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16:50 27th April 2013

Blades 0-0 Preston - report

Blades 0-0 Preston - match report

The Blades recorded a club record 21st clean sheet of the season in the final fixture of the regular campaign.

Saturday's 0-0 draw with Preston was the first goal-less encounter between the teams since 1906.

Both sides created a number of chances and George Long earned his clean sheet with one particularly impressive save from Jack King.

Teenage striker Ironside was handed his first start as temporary boss Morgan rotated his squad once again, in addition, Hill, Kitson and Murphy all returned to the starting line-up. Porter, Forte and Robson dropped to the bench and Higginbotham missed out through injury.

A slow start coincided with a heavy shower before the sun reappeared and Unitedites had to wait until 10 minutes had elapsed before the first chance. Ironside looked to have been fouled by Buchanan but the referee played on and McDonald's shot was well held by goalkeeper Rudd.

Collins was the first in the book, following a foul, and both Hill and Hayhurst sufficiently recovered from a nasty-looking clash of heads on 18 minutes. Westlake displayed his pace to halt a Preston breakaway soon after, timing his tackle well on Holmes.

Although for the remainder of the half United could argue they had seen more of the ball, chances were very limited, until the stroke of half-time. On 44 minutes, Maguire fired over a free-kick after Hill had been fouled by Hayhurst and then Collins headed wide a Westlake free-kick.

The Blades made a bright start to the second period and created two chances in the first five minutes. After Kitson had flicked on, McFadzean, operating from the right, raced forward but saw his shot blocked by the legs of the onrushing goalkeeper and then Ironside flicked a header over from Westlake's cross.

Preston then hit back with a series of efforts, Welsh and Foster failed to find the target but on 56 minutes, from Welsh's cross, King's header looked to be heading to the net but Long clawed the ball out.

Taking over from Kitson on the hour, it is fair to say Porter made an immediate impression - he took two minutes to force the ball into the net at the Kop end but a linesman spotted a handball and referee Rushton disallowed the goal and booked the substitute.

Robson replaced McFadzean, quickly followed by Whitehouse taking over from McDonald, but Preston accumulated a couple more chances, Holmes hit the top of the crossbar with a free-kick and Monakana fired over.

Ironside and Robson had efforts blocked, whilst Doyle's long-ranger was deflected before Rudd collected. In the final five minutes, Porter had the Kop on their feet but his effort from Murphy's cross was blocked, whilst Collins saw his late header from a free-kick punched off the line by Rudd.

In injury-time King was denied by Long, even though the whistle was blown for a foul by the Preston frontman, whilst the last chance fell to substitute Whitehouse, after a Robson run, but Foster managed to get in a vital block.

Blades: Long, Westlake, Maguire, Hill, Doyle, McDonald (Whitehouse 76), Kitson (Porter 60), Collins, Murphy, Ironside, McFadzean (Robson 71).
Unused: Forte, Chapell, Barry, Coyne.

Preston: Rudd, Keane (Procter 79), Huntington, Wroe, Holmes, Buchanan, Welsh, Mousinho, King, Hayhurst (Monakana 65), Wright (Foster 45).
Unused: Stuckmann, Cummins, Byrom, Garner.