Striker Taylor and Midfielder Conor Coady where given their first starts for the Blades since joining from Falkirk and Liverpool respectively. There were also starts for the first time in pre-season for defensive duo Tony McMahon and Danny Higginbotham and winger Ryan Flynn also.
The Blades are now unbeaten in six games this summer under new boss David Weir, but despite a glitzy performance where forced to wait until 54 minutes into the second half when Taylor netted the winner when he hit home after Sean McGinty saw his initial shot saved.
United have seen plenty of the ball in this summer friendlies and there trip to Derbyshire was no different as the Men of Steel dominated the game and almost took the lead early on when Eliott Whitehouse blasted over the bar after only two minutes of play.
On 17 minutes Alfreton had their first sight on goal – a slip by Higginbotham allowed Clayton to shoot under pressure from McMahon but his shot was saved by Mark Howard. At the other end Taylor, after a McGinty cross sidefooted wide whilst McFadzean saw his shot saved and Smith fired wide as the 30 minute mark approached.
The visitors continued to pepper the Town goal, Smith shot and was saved, McMahon headed over from McGinty’s cross and McFadzean saw his effort blocked on the line by keeper Atkins after a scramble. More attempts fell United’s way before the break; Coady and Smith were denied whilst McMahon and Flynn were both replaced by Terry Kennedy and Joe Ironside at the break.
It wasn’t long before chances fell the Blades way again after the break; Taylor saw his header from Kennedy’s cross saved by the keeper. But on 53 minutes they came even closer, Taylor saw his shot deflected and was parried away by Atkins – the follow up from Kennedy hit a post and met with much frustration. There rewards paid dividends a minute later when a run from McGinty was passed to by McFadzean, his initial shot was kept out by Atkins, but there was no mistake in the follow-up by TAYLOR who netted his first goal for the club.
Weir made further changes with Danny Higginbotham, Matt Hill, Conor Coady and Smith all being replaced by; Aaron Barry, Hodder, Whiteman and Jamie McDonagh before the hour mark but despite a new influx of players the chances continued – Ironside shot wide and McDonagh’s shot was blocked.
Howard was called into rare action to prevent a Purkiss chip from going in on 74 minutes and as the game drew to a close Alfreton wormed there way into it but couldn’t spoil United’s day as they tallied another victory in their pre-season clashes.
There was further action for Sheffield United as a young squad played at Stocksbridge Park Steels, drawing 2-2 at Bracken Moor.
Alfreton Town: Atkins, Wood, Franklin, Westwood, Fenton, Shaw, Law, Clayton, Ramsey-Dickson, A. Taylor, Meadows. Subs: C. Taylor, Purkiss, Palmer, Webster, Weldon, Kempson.
Sheffield United: Howard, McMahon (Kennedy 45), Higginbotham (Barry 55), Hill (Hodder 60), McGinty, Flynn (Ironside 45), Coady (Whiteman 60), McFadzean, Whitehouse, Taylor, Smith (McDonagh 55). Unused: Willis.