Blades Soft On Shrews

Sheffield United’s unbeaten run continued as they completed a league double over lowly Shrewsbury Town at Bramall Lane. First half goals from Billy Sharp and Stefan Scougall saw the Blades go into a two goal lead and despite Sharp missing a penalty and Louis Dodds goal back, United held on against 9 men Shrewsbury to take the three points. In truth, United should have been out of sight but poor finishing, good goalkeeping/defending kept the Shrews in the game. However, despite the frustration over the score line not being emphatic, the Blades will still be pleased to register another win and another commanding performance to go up to second in the league.

Manager Chris Wilder named an unchanged starting eleven but brought back Ramsdale and Chapman for Long and Whiteman on the bench. Shrewsbury were in a different kind of form from the side well beaten by the Blades earlier in the season and were confident of earning an upset.

United began on top and an early move almost saw Done in before Duffy soon after had a shot blocked by his own man Freeman. The home side were well top and it was no surprise when on eight minutes the Blades took the lead. Fleck played a superb through ball that dissected the defence and SHARP was in on goal on the angle. The Blades’ leading scorer took it on and drilled it low and hard past keeper Halstead into the far corner of the goal.

Soon after United were nearly caught cold but Leitch Smith was denied by a low save from Moore on the stretch. It was a warning that United would not have it all their own way.

Not long after Duffy limped off after seemingly pulling a muscle to be replaced by Scougall. Shrewsbury had not been in the game but Deegan had a shot off target and then Leitch Smith was in after a slip from the United defence but Moore made a smart save. Sharp shot wide and had an appeal for a spot kick turned down but soon after United did win a penalty. Done played a one two with Lafferty and the Burnley loanee was felled by O’Brien to lead to a spot kick. Referee Deadman decided the foul was serious enough to lead to a red card for the Shrewsbury player.

Sharp took the penalty but hit it too close to the keeper and Halstead pushed over the bar. Despite this wasted opportunity, it was not long before the advantage was doubled. Coutts corner came over and Freeman headed back into the box and SCOUGALL cleverly turned home.

It was total domination from United and Coutts and Sharp had chances soon after and then El Abd blocked Scougall after Lafferty played the ball back. Done then also had a chance as the home side looked to finish the game before the break. Just before the half time whistle Ogogo committed a wild tackle on Coutts and referee Deadman brandished an instant red card as the Blades midfielder lay in a heap.

The second half began with Coutts unable to return and O’Connell came on. Basham moved into midfield and United seemed to have Ebanks Landell at right back as Shrewsbury tried to repel the Blades with only 9 men. The visitors also opted to make a change with Ebanks Blake coming on for Leitch Smith and being the further man forward of the 9!

Sharp nearly got a third and then Done had an effort blocked as the home side attacked at will. A number of corners saw the ball bounce around but the third goal eluded United. Freeman then got a bad kick and had to leave the field replaced by Chapman as the Blades could afford to go with a very attacking line up. Done got a knock but gamely carried on. Somehow both Sharp and Scougall missed a cross that seemed certain to be converted and then Sharp also had another effort saved.

Shrewsbury had barely got into the United half and Chapman had another shot saved before Done also nearly got in again. It seemed that the third would come but to the surprise of the ground the next goal came from the visitors. A rare break saw Ebanks Blake down the left and his cross was smartly converted by DODDS who got in ahead of O’Connell.

Still despite this shock, United were soon back on the attack but missed more guilt edged chances. Done really should have scored but his effort was saved from the impressive Halstead who soon after also saved from Sharp’s header. Chapman really ought to have scored but somehow missed a header right in front of goal after good build up.

United were still having all the ball but as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes will have been conscious that they did not want to do anything silly so the possession became more cautious and controlled.
Sharp then hit the post with a header that came back hit Brown and tricked agonisingly wide of the goal.

Three minutes of additional time saw Shrewsbury have a half chance but the ball was blocked and after this the Blades saw out time fairly comfortably.