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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:40 18th April 2014

Blades 1-0 Stevenage - report

An own goal decided United's first game following the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.


At Bramall Lane on Good Friday, John Mousinho turned in Jamie Murphy's cross to secured United's win against bottom club, Stevenage.


The victory also stretched the unbeaten home run to four games.


Boss Nigel Clough named an unchanged starting XI for the clash with Stevenage, the only change was on the bench where Paynter returned at the expense of McGinn.


The Blades chief did, however, switch the positions of Baxter and Murphy, the latter operating as the central striker, and both were prominent in the early moments. Scougall and Murphy almost linked up to put Coady in but Day was quickly off his line and then Baxter's long-range effort on eight minutes was parried away by the visiting goalkeeper.


The Blades were soon ahead, though. The watch was ticking around to ten minutes when Murphy beat his marker on the left and his low, powerful cross was turned into his own goal by defender MOUSINHO.


Most of the first half was played in Stevenage's half, with plenty of set pieces causing problems for the home defence. Scougall and Murphy were constant threats and Blades fans thought a penalty should have been awarded when the latter was nudged off the ball by Jones
.
Stevenage's only two noteworthy chances of the half both arrived in the same move but Zoko and Freeman both fluffed their lines.


At the start of the second half Doyle was booked for stopping Heslop's run but the Blades were soon back on the offensive and after a neat passing move, involving the skipper, Scougall's shot was blocked.


Just before the hour mark United lost Harris through injury, Hill taking over, whilst Stevenage went close twice in the space of a minute. Firstly Brayford's short backpass let in Freeman but Howard came to the rescue and then, from the resulting corner, a back post header from Jones was kicked off the line by Baxter.


Paynter replaced Baxter in the last 20 minutes and he battled, despite taking a blow to the face moments after coming on. Davies was the final change, with Scougall given a break.


Freeman's run ended with him shooting at Howard in the final ten minutes and then a powerful Akins shot looked goalbound but was blocked by Brayford as the relegation-threatened visitors searched for an equaliser.


Five minutes of added time signalled gave Stevenage hope and they had one final chance to level the scores but Freeman's effort was deflected over and the resulting corner was wasted - before the final whistle ensured another victory.


Blades: Howard, Harris (Hill 58), Brayford, Maguire, Flynn, Doyle, Baxter (Paynter 71, Collins, Coady, Scougall (Davies 81), Murphy.
Unused: Porter, Long, Freeman, Kennedy.


Stevenage: Day, Ashton (Jones 23), Mousinho, Akins (Gordon 85), Zoko, Heslop, Freeman, Smith, Obeng, Hartley, Henderson (N'Guessan 45).
Unused: Wedgbury, Burrow, Doughty, Goodliffe.