It was a spectacular strike shortly after half-time which won the game for Crewe and condemned the Blades to their second defeat in as many matches. The defeat means that United can now only finish fourth as their highest position but will rely on Swindon Town winning at Scunthorpe United who themselves need to win to stand any chance of stopping up.
Either way it’s all academically for Sheffield United now, regardless where they finish they will endure the Play-Offs once more with the hope that lady luck will finally fall in favour for the Blades. It’s with this in mind that shrewd tactician Chris Morgan made five changes to the team which lost 3-0 at Portsmouth at the weekend – choosing to rest key players.
Tony McMahon, Matt Hill, Jamie Murphy, Ryan Flynn and Dave Kitson were all rested in place of Harry Maguire, Darryl Westlake, Barry Robson, Callum McFadzean and Jonathan Forte in what was a experimental side
It was in the early exchanges of the match that United were the dominant and within five minutes had tested keeper Steve Phillips, Michael Doyle being denied following Robson’s free-kick. The hosts’ first attempt on goal came of the 15 minute mark but Bradden Inman’s effort flew into row z.
Alex enjoyed spells of possession but it was at the other end where the chances fell but what has been there failure throughout the season is converting these chances and this tolled as Phillips made two saves, firstly from McFadzean and secondly Chris Porter. On 39 minutes George Long was in the right place to deny Mark Ellis following a Harry Davis cross.
United made changes at the break with Murphy replacing Danny Higginbotham – McFadzean moved to left full-back to accommodate the new arrival. Three minutes into the second half Crewe got their goal when Aneke’s long range shot was enough to beat Long in the Blades goal; 1-0.
Joe Ironside was thrown into the ring, replacing Forte on 65 minutes but it was Porter who was the busiest of the United team, he saw his chance fly over the bar. They made further changes with Jordan Chapell replacing Robson for what looked a youthful side to finish the game.
Phillips was on top form and denied further advances from the Blades frontline, stopping Porter in added on time from scoring before the final whistle blew and the travelling 1,629 fans made the return to the Steel City.