own personalised football gifts!
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: United 2 Brentford 0 - report

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    United 2 Brentford 0 - report

    The Blades kept marching on with a tremendously gutsy performance to see off Brentford at the Lane and kept another clean sheet in the process. The 2-0 score line does not tell the story at all. United were not at their best early on but took the lead thanks to an Olly Norwood penalty after George Baldock had been fouled in the box. However, Gary Madine was given a straight red card to shock most inside the crowd and United had to play nearly an hour with ten men. Faced with such a good football side, United produced a display packed full of heart and they defended superbly. Brentford created chances but Dean Henderson kept them out when they did break through but a superb rear-guard action took United right to the closing stage. Then after winning a corner, David McGoldrick headed home after John Egan had nodded back across and the noise inside the Lane was as loud as it has been all season with an almighty roar. This sealed the win and made sure United go into the big clash at Elland Road still right up with the top two. Despite the Madine blow (he will miss three games); Norwood did not get booked. It was a different kind of display to one we have seen before but one that showed the bravery and togetherness of this group summed up by Wilderís bold approach even at 10 men.

    There was a surprise in the starting line up when Wilder went with Madine and Hogan up to with the latter starting against his former club. Dowell came in for Duffy. With Wrestler Mick Foley in attendance, Billy Sharp was on the bench. Brentford were one of the form sides in the league and had won at Middlesbrough at the weekend. They fielded talented attacking trio, Maupay, Watkins and Benrahma but were without first choice keeper Daniel Bentley; starting with Luke Daniels between the sticks.

    As it did on Saturday, the game started with a swirling wind and rain lashing down; United did start well once again with an early cross from Fleck just being clutched from Daniels with Hogan missing the cross narrowly. Watkins had the first effort for the away side but was well off target from range. United then had an effort from a corner with Madineís header being off target when he ought to have done better. United continued to move it around well and Fleck had a searing effort that flashed wide.

    Brentford slowly started to come back into the game. A dangerous cross from the left from Barbet dissected the defence and Maupay met it but Henderson saved brilliantly. The move, effort and save was reminiscent of the one at Hillsborough just over a week ago.

    The away side started to move it around well and a clumsy late tackle rightly earned Basham a yellow card and a good chance for Brentford. Benrahma the man who had been fouled took it and his effort was on target but Henderson pushed over in the middle of the goal. United were sitting off and the Bees were showing real quality on the ball moving it from side to side.

    It was maybe against the run of play when United took the lead. After Brentford dithered, Baldock got in on the blind side of Barbet and nicked the ball and the defender clearly upended him. The assistant referee saw it and flagged immediately and the referee pointed to the spot. With Sharp and McGoldrick both on the bench, acting skipper NORWOOD took it (he had missed his only other penalty for United in the shootout v Hull on his debut) and he sent the keeper the wrong way to score with ease.

    Baldock then had a looping effort nodded just side after a deep cross. Madine was penalised for a late foul but did not learn his lesson and soon after he went in very late on Konsa. It seemed a regulation yellow and was a real shock when the referee produced a red card.

    United had to see out over 10 minutes of the first half and initially Basham seemed to be pushed into midfield and United went to a flat back four. Brentford almost levelled immediately. Watkins effort was parried by Henderson and Maupay fired over badly when he really should have scored. Egan gave away a free kick in another dangerous area but Benrahma fired over. United were hanging on a bit as the half time whistle finally came.

    At the break Wilder sent on Cranie and McGoldrick for Dowell and Hogan. Basham was in the midfield area still and Cranie went to centre back as United had a 5-3-2 formation. The changes almost had an instant impact as McGoldrick was in and hit a fierce shot that Daniels pushed behind. OíConnellís header was straight at the keeper from the resultant corner.

    After this it was all Brentford for the next period of the game. Odubjao had a shot blocked and then OíConnell and Fleck both threw themselves on the lines to stop further attempts. Brentford were moving it from side to side and United could not get out. Maupay had another effort saved from Henderson but then the keeper somehow kicked a clearance behind himself and had to run back to parry away!

    On the hour mark, as Brentford won another corner, Mokotjo was teed up and his shot rattled the post. The rebound was fired over by Jeanvier. It was a let off for United who were now really hanging on in there. Brentford continued to move it about and stretch the United defence but the Blades were keeping a decent shape and trying to ensure that Brentford had to shoot from range rather than be able to penetrate deep into the heart of the home box.

