Blades stake real claim for promotion

Last updated : 01 March 2009 By BladesMadeditor @ Bramall Lane
David Cotterill celebrates
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The red and white wizards edged past Birmingham City with two controversial goals. Danny Webber pounced onto Darius Henderson's flick to smash the ball into the roof of the net although their were a suspicion of offside. City equalized when David Murphy's cross was deflected into his own goal by Chris Morgan. In the latter stages of the 2nd half David Cotterill converted a penalty to record his first goal in a Blades shirt, which proved to be the decisive goal.

New on-loan recruit John-Joe O'Toole didn't get a place in the team although Darius Henderson, Nick Montgomery, Danny Webber and Matt Kilgallon all returned from their respective suspensions and injuries.

With the Blades kicking towards the Kop in the 1st half, Birmingham created the first real action of the half. Sinclair's chip was headed onto the crossbar by former Blade Marcus Bent. United tried to respond directly after but Webber couldn't control.

Montgomery's late lunge on Scott Sinclair meant he received a yellow card on the 17 minute mark. United were caught offside numerous times when they tried to lump the ball forward to search for an opener.

Bouazza shortly joined Montgomery in the referee's book for an unfair challenge on Quinn. A minute later, Cotterill's corner fell to Darius Henderson who's header was cleared off the line and then Webber's intervention was caught by Taylor in the same attack.

Henderson turned the defender to drill the ball down low towards goal but the effort proved no difficulty for the Blues' goalkeeper.

Danny Webber scores the opener
Image copyright to SportBox.TV
Henderson was involved again when he nodded down a Gary Naysmith cross - Webber charged towards the ball to volley past Taylor from close-range in front of the Kop. Their was a hint of offside but the goal stood.

Nothing major occurred in the remaining two minutes after Webber's strike so the Blades went in a goal to the good at the interval. The returning Darius Henderson had the first real effort at goal for either sides but he headed wide with not much competition for the ball around him. He had a similar chance after but couldn't convert.

With no notable chances happening since then until the midway point, Matt Kilgallon's header down was parried by Taylor into the path of Morgan but he steered the ball to the keepers legs who were in the right place at the right time.

Hameur Bouazza's header were trickling in but Kenny scrambled across his goal to collect the travelling ball. Craig Beattie made his home debut on 72 minutes when replacing Darius Henderson who arguably made an impact.

Not long after the substitution City scored an equalizer. Sinclair drilled a dangerous ball into the United box when Chris Morgan slid in attempting to clear his lines but the ball deflected off his leg and into the bottom corner.

Jamie Ward and Leigh Bromby whom were both cup-tied in midweek both replaced Danny Webber and Greg Halford respectively. Naughton who were allowed to push forward sent in a swurling ball towards Beattie in the area who was sandwiched between two City defenders and fell to the surface. Although neutrals describe it as a soft penalty, David Cotterill showed no nerves and nestled the ball into Taylor's left hand corner.

United should have had a penalty directly after when Jamie Ward was brought to ground by Lee Carsley just inside the box, although the referee had none of it. Surprisingly 5 minutes of added time were allowed despite their only being one stoppage which lasted around a minute. United kept the ball in the corners but in the latter stages of stoppage time, Birmingham launched the ball into the box but Morgan confidently headed away.

When referee L Mason blew for full-time, relief was around the whole of Bramall Lane (except the away area) as 24,000 Unitedites witnessed the Blades win for the first time this season on Sky Sports. And as the curse no longer continues, United, arguably, can now be looking at the top two instead of settling for a play-off place with all the top sides on a slide. The final score from Bramall Lane is Sheffield United 2:1 Birmingham City.