For the second season running, Kevin Blackwell's Blades fell at the first hurdle in the League Cup when goals from James Brown and Adam Boyd sent United rolling out of the competition. 640 Unitedites made the trip to Teeside, only to witness such an abject performance from the majority of Blades players.
Unusually, the likes of Chris Morgan and Nick Montgomery just weren't up to it, and the Blades' disillusioned display only saw two shots on goal ALL GAME. Rob Kozluk, who is simply a poor excuse of a right-back, didn't exactly pull up any trees at Victoria Park, neither did his fellow full-back, Andy Taylor.
Mark Yeates' constant wayward crosses didn't cover him in glory, and the two youngsters, Chappell and James, didn't take the most of their opportunities. Richard Cresswell was pretty anonymous in front of goal, so it was the substitutes which really looked up to the task, oh, and Steve Simonsen, Leon Britton and Johnny Ertl.
Jamie Ward showed glimpses of trickery, Stephen Quinn's work ethic was unquestionable, and Kyle Bartley, United's new centre-back, was thrown in up top and had the Blades' ONLY two shots at Scott Flinders.
Pools took the lead on six minutes when Steve Simonsen parried Gamble's thunderous shot straight to the unmarked James Brown who only just got the ball past the Blades 'keeper.
Boyd's second-half penalty sealed the First Round win for Chris Turner's men. Rob Kozluk naively pushed Sweeney in the back, and Boyd did the rest.
Kevin Blackwell claimed that he used plenty of 'fringe players', but the worrying thing is, seven or eight of those players who started are in line for a start against QPR this Saturday. A poor performance against Warnock and Kenny will only merit moans and groans around Bramall Lane. God forbid a derisory showing this weekend. The final score from Victoria Park, is, Hartlepool United 2:0 Sheffield United.
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