    More shots came in and were repelled with Benrahma and then Odubajo also having shots blocked yet again.

    United were just punting the ball away and then reverting to a defensive shape and Wilder saw this so he replaced Baldock with Sharp in a very brave attacking move. Clearly, he wanted to see if United could keep the ball and have more of a threat the other way. Thomas Frank responded sending on Emiliano and Canos for Odubajo and Konsa as Brentford tried to push more men forward.

    Sharp made his presence felt and from a chance after a free kick, he pulled it back but Egan could not quite turn home.

    Brentford came again and Sawyers worked an opening but again Fleck got his toe in. OíConnell then made a crunching tackle to deny another opportunity. United broke out and had another half chance when Sharp fed off Bashamís good work to feed McGoldrick but the strikerís pass did not find Sharp and the chance was gone.

    Canos twice wriggled through but his shooting was poor and he was off target on both occasions with players screaming for the pull back. Brentford were now starting to shoot more from range and Unitedís collective will was impressive as they started to see the clock ticking down. Benrahma fired miles off target and then Maupay was wide before Henderson pounced on a loose ball on the next attack. The work from Egan and OíConnell to keep concentration and make so many clearances and blocks was immense. Fleck then was the next to make another big defensive block.

    The ball went through and the ever willing Sharp pressured Jeanvier into knocking it out for a corner as the keeper reacted too late. As the corner came over Egan sent it back across and MCGOLDRICK arched his body to power his header home off the underside of the bar. The roar that erupted around Bramall Lane was deafening. A huge goal and a pivotal moment potentially in the season.

    Unitedís fans had really helped the team second half to got the extra yards and they sensed the victory now; cheering every tackle, block and clearance. Stevens nipped in to clear and then more superb covering from Fleck kept Brentford out. Canos then shot wide again and Henderson had to be alert on the next chance as the game entered four minutes additional time.

    Brentford won two corners but Henderson fielded the final effort and more incredible energy from Stevens, Fleck, McGoldrick saw Brentford chased all over the field in the last minute. United forced Brentford to kick it out and more cheers erupted from the crowd. Soon after the final whistle went and every United player seemed to replicate the fans on the terraces in punching the air. It was a big big three points.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    United – This team keeps on producing. A different kind of night. We did not have the ball much (even with 11 we were not great) and met a very good opponent who should be embarrassed to be so low with the talent they have and technical ability. Brentford played some lovely football and stretched us all night. We got the lead and then the big moment – the sending off. I have watched it back and it is stupid but not a red card at all. He is late but his feet are on the ground and not sure he really hits him that hard. It was a ridiculous tackle as the player was going nowhere and moronic but it is not a red card. The Rotherham one on Saturday he lunged in and left his feet more and had his foot higher. Madine was late but seemed to have his foot on the floor and whilst he did go to ground, he did not lunge; he just kicked him. After this I feared the worst. We hung on to half time and they were pegging us back.

    After the break, our changes did not seem to help and we could not keep hold of the ball. It was wave after wave of attacks. For a spell it seemed inevitable they would score and you felt if they did, they would go on and win; as they did at Boro but we hung in there. Henderson made some saves, we had a bit of luck when they hit the post and the defence made so many tackles and blocks. I thought there were so many blocks and tackles. We really dug in. We actually had a few chances on the break and when Sharp came on it helped us as we had an out ball and two that could chase and run. This changed it somewhat. I actually felt from 70 minutes on; they did not really have as many clear chances and they were shooting from range more. We started to have a bit of play and broke things up and were not just kicking it away. They started to be a bit selfish and stopped working it from side to side as much and took some silly long-range shots. I still thought we would do well to get out without conceding as they had so much of the ball and felt something would be played in, they would finish as they were still moving it about and stretching us.

    However, I then thought Sharp and McGoldrick being just nuisances allowed us to break out a bit. We had one chance and then won the corner and I felt they were always a bit susceptible on these – the fact the other way they took so much short stuff and did not put it in the box instantly suggested we could profit the other way. So, it proved when we won two big headers and sealed the game.

