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17:50 26th December 2012

Blades 3-0 Scunthorpe - report

Bramall Lane's biggest crowd of the season so far saw the Blades overpower Scunthorpe United.

An early goal from Shaun Miller set up United's victory, which saw Dave Kitson and Nick Blackman add second half goals.

The Boxing Day success ensured the Blades maintained top spot in League One, but Miller and Neill Collins picked up injuries in difficult conditions.

Following the victory over Crawley, which confirmed the Blades as top at Christmas, boss Wilson named an unchanged starting line-up, although Cresswell returned to the bench at the expense of McFadzean.

Cautious was the key word early on as both sides attempted to come to terms with a heavy drizzle, which started just before kick-off, and it was Scunthorpe's Canavan who did not deal with the bounce of the ball on four minutes, leading to the first goal. MILLER took advantage, danced inside from the right, and beat goalkeeper Mildenhall with a low shot that skidded off the surface.

The next Scunthorpe player to misjudge the conditions was Ryan, as the Blades broke away from a corner, but this time Miller found Blackman, whose shot was saved by the visiting goalkeeper. The next chance was also from the home side and build-up play involving McDonald, Kitson and Miller, predominently, ended with Doyle's shot being blocked.

McMahon picked up the game's first booking, a foul of Barcham the result of misplaced passes from Doyle and McDonald, but the Blades remained on top with Flynn seeing a lot of the ball.

Scunthorpe's first opportunity, on 33 minutes, was very close to levelling the scores. From Ryan's cross, Mozika headed into the turf with the ball bouncing up against the crossbar and from the rebound Long pushed away Barcham's effort.

Referee Mr Sutton upset Unitedites twice in a matter of minutes before the half-time interval. Firstly he turned away penalty appeals when Ribeiro and Michael Collins double-teamed Flynn and then gave Scunthorpe a free-kick on the edge of the box when Maguire came out with the ball following a challenge with Mozika - fortunately, Newey's strike was straight at Long.

With both physios making multiple trips onto the field, the officials added three minutes to the end of the first half, but the extra period was uneventful, apart from Miller needing to be helped from the pitch after suffering a heavy knock late in the half, which resulted in the goalscorer being replaced by Cofie at the start of the second period.

The rain continued as the second half began but there were further problems as the Blades had to make another change on 50 minutes. Collins picked up a head injury following a clash with Mozika and was replaced by Williams, with Hill switching to a central defensive position. However, good news was just around the corner.

Canavan was penalised for ramming into Kitson and from the resulting free-kick, the Blades doubled the lead. From McMahon's curling delivery, KITSON got ahead of his marker and perfectly directed his header into the top corner.

Another Blades appeal for a penalty was turned away when Blackman's shot was saved by Mildenhall and hit Newey, whilst a couple of Scunthorpe efforts saw Duffy and Hawley shoot wide from distance.

However, at the third attempt a penalty was awarded, on 84 minutes. McDonald and Flynn combined beautifully in the corner which tempted Newey into a clumsy foul. BLACKMAN, as usual, took responsibility for the penalty in front of the Kop and sent the visiting goalkeeper the wrong way.

Kitson was given an ovation when he was replaced by Cresswell and the closing minutes were incident, although Cofie had a goalbound shot blocked. Little matter, the game was won and the Blades was deservedly applauded off at the final whistle.

Blades: Long, Maguire, Hill, Flynn, Doyle, Blackman, McDonald, Miller (Cofie 45), Kitson (Cresswell 86), N. Collins (Williams 50), McMahon.
Unused: Westlake, McAllister, Ironside, Coyne.

Scunthorpe: Mildenhall, Ribeiro, Reid, Ryan (Ellington 63), Mozika, Barcham, Canavan, Duffy (Kennedy 90), M. Collins, Newey, Hawley (Djezeri 78).
Unused: Slocombe, Grella, Gibbons, Godden.