Sheffield United 0:1 Leicester City
City plundered three points at Bramall Lane last night with a backs-to-the-wall display that was at times desperate, after Andy King has given them an early lead…
Sven made just one change to the side that outplayed Millwall with new loan signing Patrick van Aanholt replacing Bruno Berner at left back.
A healthy travelling contingent didn’t have long to wait to celebrate a goal when King gave City the lead after just four minutes,picking up a ball from Yakubu on the edge of the area and calmly lobbing Simonsen.
United responded positively and City found themselves pegged back for long periods, unable to get out of their own half. Montgomery was first to test Weale with a thumping drive that the keeper tipped over at full stretch. There then followed a series of corners that City couldn’t clear properly but the Blades were lacking confidence in front of goal and although they were putting City under pressure, they weren’t creating many chances.
On the half hour there was an incident that seemed to raise the temperature a little inside the ground when Mattock fell awkwardly in front of the City fans. As the City fans showed little sympathy to the on-loan full back, it became clear that he was seriously injured. The home fans in the adjacent stand voiced their anger at the unsympathetic City contingent (perhaps knowing little of the history of Mattock’s time in Leicester) as Mattock was stretchered off.
When the game resumed the atmosphere was very different and the home side responded and upped the tempo and they were unlucky not to level matters when a curling, Williamson free-kick came back off the post with Weale beaten and then the impressive Ben Mee blocked a goalbound Lowry shot.
The second half continued in the same vein. The expected improvement from City didn’t materialise and once again the match was played mostly in the visitor’s half. Bent blazed over when he should have hit the target and there was plenty of goal mouth action with Weale by far the busier keeper.
There was an unavoidable feeling amongst the travelling support that an equaliser was just around the corner, but it never came.
Sven replaced tired legs when Dyer and Abe were replaced with Gallagher and Oakley but the pattern of the game didn’t alter with City restricted to breakaway efforts and United having one last go at City as the minutes ticked away. Parrino thought he had equalised for Blades when his header beat Weale but Oakley was on the line to head clear and right at the death Ertl was the unlucky player as Weale produced a another superb fingertip save to tip over his snap shot following a corner.
Ironically it was City that had the last chance of the game when, late substitute, Waghorn crossed for Vassell who was unable to steer the ball in to a vacant goal and managed to lift his shot over. The final whistle brought huge relief to the City faithful who, in truth, cannot have enjoyed the performance they witnessed. City enjoyed some luck but they won’t care. What will be of more concern is the overall display and a complete failure to get the passing game going with passes continually going astray and possession given away in what was a poor performance. On the plus side, Ben Mee and Sol Bamba put in massive performances for City and Weale was faultless behind them.
Bramall Lane hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for City and a long list of injustice, bad breaks and poor refereeing decisions was wiped off tonight as City had all of the luck going for a change. After all, at the end of the season when we are totting up the points, it isn’t ‘how’ that matters it is ‘how many’.
Sheff Utd: Simonsen, Ertl, Mattock (Kozluk 33), Lowry, Parrino, Doyle (Yeates 70), Williamson, Montgomery, Bent (Bogdanovic 75), Cresswell, Evans. Subs Not Used: Quinn, Ward, Lowton, Long.
Leicester: Weale, Bamba, Naughton, Mee, Van Aanholt, King, Dyer (Gallagher 63), Abe (Oakley 70), Wellens, Yakubu (Waghorn 87), Vassell. Subs Not Used: Berner, Logan, Hobbs, Howard.
Referee: David Webb (Lancashire). Attendance: 20,464.