Mansfield Town 1:0 Sheffield United
The World Cup is almost complete. Football fans are beginning to turn their attentions closer to home now their domestic clubs are back in action. Blades fans got the chance to see their stars (and the odd triallist and academy player here and there) back on turf this afternoon.
New signings Daniel Bogdanovic, Leon Britton, Johnny Ertl, Steve Simonsen and Simon Walton all donned the red and white stripes for the first time in an excusable loss to David Holdsworth's Mansfield Town.
The starting line-up featured a few unfamiliar faces; Murillo, Williams and Berios all on trial. Trying to impress in the second-half were Vandelannoite, Edjenguele and Berios again. Kevin Blackwell made 10 changes at the interval; Berios the only survivor.
The game was, I'm sure all 826 Unitedites who made the short trip to Nottinghamshire would agree, drab. Mansfield looked the sharpest and more eager, and they came away with the spoils with a goal from Briscoe in the second-half. Brisoce, from close-range, slotted the ball past Aksalu with ease in the Blades goal.
The Stags found it difficult to break their pre-season duck in the first-half, though. As did the Blades, funnily enough. Steve Simonsen, airing the brand new PURPLE goalkeeper kit, pulled off a few fines saves. Notably, he impressively saved in a one-on-one situation.
In the same half, Ched Evans and Daniel Bogdanovic, who did nothing for the rest of the half, combined well on a sweet counter-attack. Evans' volley at Marriot in the Mansfield goal was saved. Simon Walton had to be replaced with half an hour elapsing - he was eventually stretchered off at half-time. It didn't look that too serious.
The Mansfield keeper produced two fine saves in the second-half; both fingertips over the crossbar from Cresswell and then Foster. United probably should have had a penalty when M. Boulding quite blatantly handled in the penalty area. In the dying embers, United struck the Stags goalkeeper's far-post with a hopeful cross.
Overall, despite the loss, the fixture was all about getting players fit and match practice, as well as coming through unscathed. Simon Walton, though, was a casualty. The atmosphere generated by the Blades fans, especially those in one corner, was very impressive for a pre-season friendly.
It was reassuring to see Gary Speed on the touchlines amid the Swansea managerial hotseat speculation, however, Stephen Quinn and Darius Henderson weren't present. Jamie Ward did travel to Field Mill but played no part, despite having several shots at an empty goal before the game got underway. Richard Cresswell was running on empty, Kyel Reid looked promising and Morgs and Monty were as you'd expect. It was difficult to put names to faces with the triallists, but it's safe to say that there weren't too many outstanding impressions (I know that isn't much help for those who didn't attened, so my apologies). The final score from Field Mill, is, Mansfield Town 1:0 Sheffield United.
First half: Simonsen, Murillo, Williams, Berios, Morgan, Chappell, Montgomery, Walton, Yeates, Evans, Bogdanovic.
Second half: Aksalu, Vandelannoite, Edjenguele, Berios, Taylor, Lowton, Ertl, Britton, Reid, Foster, Cresswell.
Unused: Roe, Brown.
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