Season review - December

Last updated : 14 June 2009 By Bladesmadeditor

December's results:

Sheffield United 2:3 Burnley
Nottingham Forest 0:1 Sheffield United
Swansea City 1:1 Sheffield United
Sheffield United 2:2 Crystal Palace
Wolves 1:1 Sheffield United
Sheffield United 3:1 Charlton Athletic

United were stunned six days into the festive month when dark horses Burnley smashed in three goals at Bramall Lane. FChris Morganirst, Martin Paterson bundled the ball home in front of the Kop, but then the Claret's lead was destroyed when James Beattie slotted home from the spot after Billy Sharp was felled by Brain Jensen. Burnley were back in front after Gary Naysmith's trip on Chris Eagles in the area, Graham Alexander converted his penalty. Owen Coyle's men put the game to bed when Chris Eagles' truly magnificent drill beat Kenny and his back-line. Stephen Quinn's sweet free-kick collated the Blades a consolation but nothing else.

Kevin Blackwell's troops were determined to put the record straight after an inauspicious showing in the previous outing. Brian Howard's scissor-kick split Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United apart. His first goal for United secured a gratuitous three points despite another poor performance, with Forest unable to capitalise on umpteen chances.

Skipper Chris Morgan came to the rescue as his deft lob cancelled out Jason Scotland's spot-kick. Darius Henderson was dismissed one minute into the second period when his leaning arm caught Rangel. Jason Scotland converted a 56th minute penalty when Gary Naysmith brought down Prately seemingly on the edge of the area, but the referee A Marriner awarded a spot-kick. With three minutes spare, the ball was lofted back into the box, and it fell to the unpredictable Chris Morgan who cheekily snuck the ball over de Vries.

United were handed a killer-blow in stoppage time against Neil Warnock's Crystal Palace when Nick Carle drilled home with seconds remaining. Nathan Dyer capitalised on a slip-up in Palace's defence, he coolly tucked the ball away into Speroni's far-corner. Palace were back on level terms in the second-half when McCarthy scrambled home. James Beattie looked to have signed and sealed the Blades the three points in the 88th minute when he hammered home from the spot, after some tussles occurred in the area. But, Nick Carle's frantic equaliser on the 95th minute mark sent Neil Warnock's men back down to South London with a hard fought point.

An impressive performance had to be produced against table-topping Wolves on Boxing Day, and the travelling contingent got their just desserts. Paddy Kenny didn't feature due to not turning up on time to the coach departure to Molineux, so Ian Bennett deputised. Former Blade Neil Collins headed Wolverhampton in front from a corner, but Wolves' lead soon went up in smoke. The ball fell to the reliable James Beattie who could hammer the Blades an equaliser.

After an early shock against struggling Charlton, the Blades soon lived up to their capabilities. Hammeur Bouazza struck his second goal against United of the season after shabby defending. The final whistle seemed to be getting worryingly closer in the second quarters with Athletic in front, but, Stephen Quinn poked home to bring the score back to level terms, and then Danny Webber slotted away United's second. Seven minutes later, Stephen Quinn recorded a brace with a delicate free-kick into the top-corner which clipped the crossbar on the way in. It was a comfortable victory in the end, and not a bad end to the calendar year. Rather sadly at the time for Unitedites though, it turned out to be James Beattie's final game for the club as he made way to Stoke City who were battling for top flight survival at the time. He left the club with 12 goals recorded so far in the campaign.