Blades faint play-off dreams over

Last updated : 04 May 2008 By Jamie Furniss
After signing a new three year contract, Kevin Blackwell's Blades fell to a defeat against the Saints. Stephen Quinn openend the scoring with Stead scoring the other. But goals from Saganowski and a double from Stern John ensured Southampton will play Championship football next season.

An early chance for Rob Hulse occurred in the opening stages of the game but his header was collected by Wright in goal. Billy Sharp was given a peach of a chance but a debatable offside was given against him.

A few tricky crosses by Southampton was cleared away by the Blades back four. Billy Sharp's floated cross was met by Stephen Quinn who could net his second goal in two games as the Blades were currently sitting in the top six.

Saganowski's effort was saved tremendously well by Paddy Kenny. After not playing well so far in the game, David Cotterill got substituted seven minutes before half time for Northern Ireland international Keith Gillespie.

Matt Kilgallon's effort looked to have doubled the Blades lead but it was somehow cleared off the Saints goaline.Southampton levelled with Saganowski after the ball took a massive deflection off Gary Speed which meant United currently slipped back down to 9th in the league table.

Referee Joslin blew for half time. Chances for both teams in the opening stages of the second period looked a certainty to be goals but somehow their wern't.

Stern John broke through the Blades defence and put the ball past Kenny in the Blades goal. In the process he was yellow carded for taking his shirt off in the celebration.

Billy Sharp got changed for pacey striker Luton Shelton. The Jamaican international nearly scored with his first touch aswell but he was offside. His effort went wide anyway.

Stern John was one and one with Kenny looked a certain to score but a tremendous tackle from Naysmith kept the scoreline down. Rob Hulse got replaced by Jon Stead as the former Sunderland man scored with his first touch.

Stephen Quinn played the ball into Stead wich meant he could score his first goal since the one against Manchester City.

The Saints responded as Stern John netted his second of the game and killed any faint chances of the Blades reaching the top six.

A professional foul on Derek Geary meant that John's delight was soon turned to anger. He was dissmissed after getting his second bookable offence of the game.

As Joslin blew his whistle for full time, the St.Mary's stadium pitch was invaded with red and white shirts after Southampton's survival in the Championship was confirmed. Hopefully next season Bramall Lane will be flooded with red and white shirts after the Blades clinching promotion to the promise land.