Blades Bemoan Bore Draw

Last updated : 02 April 2013 By deadbat_db

For the third consecutive game United failed to score at the Lane and registered only one effort on goal as Carlisle actually came closest to breaking the stalemate after hitting the inside of George Long’s post. United shaded the second half but a glaring miss from Jonathon Forte was the closest they came to scoring as another large crowd once again failed to see a single goal.

United started with loanee Dominic Poleon in for the injured Ryan Flynn. Carlisle had a smattering of ex Blades in their match day squad; starting with Paul Thirwell and Jon Paul McGovern and having Danny Cadamateri on the bench.

Carlisle wearing their green away strip began better and won a few corners and throws in deep in United territory. Miller had an effort blocked out by Collins and then Welsh headed wide. The home side struggled to get in the game. The best things they did came from McDonald but his shot was blocked before his run and cross was blocked. United were struggling to make any headway and a few corners and set plays came to nothing. United were careless on the ball and the front two struggling to get into the game. Indeed it was the visitors that had the first real effort as a low shot that Long stretched to his right to push away Welsh’s low shot and United got the ball clear.

McMahon got involved in an unnecessary argument with the officials and was booked before finally United had an effort on goal as a powerful McDonald effort was pushed away by Gillespie. Robson then shot well wide from well over 35 yards as United looked woefully out of sorts once again at home.

O’Hanlon was booked for a clumsy looked challenge but in truth the visitors were coping with United too comfortably and as the half time interval approached United had a major let off as Noble’s low shot beat Long all ends up but hit the post and bounced across the goal and away to safety. It was a very good effort and unfortunate for the visitors who had been more than a match for their hosts. United did break forward for the final moments of the half but Robson took an extraordinary amount of time to take it and rightly referee Hill got sick of waiting and called time.

At the break Poleon and Hill came off with Murphy and Higginbotham giving United a whole new left side. Murphy then nearly found Robson who got not quite stretch enough but overall it was scrappy stuff. Carlisle were sitting back more and defending and looking less of a threat going the other way but United were looking no more likely to create anything as the expectant Kop continued to be frustrated.

Ironside then replaced Kitson and he put himself about to win a free kick. He then got on a through ball and held it up and as it looked like the chance had gone cleverly played in Forte who scuffed badly wide right in front of goal. For the second consecutive home game the Sheffield born front man fluffed his line with the game at 0-0. He held his head in his hands but soon after he was too slow to react to another through ball as the ball was played forward. Murphy tried to run at his man but overrun it but at least he showed some determination to go at his man.

O’Hanlon’s ill advised lunge on Ironside saw him given a second yellow card and you felt finally United with a man advantage would now press on but the game remained mired in a scrappy midfield battle. Robson and McDonald were the two men looking both the likeliest but often they took too long to get the ball forward and with Forte slow to read the game it was the youngster Ironside who looked the most likely to make something happen; if only with his sheer enthusiasm. Doyle’s awful shot that nearly went out of the ground summed up how poor it had been but sadly you could not say it had been a one off.

The game ticked down to the 5 additional minutes of stoppage time but as much as they huffed and puffed it was really awful fare as Carlisle were defending their hard earned point with ease. United continued to lump aimless diagonal balls and never got the ball wide. The game petered out and as Collins header was off target the final whistle came with the expectant and sadly deserved jeers from a home crowd that continues to watch an unacceptable product on the pitch.

United – 0-0 was the right score. Both teams were dreadful but as the home side it was up to us to take the initiative, to do something, to do anything. We did nothing. We basically just went through the motions. No one took the game by the scruff off the neck and we looked utterly clueless from start to finish. Really, really poor. Slow, lacking idea and punchless. We could have played till midnight and still not scored. If we carry on like this at home we can forget promotion. We are abject at home. We may not look like conceding much but we do not look like scoring. That is three games with no goals scored and we have maybe had a couple of efforts of note on goal in all three home games. It is not as if we have even played good sides as the three sides we have played have been mid table. Today we played a side that has conceded the most goals in the entire division and they coped with us easily. McDonald had one shot saved, they had a shot saved and hit the post and then Forte scuffed an awful sitter wide. That was it. The rest of the game as MK and Orient was mired around the midfield with nothing happening. We just lumped balls forward to no one. The forwards never held it up. The midfield created nothing and we never got wide or got decent crosses in all game. It was embarrassingly bad as players who many have played at a higher level could not even do the basics right.

Messrs Wilson and Barlow are simply not doing their job at the moment. They cannot put out a side or enable us to have the correct tactics to create many chances at the Lane let alone score any and for it to happen one game is poor; for it to happen three straight games is inexcusable. Three 0-0 draws at this level at the Lane is unacceptable. It shows Wilson is a poor coach who simply cannot change things and if we fail to turn it around for the final 7 games (4 of which are at home) then sadly he has to take a major part in the blame. We have lost players and have an inferior squad but should still have enough (still biggest wage bill in the division in my opinion – Kitson, Robson etc) to go up. If we fail again then he will have to step down. The home performances simply have been woeful. It is all too slow and predictable and mostly it was just angled balls or lumped balls forward. We never looked like getting behind them. We never looked like turning them or playing any real moves of note that would leave to a chance. Carlisle are a really poor side and concede goals every week. We never looked like scoring and they actually had the best chance (when they hit the post). Ironside at least put a shift in when they came in and Forte missed a sitter but in reality a win for United would have been unjust. As many of the other top teams keep sneaking wins at home we continue to toss points away.

