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16:50 23rd February 2013

Bournemouth 0-1 Blades - report

Bournemouth 0-1 Blades - match report

Jamie Murphy's first half goal was enough to make it four wins on the bounce and dent the momentum of a promotion rival.

Murphy slotted home after 20 minutes to complete the double over Bournemouth.

However, it was a solid, organised display which paved the way for a third consecutive clean sheet.

Boss Wilson took the opportunity to name an unchanged squad after the impressive victory over Colchester a week earlier, whilst the home team included former Blade, Francis.

The Blades - playing in all white - began with Flynn and Murphy wide and Robson central in support of Kitson and the early signs were positive. Less than three minutes had elapsed when a neat, patient build up began with Collins and involved Maguire, Higginbotham, Flynn, Higginbotham again and Kitson's flick on before Robson's half-volley struck the top of the crossbar.

Bournemouth, however, displayed why they are also promotion hopefuls by hitting back with two good chances in the space of 60 seconds - all before the first ten minutes had been completed. After a Pitman run, Long was forced to push away a shot from Grabban and then, from a corner, Doyle, situated at the near post, blocked a powerful blast from Arter, which was heading for goal.

Higginbotham's header from Robson's free-kick was saved by goalkeeper Jalal but the Blades edged in front on 20 minutes. Kitson won a free-kick, which was delivered from the halfway line and after a significant slip by Painter, MURPHY picked up possession, saw his first shot rebound off a post but the Scotsman coolly slotted home at the second attempt.

Clever touches by Kitson and McDonald presented a chance for McMahon, but he fired over, whilst for the remainder of the half the Blades did a very efficient job in stifling Bournemouth and keeping the locals quiet.

Starting with Kitson in attack, the Blades worked hard out of possession to prevent the home side getting a view of Long's goal. The half ended with Murphy recovering from a knock and a little bit of ill-feeling on the pitch but the slender lead was intact.

Maguire began the second period like he did the first, by blasting the ball out of the ground to alleviate any potential danger but the United defender was pleased when Grabban failed to latch on to Pitman's cross on 51 minutes.

The unpleasantness from the first half continued when Pitman ran into Collins looking to get the Blades defender in trouble. Fortunately for United, the referee was ideally placed and saw what happened.

United's first offensive move of the second half came when McDonald burst forward but his deflected shot came just a little too quickly for Kitson. Bournemouth's constant barracking of the officials continued when O'Kane's cross hit Collins, but no penalty was forthcoming, although there were bookings for Robson, who spoke out of turn, and Doyle, who was pulling back McQuoid.

Bournemouth used all their allotted substitutions with more than 15 minutes remaining and with them chasing the game, expectedly, they made most of the running late on. With 78 minutes gone, Ritchie's cross was turned onto his own crossbar by Maguire but Long was well-placed.

Robson's last contribution, before being replaced by Poleon, was to set up a Blades move down the right. Murphy played across the box to Kitson and then Flynn, who slotted home, but Kitson was adjudged guilty of holding back Cook in the build-up.

Substitute Fraser was off target for Bournemouth before four added minutes were announced, in which, the Blades defended like the previous 90 - solidly and majestically.

Bournemouth: Jalal, Francis, Cook, Seaborne, Painter (McQuoid 45), Ritchie, Arter, O'Kane, Pugh, Grabban (Tubbs 73), Pitman (Fraser 68).
Unused: Allsop, Hughes, Fogden, MacDonald.

Blades: Long, Higginbotham, Maguire, Flynn, Doyle, McDonald, Kitson, Collins, Robson (Poleon 84), Murphy, McMahon.
Unused: Westlake, Hill, Ironside, McFadzean, Coyne, De Girolamo.