Slack defending leads to third straight loss

Last updated : 24 October 2009 By BladesMadeditor @ Bramall Lane

1237737934_spt_ai_cardiffvsheffutd_05There were dark clouds hanging over Bramall Lane before today's game after a recent run of two defeats and only one win seven was extended to three consecutive losses and only a single victory in eight - Cardiff City ran riot through a torn Blades defence.

The strikers are doing their jobs - scoring goals. But it's the defence that is seriously allowing the Blades to let a top six place slip further away from their grasp. It was a frantic final five minutes in the first-half with four goals! The second saw three goals, two for Cardiff though! Stephen Quinn cruelly had a 95th minute equaliser disallowed for offside, which is debatable.

Ian Bennett was handed the position between the sticks as Mark Bunn's recent lapses meant he had to be content with a place on the bench. Little, Evans and Treacy were all also recalled. Henri Camara began his Blades career on the bench.

Andy Taylor was forced off with an injury just half-an-hour in. Jordan Stewart came on for the former Tranmere man. Turning our attentions to goal-mouth action, Jay Bothroyd saw his header which struck the back of Bennett's net ruled out for offside, but he didn't let it dishearten him when on the 41st minute mark he capitalised on a silly so-called clearance from Chris Morgan which hit the back of his own player, Kyle Walker, and fell to Bothroyd who was unmarked to dispatch past Ian Bennett. The flag was raised by the same linesman for a second time on the Cardiff striker but referee Kettle consulted his linesman who thought the ball had rebounded off a yellow shirt. The goal stood.

Cardiff's defending was then questioned when Darius Henderson was allowed through to strike the ball between Marshall's legs and into the far corner. The striker was then penalised in his own penalty area after showing what he can do in the opposition's. He tugged Jay Bothroyd, a scorer already of course, to the ground when a Bluebirds throw-in was launched into the box - the referee pointed the spot on 45+1 minutes. Peter Whittingham struck the ball cleanly into the centre of Bennett's goal to make it 1:2 to the Welshmen.

With 45+3 minutes elapsed, Ched Evans had a pop at goal with a powerful header which was parried by the goalkeeper straight to Henderson who could head past a flying Marshall to make it an incredible 2:2 at the interval - that's 4 goals in the space of 7 minutes!

United conceded at the very least three goals in three consecutive games when Hudson's flick-on found the striding Whittingham who got the better of Little at the back-post to power in his second and his side's third.

The Bludbirds made it four with a quite superb goal. United were pressing and gambled by flowing forward, thus leaving hardly no-one at the back. It was McCormack who passed to Chopra, then Chopra to Bothroyd and then the latter to Whittingham who converted his third of the clash.

David Cotterill was thrown into the fray when he replaced Little, and then shortly after Henri Camara made his Blades debut replacing Ched Evans. United grabbed a third in the third minute of injury time with James Harper's fine strike finding the right-hand corner of Marshall's goal - five minutes was to be played. United fans, those that were left after thousands had already left with the Blades trailing, thought they had snatched a dramatic equaliser when Walker's shot was unconvincingly parried by the 'keeper straight into the path of Quinn who seemingly slotted home the Red and White Wizards' fourth. The linesman, the same linesman who had his flag raised for offside for two Cardiff goals in the first-period, was the centre of attention again when he heart-wrenchingly chalked off the midfielder's equaliser. He (Quinn) was booked for ripping his shirt off in his celebration when he thought he had scored.

The performance was an improved one to the one which Unitedites were made to watch at Scunthorpe and Blackpool. On another day it could have been the Blades who were celebrating a 4:3 victory, but it wasn't to be. Poor defending dearly cost the Blades today, as well as not having the rub of the green. The final score from Bramall Lane is, Sheffield United 3:4 Cardiff City.

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