Blades Bounce Back

After a slow start where the visitors began well and forced keeper Simon Moore into a reaction save, United grew into the game and controlled most of the first half. Poor finishing once again let them down but after the break they blew Swindon away with goals from Mark Duffy (x2), Paul Coutts and Caloan Lavery. United played some delightful football and could have won by an even greater margin in an excellent performance. Coutts and Fleck controlled the centre of midfield once again meaning United dominated the ball as is now becoming the norm but it was Duffy who stood out as the star performer in an outstanding display. The visitors simply could not handle his running, touch and quality. It will have been a welcome sight to manager Chris Wilder after two games without a win, albeit games they should have won.

United opted to bring back Matt Done from the last league game and went with him and Sharp up top. Jake Wright was back fit but was on the bench as Wilder went with Basham, Ebanks Landell and O’Connell at the back.

Swindon began the game with an impressive start. They got on the ball and forced United back winning two early corners and from one came a great chance. Rossi Branco hit it but Moore made a great reaction save. Soon after a Rodgers free kick nearly was converted as the Blades began sloppily with Freeman also being booked for a foul. United finally came into the game and Freeman had one shot saved.

On 8 minutes there was a poignant moment as a round of applause went round the ground to mark the passing of the brave boy Kasabian who had passed away. At the end of this tribute, United nearly fittingly marked it with a goal as Duffy cleverly threaded the ball through to Done who beat the offside trap and was one on one. Sadly, his finish was too close to the keeper who made the save. It was the best chance of the game. Maybe Done actually had too long to think about it.

Thomas was booked for a foul on Sharp as the referee gave the advantage but Swindon cleared. Coutts and Fleck were now having most of the ball and Swindon were now sitting further and further back. The home side were now well on top and a corner saw a scramble with O’Connell and Sharp both blocked before it was eventually cleared. Soon after Duffy played another great ball into the path of Sharp who tried to lob the keeper as it bounced but Branco Rossi cleared off the line and then Lafferty’s goal bound shot from the clearance was saved by the legs of Vigouroux.

United continued to keep at Swindon and Sharp had another shot blocked just before the break.

Half time saw Swindon make one change with Hylton replacing Doughty.

It had been one way traffic at the end of the first half and it continued to start the second. Fleck made a great run and played in Lafferty whose cross was perfect for Sharp. The striker was right in front of goal but screwed wide when it seemed easier to score to the disbelief of the crowd.

Thankfully the opening goal came not long after. On 54 minutes, Lafferty and Fleck did the initial work and the cross came over to DUFFY who flicked the ball goal wards. It did not have much power but keeper Vigouroux who made the initial save, somehow scooped the ball behind him and towards the goal. He chased back and tried to jump on it before it crossed the line but most in the ground seemed to think he had got back too late and indeed there seemed little doubt with the officials who signalled for the goal. The keeper protested and booted the ball away in frustration but it was a big error, not in keeping with his performance which had been excellent before this mistake.

Two minutes later and it was 2-0. Freeman and Duffy were patient down the right and then played it back towards COUTTS who hit a superb low shot that went through bodies and in off the far post. A great goal and gave the Blades the cushion their domination had deserved.

United were now in buoyant move and Swindon could not handle them. The Blades swarmed around their opponents who kept giving it away and it was wave after wave of attacks now. It was total domination. Swindon simply could not get out as the midfield axis of Duffy, Coutts and Fleck continued to dominate the game with Done and Sharp willing workers and Laffety and Freeman surging down the flanks to support.

Sharp had a goal disallowed after a great cross from Duffy before the third came. Sharp was the architect down the left and sent over a lovely cross that cut out the whole defence and DUFFY was there to convert from close range.

Swindon had a rare chance when Delfouneso cut in and whipped a shot narrowly wide but this was one of the few times the visitors had even got in the United half!
 
The attacks kept coming and Done was denied by the legs of Vigouroux before Sharp had another shot blocked. Done was replaced by Lavery and the substitute linked well with Freeman before the cross was blocked. The fourth goal came when Ebanks Landell got down the right and put over a low cross that was converted by the substitute LAVERY. The contact was not the cleanest but it nested right in the corner giving him his first Blades goal.

He nearly had another soon after as more good work by Duffy saw him in but his shot was deflected over. United were running riot and Duffy then nutmegged his opponent drawing the ooos and aaaahhs from the crowd. Scougall and Clarke came on for the outstanding Duffy and Sharp before the end. More chances came with Lavery having a shot saved and then Clarke having an effort also saved; albeit offside in the additional four minutes of stoppage time.