Greg's stunner spurs Blades on to vital victory

Last updated : 06 April 2009 By BladesMadeditor @ Bramall Lane
The players celebrate Greg Halford's cracking opener
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The Blades who are attempting to grab an automatic promotion spot faced an Ipswich team who need to win all but every game to keep their play-off hopes alive, but the Blades' victory will have put a massive dent into their wishes.

Greg Halford put the red and white wizards in front when his exquisite dipping effort from 25 yards out landed in the back of the net 19 minutes in. Darius Henderson who netted a brace in the previous home game was on the score-sheet again when his looping header at the back post nestled into the far-bottom corner 8 minutes later. A not so entertaining second half followed.

Kevin Blackwell opted to make one change to the side which thrashed Cardiff last week. John-Joe O'Toole had to settle for a place on the bench after picking up a minor injury on international duty. Jamie Ward replaced the on loan Hornet. Ipswich began the game with United old boys Jon Stead and Alan Quinn, Giovani Dos Santos remained at Tottenham who are still checking on his fitness.

Bramall Lane was drenched in sunlight at the start of the intriguing match in front of ITV's cameras. Greg Halford attempted two long testing throws towards Town's penalty area but both were cleared. Naysmith was in the referees' book early on into the starting quarters when he felled David Norris on the edge of the Blades' penalty area. Ipswich's Quinn blasted high, wide and not at all hansom from the resulting free-kick.

Morgan's header flew just wide but the 25,000 Unitedites weren't too alarmed when the deadlock was broken shortly after. Cotterill and Naysmith held the ball up at the corner flag and rolled it off to Greg Halford who was situated 25 yards out from goal. He lashed at goal to see the ball fly into the base of the net seeing Richard Right in the Ipswich goal have no chance. He sped off in delight and celebrated his seventh strike of the campaign.

United proved to be more of an attacking force when they scored the opening goal. They began surges in the Tractor Boys' half which made their defence look a tad shaky.

Darius Henderson doubles United's lead
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Kyle Naughton drifted a ball towards the back post 8 minutes after United went into the lead, and only to be waiting there was Darius Henderson who pounced to intelligently nod in his third goal in the space of two home games.

Halford provided his long dangerous throw into the box again and the Blades nearly struck for the third time in the game. The smallest player on the pitch, Jamie Ward, leapt to head towards goal and the ball which looked to drift wide suddenly curled in towards goal and struck the outside of the post.

Cotterill's testing cross went through everyone and the ball was destined for the back of the net but Wright parried away to prevent a third. United continued to mount the pressure on Jim Magilton's Ipswich when from S. Quinn's corner, Kilgallon headed over.

Paddy Kenny almost cost his team when he dropped a clanger. Lisbie's cross would have been cleared by a defender but Kenny raced off his line to unconvincingly punch away straight into the path of Owen Garvan. But the midfielder struck the side netting.

Ipswich were aloud to slip into the danger area again where A. Quinn had an effort on goal but it was easily palmed to his chest by Kenny. Funnily, the travelling Ipswich fans sarcastically jumped up and down, probably to show their frustration on the Tractor Boys' attempts on goal.

Half-time came with neither managers making a change. Jamie Ward was straight into the thick of things but he scuffed a good opportunity wide and Cotterill then looped the ball directly to the keeper a few minutes after. Darius Henderson's effort didn't trouble the former Arsenal shot-stopper either.

Former Blade Jon Stead received a standing ovation from the home supporters when he was replaced by Pablo Counago. David Norris also made way. 65 minutes in, Ward had another chance to increase United's lead, but failed to do so when he scraped wide once again.

David Cotterill who had an impressive previous month was substituted with 20 minutes remaining. Craig Beattie swapped places with the Welshman.
Alex Bruce fell to ground in the area from an Alan Quinn free-kick but the referee had none of it. A. Quinn's brother Stephen made way for John-Joe O'Toole on the 75th minute mark.

Kenny and Kilgallon collided but Balkestein couldn't capitalise. Kilgallon came worse off and after receiving treatment on the pitch, he had to leave the field of play for a couple of minutes but soon returned and was called upon almost straight away when he had to clear an Ipswich cross.

He was shortly replaced by Leigh Bromby who took up his centre-back role. Ipswich and United both enjoyed some midfield possession which meant no goalmouth action occurred in the following few minutes.

Bramall Lane was infuriated when the fourth official indicated 5 minutes added time. Kenny who worryingly punched the ball away from a cross in the 1st half made amends when he tipped away Balkestein's dipping header.

Montgomery sent Henderson through on goal but he threaded the ball down low straight into the keepers hands from a tight angle. Very little occurred afterwards which led to the referees full-time whistle. Sheffield United capitalised on Reading's draw at Coventry and move up level on points with the Royals whom currently lie in 3rd place. Unitedites alike will be keeping a close eye on the result from St Andrews on Monday night where Birmingham entertain Wolves. And afterall, the Manager of the Month award 'curse' luckily doesn't seem to have struck. The final score from Bramall Lane is Sheffield United 2:0 Ipswich Town.