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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:50 14th February 2015

Bristol City 1-3 Blades - report

For the second time in a fortnight, the Blades beat the league leaders - this time it was Bristol City beaten on their own patch.


Matt Smith gave Bristol City the lead but on Valentine's Day, all the love was for Nigel Clough and co. thanks to three second half goals.


Matt Done got two (the first in amongst a melee) before Jamie Murphy ensured the points were heading to Sheffield.


Turner continued in goal for the Blades, Howard's name was not on the teamsheet when they were handed in to the referee at 2pm, obviously still suffering from a back complaint. Boss Clough made just one change with Kennedy starting and Campbell-Ryce dropping to the bench, which indicated a change in formation, which was confirmed shortly after kick-off, as it appeared to be a diamond shape in midfield - Basham part of the four.


The initial 20 minutes were end-to-end with the Blades holding their own but opportunities on both goals were severely limited. Flint attempted to attach himself to a back post cross from Elliott following a quick corner and McEveley, after scoring in midweek, tried his luck from distance again but was off target.


Clough was forced to introduce Holt for the injured Baxter on 24 minutes and soon after Coutts was the first in the referee's book, he brought down Freeman after Brayford's short pass. The next yellow card also went United's way, Basham feeling the wrath of the referee after a challenge on Bryan.


As the half progressed, the end to end-to-end action continued but the vital cross and finish arrived for the home side on 41 minutes. Freeman's delivery from the left took a deflection and dropped invitingly for SMITH to sidefoot past Turner from six yards.


United won another corner as half-time approached as the visitors sought an immediate response but the City defence held firm to protect their lead up until the break.


The start to the second half was entertaining with the sides exchanging chances in the opening five minutes, Emmanuel-Thomas for the home side and Murphy for the Blades, who also had half-hearted appeals for a penalty waved away when Done went over in the box.


Freeman's long-ranger was just wide before the Blades levelled with the next attack, albeit amid confusion on 54 minutes. The move began with Basham winning possession on the right, Brayford delivered a low cross and although Fielding saved from Holt, in a melee the ball was forced home from close range, DONE credited with the goal.


Doyle was booked soon after but then blocked a goalbound shot from Elliott, whilst Harris kicked off the line from Emmanuel-Thomas after a run from Bryan on 61 minutes.


The chances continued. A curler from Coutts was held by Fielding and Emmanuel-Thomas dragged a shot wide after Smith headed down a Williams free-kick.


The last 15 minutes, though, belonged to the Blades. There may have been confusion with the first but not the second. Harris slid a ball down the channel for Murphy, whose long cross was turned in at the near post by DONE.


And five minutes later, the second half turn around was complete. This time a strong challenge by Basham in midfield enabled MURPHY space to run at the exposed City defence and he cut inside Williams before giving Fielding the eye and beating him.


For the closing stages, Adams replaced Done and Basham blocked from Freeman as City poured forward looking to get back into the game. Six added minutes at the end of the 90 gave the home side hope but United defended well and Freeman was introduced as an added defensive unit.


But Turner and co. held firm and welcomed in the three points on a day when the division's top three all lost.


City: Fielding, Little (Wagstaff 80), Williams, Flint, K. Smith, Elliott (Agard 71), M. Smith, Emmanuel-Thomas, Freeman, Ayling, Bryan (Cunningham 77).
Unused: Saville, Richards, Pack, Tavernier.


Blades: Turner, Harris, Brayford, Basham, Doyle, Murphy, Baxter (Holt 24, Freeman 90), Done (Adams 82), Coutts, McEveley, Kennedy.
Unused: McNulty, Willis, Campbell-Ryce, Reed.