Match Preview: Sheffield United vs. Burnley (Part One)

Last updated : 19 May 2009 By @blades_mad1889

blades vs. clarets
sheffield united vs. burnley
The Blades demolished Preston North End 2-1 on aggregative at the semi-final stage after United finished 3rd in the league behind automatic promotion teams Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City.

In the first leg at Deepdale the two sides drew 1-1, though it was the home side who stuck first, Sean St Ledger (21 minutes) was lucky not to be offside after Nick Montgomery headed back after a free-kick and the former Peterborough United defender tricked Paddy Kenny to score with ease.

United's performance in the first half disappointing but they made up for it in the second forty-five minutes when straight from kick-off the visitors attacked straight away and resulted in a goal; Darius Henderson saw his close range shot saved by the spectacular Andrew Lonergan in the Lilywhites net; the ball fell wide to Jamie Ward who lofted the ball over for Brian Howard to score on the volley - the goal was timed at 21 seconds.

The performance in Lancashire was equally as good at Bramall Lane despite striker Craig Beattie hashing chances in both games, however the Blades came out victors in the Steel City when again chance after chance went begging; until 59th minute when young Kyle Walker saw his superb cross meet the top of Greg Halford's head which flew into the top left hand corner of the goal, and in front of the Kop.

Having played a day earlier than Burnley and Reading there was twenty-four hour wait to see who the Blades would face in the grand finale; and as we all know Burnley came out eventual winners.

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In our home fixture with Owen Coyle's Clarets the Cutters lost 3-2 in a disappointing game; striker Martin Paterson (19) headed the visitors in front but James Beattie (36) fired home from the spot kick. Shortly before half-time it was 1-2 when Graham Alexander (42) netted his spot kick after Chris Eagles was fouled by Gary Naysmith.

Eagles (79) added a third in the second half-time to put United

Greg Halford celebrates his winning goal against Preston North End at Bramall Lane.
Image copyright to SportBox.TV
out of reach but three minutes from Stephen Quinn curled in a free-kick to give the home side a lifeline but the visitors hung on.

Blades boss Kevin Blackwell will go to Wembley without; Gary Speed (back), Ugo Ehiogu (hamstring), Gary Naysmith (crucial ligaments) and John-Joe O'Toole (ankle) - all of whom are out injured.

Strikers Darius Henderson (hamstring) and Jamie Ward (ankle) are both in a race against time to be fit for the final after the pair were both injured during the first leg at Deepdale, Craig Beattie, Arturo Lupoli or Danny Webber may take there places. Whilst Greg Halford (Achilles) is expected to be fit for the final showdown with Burnley.

Striker Billy Sharp (groin) has recovered from his injury and was included as an unused substitute in the Blades 1-0 win over Preston North End two weeks ago after a long period of absence and is likely to feature in some way against Burnley.

Possible Blades Line-Up: Paddy Kenny, Kyle Walker, Chris Morgan (captain), Matthew Kilgallon, Kyle Naughton, David Cotterill, Stephen Quinn, Nick Montgomery, Greg Halford, Brian Howard, Craig Beattie.

Substitutions: Ian Bennett, Leigh Bromby, Lee Hendrie, Arturo Lupoli, Billy Sharp.

:: Match Officials ::

Match Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Assistants: Darren Cann and Mick McDonough
Fourth Official: Lee Probert