I actually looked at much of the side at one point today and thought most would be dispensed with in the summer if we somehow went up and considered if they really care? If we do not go up then they may be around another year and carry on playing in this division. Kitson and Robson will move on but many of the rest such as Collins, Doyle, McMahon, Hill, McDonald are probably at their level as league one players. Maybe they are happy to just remain at such a level? Seems a ridiculous comment but surely if such players wanted to push on better themselves they would up themselves 20% to ensure we went up. Sadly either they are not good enough or do not have the inner fire to raise themselves. It is a probably a combination of both.

The loan players brought in Poleon and Forte are not good enough and actually no better than Ironside/McFadzean; players they are starting ahead of. Our scouting network must be poor if that is the best we can do and it staggers me that McCabe and the board feel we have enough to go up and would not give Wilson any more help to being more loan players in. This current squad does not have enough and that is even before the sheer number of games we have to play.

We now have a tough game at Walsall and actually could be clinging onto a playoff spot after this in my opinion as I can’t see us getting much there. We cannot keep relying on away results. We then have three home games in a week. Will we even have a decent effort let alone score? I may be slightly sarcastic but I am being honest. We barely are having a shot at home and against better teams as all 3 probably are; it will be interesting as I fear for us. I will be astonished if this side goes up automatic. There I have said it but I would be amazed. We may cling onto a top 6 spot but that is just delaying the inevitable. I came away from Tranmere and felt we may have a shot after a solid, workmanlike showing but then I had forgot the last 2 home games and today brought it back home how poor we are and how we simply look so clueless. We have now scored 1 goal in 4 and that was an own goal. At home we are not good enough and current performances and results at the Lane will probably see the inevitable fade out.

Sadly today drained much of my belief away that this United team can go up. I think we will finish 5th or 6th at best now and then lose in the playoffs (not even get to Wembley). This team does not have the extra gear nor bottle to finish the job and the manager is utterly clueless how to change things (team, formation, tactics) to break down some utterly awful sides. If as I expect we do fade away and limply miss out as I have resigned myself to, then we have to change things both in the management and the personnel as this slow, pedestrian and unimaginative side is mostly dire to watch. We rely on scraping the odd 1-0 and for fans that pay £20+ a match to watch they are not getting very much value for money at all. I have heard quite a few saying they are not renewing next season and the crowds will take another dip if McCabe does not act. Of course they could surprise me and go on a run and win many of the remaining games but does anyone really think that is going to happen? Seriously? I have sadly prepared myself for the disappointment of the next few weeks as the slow motion car crash of the season coming to the inevitable disastrous ending happens before my eyes.

Carlisle – They deserved their point. They had the better of the first half and had a decent effort saved by Long and then were very unlucky to hit the inside of the post. They sat back a bit more in the second half but they still saw us off fairly comfortably. The centre backs just headed the ball away all game and the full backs defended with ease. Even when they went down to ten men they never looked unduly worried. The fact they have one of the worst defence this level makes it even more depressing how easily they saw us off. They worked hard in areas of the field and defended ok but I cannot even say they played great or were really hard working. They did not even pressure the ball like some teams have at the Lane and mostly we lost it due to awful passes or long balls. The lad who got sent off was daft and should have given us an even bigger lift but we looked no more likely to score after this. Like MK and Orient, another really poor side that should have been put to the sword but another side they got a comfortable point and left the Lane knowing they had as many chances as us.

Long 6.5/10 – Little to do for much of the game but so did their keeper. Made one smart save in the first half down low. He then watched another shot hit the post. His kicking was poor but mostly the back passed played back to him were unnecessary.

McMahon 4/10 – Stupidly booked in the first half after he had committed a few fouls already and felt it was a wise move to shout at both the linesman and referee. Rightly booked and then gave another daft foul away after this. Should be fined maximum wages. He knew he needed to go another 3 games without a yellow card so picks up one for mouthing off and is now out for 2 of last 7 games. Moron. As for his play, he just lumped diagonal balls forward; same as the rest of the defence; his set plays were poor and when defending he often was too far away from his man. A very average player who thinks he is much better than he is.

Hill 5.5/10 – He too punted it away a lot but at least he managed to get in the right position defensively and does normally at least clear it or get in the way. Going forward he offers us nothing at all. Not sure why he went off and can only assume it was an injury.

Maguire 6/10 – Decent defensively I suppose and made some tackles/blocks but often he just played that same diagonal lumped ball forward or just clouted it. He never tried to come out of defence or try and draw the midfield and just smashed it forward.