    It had been a superb effort from the Blades and they stay right in the promotion race with so many heroes wearing red and white. We did not play much football but we did not have much of the ball after the red card. They are probably the worst side to play against with ten men but we threw bodies in the lines, we kept our shape mostly and won tackles/blocks. We really had to dig in. The Sharp change helped us and we then somehow had a bit of new life but you still thought we would do well to see it out. The second goal was huge. Tonight, there will be a lot of talk about the stupidity of Madine (harsh but don’t give the ref a chance to send you off) but I would want it more to be about the bravery of our manager (changes) and the sheer heart and desire of the team. Everyone put a huge shift in but massive credit to the keeper, Henderson, O’Connell, Egan and Fleck. All four were absolute warriors.

    We now go into Saturday and have to go and give it everything. There may be a few tired legs but Sharp and McGoldrick will start and only played a half or less. Duffy will come back I feel also. We have to go there and just put it all on the line. If we lost it would not be the end but 5 points with how Leeds are playing might be too much with 8 to play. A draw would be fine but we need to go with a positive attitude and try and win. I am more relaxed about that game than I was tonight oddly as I felt tonight was a real banana skin and even more so when we went down to 10. I felt our run would come to an end but this team keeps showing everyone that they are proving people wrong and maybe I should not doubt them at all. I also feel it is a different game to Hillsborough really and that we can play a bit more relaxed also. We just need to give it everything; with a two week break to come after that. If we lay it all on the line like tonight and lose; then so be it. This team deserves so much credit for what it is doing and tonight embodied what it is to be a Blade. The ovation they got at the end and unison between fans and team summed it up.

    Brentford – We have never lost to them since we came up. We have done the double over them this season and took 4 points off them last season. That is testament to how well we have done the last two seasons as these are a very good side who should do much better really.

    Oddly their fans seem to think they are miles better than many teams (including us when you read some of the forums – and maybe they are but have to prove it with points gained and sadly they always start seasons badly and pick up too late) and will critique the likes of Egan and O’Connell. I tell you why make no mistake Brentford were one of the better sides at the Lane and actually were more than matching us 11 v 11. They always play great football and at times you think what a good side they are but they have little end product and you can see why they have tossed so many points away. They make daft mistakes at the back and at the other end are not clinical enough. Their fans may love they way they play but in truth they need to have more of a decisive edge in both boxes or they will be a mid-table club this year and next year. The likes of O’Connell and Egan are the sort of players they need if they want to push on ironically as they lack steel and leadership. Give me these two lads over the pretty, tippy tap stuff at the back they show. It gets you what it has got them mid table.

    That said; they all are very comfortable on the ball and are easy on the eye. They knock it about, are patient (too patient) and play some nice one touch stuff. They have some really good players and a few maybe we could nick like we have before. They have some real attacking threats, pace, trickery and technique but as I say need to mix it up a bit. They need a bit more grit and maybe physical strength in key areas as you saw they lack a bit on set plays and almost have to score a perfect goal at times – something we have been guilty of at times but at least we can score goals in different ways. They know tonight has ultimately ended any play off hopes in all likelihood. They had to really win to have a chance and with an hour against ten would have fancied their chances but could not get that goal. If they had; they probably would have gone on and won but then made errors that saw the second go in.

    The new manager has actually turned things around after a poor start when he took over from Dean Smith but it will be a bit too late and you worry if some of their better players, Maupay, Watkins and maybe Sawyers might get cherry picked like some of their other talent was. Still they of course have a scouting system and data analysts that allow them to sign the next players to replace the outgoing that they normally sell on for a profit. It is a system that works to a point but not sure I would like to see players going constantly and moving on and then others moving in etc. It is a bit Championship Manager.

    Opponent man of the match – I felt the lad in midfield Saywers was excellent. He dictated play and was running things but of course we had to sit off in this area. Watkins was dangerous and Benrahma was a box of tricks but the end product was lacking. They all are comfortable on the ball and even some of the back lads can pass it and show quick feet.

    Weak link – Maupay had a poor game and missed a few really good chances. He missed two point blank range efforts and then miskicked another second half. At the back though they made mistakes and Barbet (penalty), Dalsgaard and Jeanvier (corner to the goal) all errored at key times. I feel there is chances for goals if you put them under pressure. I also felt the sub Canos was so selfish and wasteful. He showed some good feet but did not look up and find the extra man choosing to shoot three or four times or run down blind alleys.

