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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:15 17th November 2012

Blades 4-1 Stevenage - report

Shaun Miller netted his first league goals as the Blades returned to winning ways with an impressive performance.


Neill Collins opened the scoring and Chris Porter finished it as Stevenage, who started the game on the same points as the Blades, were overrun.


The victory ensures the Blades are now clear in second position, just two points behind Tranmere.


With regular full-backs McMahon and Hill ruled out with hamstring problems, Westlake and Miller were handed starts against Stevenage. New goalkeeper Coyne, signed on a month's contract, was on the bench and joined by McFadzean, Philliskirk and Cofie.


Westlake slotted in at right-back with Williams dropping to left-back, whilst further forward it appeared that Blackman was playing in a wide midfield role to allow Miller to partner Porter. The first two opportunities - both inside seven minutes - fell to captain Doyle but his first was over after Stevenage could only half-clear a Flynn free-kick and the second was wide from 25-yards.


McDonald produced a couple of neat touches early on and he was involved on 14 minutes when Porter latched on to a Westlake cross but the striker was unable to get enough purchase on his header. Long was forced into a close-range save from Morais from a deep Hills cross but within minutes United's impressive start was rewarded with a goal - made by the captain and scored by the vice-captain!


With 19 minutes elapsed, a short corner on the left ended with Doyle whipping in a cross and both Porter and COLLINS were unmarked at the back post before the latter headed across goalkeeper Arnold, the ball nestling in the corner of the net.


Blackman delivered a couple of nice corners as United saw a lot of the ball in the opening half hour, however, the only other chance, for the home side, before the break was when Doyle won possession and Miller worked himself a shooting opportunity but Arnold pushed away.


Stevenage did, however, have one last first half chance and managed to level the scores. From a Morais corner on the left, ROBERTS was afforded the space to head past Long and Williams, who did his utmost to keep it out on the goal-line.


The second half kicked off with a deflected shot from Morais and the Blades having to defend another corner, but the home side were quickly back on the offensive - unfortunately, a header from the unmarked Porter was straight at the visiting goalkeeper.


Wilson's team, though, regained the lead on 55 minutes, with another well-worked effort. Blackman's deep cross was intelligently headed back into the danger area by Flynn and although Porter was injured as he attempted to connect, MILLER forced the ball home at the back post.


Blackman came close to extending the lead after beating his marker but Arnold fingertipped over, whilst the Stevenage goalkeeper's opposite number, Long, had to be alert to punch away a cross which was destined for Haber.


The Blades did put some daylight between the teams on 70 minutes with a third goal. Williams enabled Flynn to cross and from Porter's header, Roberts failed to clear and MILLER stabbed home his second from close range.


As the game entered the final ten minutes the goalmouth action slowed, not that the Blades fans were complaining, although a Maguire header from Westlake's cross was saved by Arnold.


The scoring was not over, though, and United crowned the performance with a fourth with three minutes of normal time remaining. Flynn delivered a left-wing cross and PORTER used all his height to direct a header into the Kop goal, despite the efforts of Arnold.


Late on Cresswell and Cofie replaced Porter and Miller, both of whom received a standing ovation, and the Unitedites went home happy and in good spirits ahead of another home game on Tuesday evening - it would have been even better had Maguire's injury-time 40-yard gone in, rather than hit the crossbar!


Blades: Long, Westlake, Maguire, Flynn, Doyle, Porter (Cresswell 89), Blackman, McDonald, Miller (Cofie 89), Collins, Williams.
Unused: McAllister, Philliskirk, Ironside, McFadzean, Coyne.


Stevenage: Arnold, Gray, Hills, Charles, Tansey (Freeman 61), Dunne (Grant 72), Haber (Agyemang 72), Morais, Akins, Roberts, Risser.
Unused: Day, Comminges, N'Gala, Shroot.