Collins 6/10 – Defended ok and made some headers etc but he too was poor with the ball and sliced a few out or just kicked it forward instead of trying to retain possession. I suppose I am being a bit harsh when we keep so many clean sheets but I would say that our defence was under little pressure today and still made things hard, with silly over hit back passes or lumps forward to no one.

Poleon 3/10 – Did nothing really. Indeed in the games I have seen he had looked very ‘headless chicken’ in all aspects of his game. Lacks any real football intellect and seems unable to know where to stand or run to. Moved inside for a spell but did not get near Kitson. Cannot recall many positive things happening when the ball went to him. Taken off but it could have been him or any of 5 or 6 going off!

Doyle 3/10 – Pretty abject again. His performance ranged for falling over to telegraphed balls shooting into nearly the back row of the Kop. A poor player. He spends most of games arguing with the referee or trying to sucker opponents into fouls by his own snidey hacks or pulls. Why we gave him an extra contract was baffling? He would not be good enough if we went up and is barely good enough at this level (certainly not for a side going for promotion – I look at mobile midfielder Brentford and Bournemouth possess in comparison).

McDonald 7/10 – Our best player again. He still did not really do any major things of note all game but he had our only shot on goal and at least tried to get on the ball and link play. He put some effort in today and in the first half he at least looked interested and showed some effort. Second half he seemed to fade a bit but you still felt if we would create anything it would come from him

Robson 4.5/10 – Mixed bag. Some nice touches and occasions when he got on the ball and tried to make things happen interspersed with some lazy giveaways, some awful corners (very rarely beat first man and then when he did went right over the top of them all!) and moments of real indecision. He is woefully slow and at times seems to be running in quick sand. For all his neat and tidy touches I cannot recall many defence splitting balls or times where he really exerted a hugely positive influence on the game. He has ability but with woeful fitness and pace mixed with poor players he plays with; it is hard for him to be able to affect games.

Forte 2/10 – Terrible. Hid behind his man most of the game and never seemed to show for the ball when it came forward. Did not link with Kitson nor any of the rest of the team and took an age to react when the ball came forward. He then had two great chances but awfully scuffed wide and then took an age to react and the defender cleared on another moment. Towards the end he had one final shot that he blazed over. Sadly looks even worse than he was when he was a kid. Back then he had no real football brain, did not know where to run and could not score goals. He sadly has not moved on. How he had learnt a move to a Premiership side is beyond me but the reality is he can barely command a regular place at this level as loan moves at Crawley and Notts County show (never a regular starter). Surely Ironside or anyone else cannot do much worse?

Kitson 3/10 – Think he has been totally ineffective last few games and today he was never in the game. The ball never stuck to him, he did not link with his strike partner (whoever that was) and seemed behind the play. He had been a threat in his early United career and looked a goal threat. At the moment he is barely having any chances on goal and centre backs are imposing themselves on him. He looks an ageing journeyman not that much better than Porter or Cresswell at the moment as sad as it is to say.

Higginbotham 5/10 – He is inferior to Hill in my opinion. He is clumsy, suspect in possession and very slow. An odd signing when clearly we need attacking impetus and his wages (which will be fairly substantial you guess?) could have been used elsewhere. Not sure if he will play right back instead of the suspended McMahon as Westlake has not exactly convinced when he has played either.

Murphy 6.5/10 – He at least tried to go at his man and had a few runs and crosses/passes of note. He lacks strength and at times seems to get crowded out but there is some promise there. Hopefully he may get a run till the end of the season.

Ironside – Thought he really put himself about and led to the sending off. He got in front of his man, won headers and showed some desire. Nothing spectacular but at least there was some effort and pride in wearing the shirt. Deserves a start as at the moment we are offering nothing up front.

Officials – Referee Hill had a decent game really. There was rarely a bad tackle all game but I cannot remember many things he got wrong but then again were there any tackles of note! McMahon was idiotic to protest and rightly booked. The lad O’Hanlon also committed two silly fouls and thus it was a straight forward two yellow cards. It was reckless from him and could have cost his side the game but our poor play rendered it more meaningless than it should have been. He may have clamped down on some blatant timewasting but to be fair booked a few for this and added 5 minutes. As I say we cannot blame the officials for our complete lack of poise, skill and creativity all game.

Crowd – I am sure some will say they got on the backs of the home side again but sadly I don’t see it. The crowd are paying a lot of money to watch on the whole; utter dross. No goals, no chances and no good play. The fact the crowd are not baying for blood is a miracle. We are at one of our lowest ebbs in years in terms of league position and playing some shocking sides and we cannot even score let alone beat them. I think the crowd has been remarkably patient. Yes towards the end groans came but what can you expect? The players are simply bottling it at home and as I have said before maybe they would prefer to play in front of 3-4,000 every week. The crowd are desperate to get behind the side and just want a spark, anything; something to happen but sadly it is drab, dreary and largely unacceptable.

We have another 4 games to come at home and Wilson’s future at the Lane and United will be decided by how we play and what we do in these games. 4 more games like the last 3 at home will not only see failure to win but against better teams will probably lead to defeats. If he cannot find the answer in terms of improvements he will be gone.

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