    Henderson 8/10 – He got man of the match and was very good. He made one point blank save first half from Maupay and pushed a free kick over. He did nearly make a mess of a shot that Maupay then blazed over on the rebound and then nearly kicked into his own near when the ball was played him back – these two were not great moments but he did recover. After this he pushed away a few shots and looked determined not be beat. Had a bit of luck when one hit the post but he was very commanding and took some key late crosses/through balls. The save in the first half was very good and then he pushed a low one away but not sure he made many out of this world saves but did make a lot of saves and had to make them.

    Baldock 7/10 – Got forward to start the game well and of course nipped in and drew the foul for the penalty. He then had a header go wide. Then after the sending off had to sit in more and defend and did this well against some talented players running at him. Withdrawn for Sharp on the hour.

    Stevens 7.5/10 – Committed performance where he got blocks in, made tackles and tried to keep his shape. Got done a few times by people overloading him on two v ones but that was not his or the teams’ fault. Towards the end he made quite a few interceptions at ***** times and helped us stop balls coming in.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Egan 8.5/10 – Thought he was superb. Headed and kicked it away but helped us keep a good shape and not get stretched too much and was key in helping us keep tightly knitted together in the middle where we could. Just made sure he kept his focus and kept an eye on Maupay as much as he could. Did lose him once when he nearly scored. Set up the ***** second with the header at the back post. A real rock. Brentford’s loss is our gain and a snip at 4 million in todays prices.

    O’Connell 9.5/10 – Superb performance. He was an absolute colossus. Maybe one of the best defensive performances I have seen in a long, long time. I lost count of the number of tackles and blocks he made. He was everywhere after we went down to ten men and just threw his body into shot after shot. He made interceptions and tackles when it mattered and every time, they looked set to get in; he suddenly emerged with the block or came out with the ball.

    Basham 7/10 – Not his best night for me and at times seemed a bit headless chicken but sheer effort and will to win as always. He got booked for a poor foul and was a bit leggy at times but then 2nd half he just covered lots of ground and like others made key tackles and blocks when it mattered. Played a number of positions and although did not see much of the ball he did a lot of good work off it. Worried when he was hacking at people at the end when he had been booked.

    Fleck 8.5/10 – Ran Egan and O’Connell close for man of the match. He too was everywhere and covered so much ground. He started the game well dictating our attacks and running at them and nearly made a goal with a good cross and then had a shot just wide. After this it was all about the sheer will to win as he got to so many balls, he had no right to or blocked so many shots by covering round and chucking himself at things. He put so much effort in and looked so determined to help us over the winning line. Emphatically back to his best the last month.

    Norwood 7/10 – Did a job for the team. Hard as he was not on the ball as much and at times did just hack it clear instead of using his composure but as the game went on, he started to play more with his head and I felt used it better and slowed it down more. Early on he was involved in our moves forward but after the red card; we hardly had the ball and he just had to do more of a defensive job. A few tackles he thought about and sort of pulled out of it. Just kept his shape and ensure the midfield were tough to break through.

    Dowell 6/10 – He had a few early runs but then faded and did not help us keep the ball when we needed to press higher up the field. I felt at times we conceded possession too easy and needed him to do more of what he did early on when he ran with it a few times and moved us up the field. One poor shot and then another where he made the wrong final ball. Felt with 10 men he was always going to come off as he does not do enough defensively.

    Madine 3/10 – He was unfortunate to get a red card but two stupid tackles in close succession really. The second was very late and no need for it at all. Just hold your ground. He had started the game better than Hogan and linked well using his chest to good affect but now he will only be available for our last 6 games now as misses the next month of action and three crucial games and we miss an outlet that he has given us. Really disappointing.

    Hogan 4/10 – His mark may seem harsh but he barely touched the ball and when it came to him he did not retain it. Three times he failed to hold it up in close succession and looked a bit disinterested. We went to 10 and needed him to really up his effort but he was just strolling about. I have been disappointed with him the last two games – he has not done enough and will now surely be back on the bench for a period of games. He really needs to offer more; to be stronger physically and just looked a bit lost and weak tonight. At least put yourself about a bit even if the ball is not always at your feet. When it was, he lost it – he had one chance but was selfish and hit the keeper.

