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Sheffield United 2013

The Sheffield Utd 2013 game was our first at Bramall Lane for 5 years, with the return fixture taking place on a Friday evening in early May. The stage was set for a fantastic game of football and the two teams did not disappoint. The match was a thrilling encounter in which both teams played some great attacking football but also defended resiliently at times. The match ended in 2-2 draw, a suitable outcome to a game that was very evenly matched throughout.

Date: Friday 10th May 2013
Venue: Brammal Lane
Sheffield Utd Home vs Sheffield Utd Away
Kick Off: 7:00pm
Legends: Tony Currie, Mark Todd, Carl Bradshaw Ted Hemsley, Len Badger, David Holdsworth
Match Officials: Robin Raymond, Adam Burgess, Mick Firth and Adrian Holmes

It was the Away team who got the match underway, wearing the Black Away strip whilst the Home team wore the well-known red and white stripes. From the very start there was a high tempo to the game and it was not long before we had the first shot on goal, a long distance strike from Away team No 10, Sheldon Kaye that sailed over the bar.

The Away team had settled into the match quickly and were getting forward more often than the Home side. The Away team soon had their first shot on target after No 6 Adrian Landers used his strength to beat two defenders on the edge of the box and the ball broke to No 11 Andrew Harland who got his shot away, but it was straight at Home GK David Leggett.

The Away Captain Adrian Landers was celebrating his 10th year supporting Football Aid, and was doing so in style, dictating much of the play in Midfield with his wide range of passing. More great work from Landers down the right wing allowed him to cut inside and hit a shot but it was well held by Leggett once again. The Home side showed their first signs of attacking flair when No 4 Billy Eckersley made a good run down the right wing and hit a good cross into the box but the Away team defence did well to clear.

The pace of the Away team centre forwards allowed them to attack with more purpose than the Home team and Harland was sent clear on goal before having his shot blocked after cutting inside. The Home side were not being dominated though but their promising midfield play was too often breaking down as they tried to get forward: No 2 Simon Kay found himself in space when he overlapped down the right wing but he waited too long to make his pass and the move broke down.

The first attempt on goal from the Home side came when No 11 Mark Swift lived up to his name, beating the Away defenders for pace to latch on to a lofted pass, but the GK was off his line very quickly to smother his shot. Both sides were moving the ball around well but the defences were very much on top at this point in the game and seemed to be one step ahead of the opposing team’s forwards at all times.

The opening came from a classic counter attack as the Away team were putting lots of pressure on the Home defence and a dangerous cross was punched clear by Leggett. This sent the Home team quickly down the other end where No 7 Dan Johnson was played in on the overlap and finished coolly from an angle into the far corner to put his side ahead on 37 mins (1-0).

There was still time left for the Away side to create a few chances to equalise. No 17 Rich Duffy’s first time shot from 10 yards stung the palms of Leggett, before some great footwork on the edge of the box by Duffy set up Harland, but his low drive from distance was well wide.
One team certainly went in at half time happier than the other; the Home team had created few chances but had been more clinical, whilst the finishing from the Away team had not been quite good enough to beat the impressive Leggett in goal.

Half Time: Sheffield Utd Home 1-0 Sheffield Utd Away

The second half started off with a bang and it was end to end football from the first minute. The second half would continue in this vein for some time, a good turn from Dean Thorpe on the edge of the box led to the first chance of the half and it was pushed behind for a corner which came to nothing.

Both teams were being noticeably more direct in their play and the ball was being shifted very quickly from GK to centre forward. The Home team were piling on the pressure with plenty of balls into the box and shots from distance leading to a string of corners. This was how they got their second goal in the 55th min. A corner was played short to the legend Carl Bradshaw, and no one was able to close him down quickly enough and his looping effort deflected off the head of a defender and over the diving Taylor in goal (2-0).

This instilled a sense of urgency in the Away team and straight Away they tried to find a way back into the match. They were pressing high and challenging for every ball and the chances started coming thick and fast. Andrew Harland did well to beat his man down the right flank and made the right decision to lay it off to a team mate but the finish was just wide.

The Home side were pinned back and not committing numbers forward on the counter attack but that didn’t stop Swift going on a wonderful solo run from the halfway line, beating everyone then blazing over. Sheldon Kaye, then did the same at the other end, beating everyone before squaring the ball to Duffy who couldn’t quite control the finish.

Having piled on the pressure for 10 mins, the Away side finally got themselves on the score sheet after 73 mins. The ball pinballed around inside the box for a bit, after various shots hit defenders and it was eventually squeezed in at the near post by their legend David Holdsworth (2-1).

The pressure from the Away side was maintained as they pushed for an equalising goal and Holdsworth went in search of a brace as he hit a powerful long range shot on the volley, but Leggett got down well to save it. Holdsworth’s second goal did come though after a perfectly placed cross by Harland was met with force by David Holdsworth and it flew into the back of the net to level the scores at 2-2 on 82 mins.

With the scores level and the final whistle approaching fast, both sides went in search of a final goal to win them the game. A lofted pass through to Jason Guy was controlled well by the big No 17; he then cut inside and went for goal however his curling finish was denied by the fingertips of Taylor. The game became very stretched during this period, with some players understandably showing signs of fatigue. However there was still time for one last chance for the Away team, a long sweeping pass found Andy Harland, however the usually deadly No 11 missed his chance for glory after GK David Legget snatched the ball from his feet.

Both teams created enough chances to score 7 goals apiece and it was testament to the very assured Goalkeeping displays and the great efforts of both defences that the score finished only 2-2. An exhausting, yet exciting game for all those involved as the quality of the football on show never wavered despite the tiring nature of the match.

Full-Time: Sheffield United Home 2 - 2 Sheffield United Away

Man of the Match Home: David Leggett
Man of the Match Away: Maurice Lawson
Moment of the Match: Adrian Landers

Home Team: David Leggett, Simon Kay, Carl Bradshaw, Dean Thorpe, Robert Thorpe, Gavin Peace, Dan Johnson, Simon Peace, Adam Swinney (C), David Thorpe, Mark Swift, Craig Mellon, Robert Thorpe, Michael Ingham, Jason Guy
Home Manager: Tony Currie & Mark Todd
Home Mascot: Matthew Leggett, James Peace

Away Team: Nathan Taylor, Steve Gregory, David Holdsworth, Billy Eckersley, Mark Feehan , Adrian Landers (C), Maurice Lawson, Rich Duffy, Mark Clyne, Sheldon Kaye, Andrew Harland, Adrian Landers, Kevin Banks, Adam Samuels, Rich Duffy 
Away Managers: Ted Hemsley & Len Badger
Away Mascot: Alfie Landers