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17:00 28th February 2015

Crawley 1-1 Blades - report

The unbeaten run continues but the Blades had to come from behind to secure a point in Saturday's Sky Bet League One encounter.

The Blades were undoubtedly on top for large periods, but Crawley Town, following two successive victories, took a shock second half lead.

But after Matt Done was upended, Marc McNulty netted his 12th of the season from the penalty spot with 81 minutes gone to share the spoils.

For the trip to Sussex, boss Clough made just one change with Done taking over from McNulty, who dropped to the bench. Crawley were unchanged following a victory over Swindon Town in their last fixture.

United began with a strong challenge from McEveley and Flynn testing the home defence by cutting in from the right, but the early chances came from Crawley. McLeod's strike hit Kennedy and Pogba, from fully 30 yards, saw his blast tipped over the crossbar by Turner.

The home side also won six corners in the opening half hour but they could have been behind when Basham deflected a shot from Harris into the goal, the Crawley contingent applauding a linesman's offside flag.

Another Pogba shot was deflected wide but as the half wore on the Blades were getting on top, the passing and orchestration of Coutts a significant factor. United were dealt a blow on 34 minutes when Kennedy was forced to withdraw, replaced by Freeman, resulting in a switch for Basham to central defence.

However, for the remainder of the half the Blades were clearly on top and came mightily close to opening the score on 37 minutes. Flynn's pull-back saw Murphy's shot blocked by the goalkeeper and from the follow up, Doyle was denied by Wood's last-ditch challenge.

Freeman and Brayford were prominent as the Blades continued the first half momentum after the break, the latter's shot on 49 minutes was parried away by goalkeeper Price but Done was in an offside position as he picked up the rebound.

Harris, Freeman and Brayford all delivered into the box but Crawley repelled the threats and after a soft free-kick was awarded just after the hour, the home side played to their strengths to take the lead against the run of play. Wordsworth's inswinging set-piece into a crowded box was met by WOOD's glancing header.

The Blades were quickly back on the attack but two efforts from Flynn were unable to even up the scores and he was replaced soon afterwards by McNulty. A Coutts shot was blocked after linking up with McEveley but the leveller was just moments away.

With around ten minutes left, Turner's clearance was helped on by Doyle and as Done approached goal he was bundled over by Dickson. Penalty was the decision and although the defender was spared a red card, McNULTY converted the spot-kick.

Late on it was United putting the pressure on. From a break, on 87 minutes, Doyle laid into the path of Murphy but his effort was blocked by the head of Tomlin and from resulting corner Basham headed wide at the near post.

Five minutes of added time was announced but United were unable to take advantage of a corner and a Freeman cross and despite a magnificent performance which warranted more, the Blades were unable to register a victory to mark the passing of well-known fan, David 'Shred' Spencer.

Crawley: Price, Dickson, Bradley, Edwards (Ward 90), McLeod, Young, Fowler (Smith 57), Tomlin, Wordsworth, Pogba (Bawling 84), Wood.
Unused: Jenson, Morgan, Anderson, O'Connor.

Blades: Turner, Harris, Brayford, Basham, Flynn (McNulty 73), Doyle, Murphy, Done, Coutts, McEveley, Kennedy (Freeman 34).
Unused: Willis, Davies, Reed, Adams, Calvert-Lewin.