    Subs –

    Cranie 7/10 – Kept his shape and did what he had to. Played almost two positions at once- right back and right centre back and then centre back for a period too. He made a few interceptions and tried to stop them coming down that side although he got beat a few times for pace but kept his discipline and did not dive in.

    McGoldrick 7/10 – Felt he made a difference and was a threat. He kept it when he could, chased people down and worked very hard. He had a few chances and shot at the keeper and then misplaced his pass to Sharp but then got the ***** second goal. Love watching him play and showed another side to his technical play with hard work and running to help us tonight.

    Sharp 7/10 – Made a difference too as he gave us another out ball. Won us a few free kicks, chased things and then forced a chance for Egan. He also won the corner that led to the second goal. He put more effort in the first 3 minutes he was on than Hogan in 45 minutes.

    Wilder 8.5/10 – I am not sure I would have started Hogan and Madine up top although can see the thinking switching Dowell in for Duff. Hogan offered little and I felt Dowell also were quite weak. The red card was a disaster and meant we had to reshape. We put Bash into the middle for a bit, then back again and then Cranie came on and we had a 5 for a period again with Bash back into midfield and then more of a 4 as Cranie went right back and Sharp joined McGoldrick. I think both forwards made a difference and it was very brave taking off a defender for a striker with 10 men but it worked as it got us higher up the field and made sure we actually moved them back a bit more. We had another threat and led to little pockets where we stopped the wave after wave. Both then were involved in the killer goal. He made some real ballsy moves tonight and keeps doing the unexpected and getting results. We really should just leave him to it.

    Referee – Tony Harrington. The big decisions were the penalty and the red card. The penalty was right. Baldock nipped in and he was felled. The Brentford players did not appeal at all although his assistant gave it – not sure he was going to at all and was closer to it I felt! As for the red card; it was a daft tackle but I have watched it back – it is not a red card. He points to Madine having got him between the knee and foot – just higher than the ankle but not sure he did. He was late and it was stupid but not too footed and not a lunge. He dived in and left his feet and maybe he felt his studs were showing but I think a red was very harsh. Not sure an appeal will work as they will say it was dangerous play. I think you would see a lot of reds in games if that is one though. Thankfully it did not cost us but will see him out for some crucial games. The other booking, Bash was routine and a silly one from our player. The rest of the game he seemed to give them a few other 50-50’s and not sure we got much tonight – the two subs up top got grabbed a few times and he only gave Sharp one foul. It seemed the lad kicked out at Sharp also at one point. Not sure what all the fuss was about on the ball deflating – it clearly had one and the ref seemed to signal it also but odd McGoldrick picked it up before he blew! Still we had the ball so not sure what the officials or Maupay were on about – we were moving forward with it so suffered as a result. What did they want to happen – us give it them back? He had one assistant who was on it and seemed to give things (the penalty) and a few others and the other who seemed like he did not want to make any decisions at all.

    Crowd – 24,463. Down a bit but understandable for a night match and it was very cold again. Brentford brought 500 at most – maybe even less – closer to 400? It was one of the poorest followings of the season. Not surprising with the Sky red button thing etc and a long way to come but we had a 2,000 following down there earlier in the season in similar circumstances. I felt the crowd were very quiet first half and it was not much of a backing that Wilder had asked for. Strangely more the red card than the first goal that galvanised the crowd. 2nd half they really helped the team and there was a lot more chants and real effort to help the team. They cheered very ***** tackle and block and saw the sheer effort that went in from the players. You could tell how much they were determined to see it out and the crowd really responded in kind. As time ticked by; you sensed we could maybe do it and then the 2nd goal saw the roof lift off. One other point; I have no idea what the names of the exits are at Bramall Lane so if you announced one exit in the South Stand is closed (due to the wind/safety reasons etc) then tell me which end it is rather than telling me to use exit Y or whatever it was? Overall, another great night and one that showed the togetherness on and off the pitch. More tremendous scenes at the end and the chant, ‘We love United we do! Yeah, United we love you!’ never felt to true; as the players came to the Kop.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts