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14:15 4th April 2015

Barnsley 0-2 Blades - report

A total of 5,322 Blades fans - the biggest away following of the campaign - enjoyed the thoroughly deserved victory at Barnsley on Saturday.

Steven Davies scored his first United goal with a towering header and Jason Holt added his third in as many games as Barnsley's nine-match unbeaten run - including draws with the top two in the division - was ended.

The clean sheet was deserved and the Blades players received a tremendous ovation as they left the Oakwell pitch.

Barnsley-born defender Kennedy returned to United's starting line-up for the Easter Saturday derby. His inclusion, for Baxter, who dropped to the bench, saw Basham revert to a midfield role. Scougall and McEveley returned to the bench.

Skipper Brayford encouraged noise from the away following before kick-off and the fans duly obliged early on. The first chance, strangely, was a header from one of the smallest men on the pitch and Holt met Flynn's cross neatly but goalkeeper Wildsmith was well placed.

Barnsley's efforts in the opening 20 minutes were restricted to outside the box. Hourihane's free-kick hit the wall, whilst the follow up from Pearson was blocked. Following a move from right to left, Scowen fired wide, this time at the near post.

United's first corner, from Coutts, caused Barnsley problems. Following a melee, Holt's shot was almost deflected in by Murphy, who appeared to be bundled over in the next phase but referee Madley had not taken up a good position.

In a scrappy, even first half the better of the opportunities were coming as a result of deliveries from Harris. His deep cross on 25 minutes saw Davies peel off his marker but his header clipped the top of the crossbar and then another ball from the left-back saw Basham look favourite to score but his clip was deflected wide by Cranie.

John was the next to clear as Barnsley were put under pressure, he kept out Flynn's shot following a run down the left channel by Davies, who was heavily involved moments later as the pressure told.

On 42 minutes, after a coming together of both sets of players was diffused by the referee, Freeman whipped in a free-kick and DAVIES towered above everyone and planted an unstoppable header over Wildsmith and into the top corner. Davies celebrated his first Blades goal by running the length of the field to enjoy the moment with the travelling fans.

A second almost followed when Kennedy met a Coutts corner but John cleared off the line at the back post and right on the stroke of half-time, Barnsley had a half-chance to level but Hourihane's shot was deflected over by Freeman.

Within 20 seconds of the restart, Flynn shot wide for the Blades, whilst it soon became clear that Davies was struggling and he was replaced by ex-Tyke Done on 54 minutes.

Barnsley won a couple of corners and kept possession in midfield but United also looked a threat on the break. Brayford picked up the game's first booking for foul on Scowen but the Blades went close from the resulting collect and delivery by Howard, the subsequent free-kick from Harris was at the wall, though.

The home side made a double change but within a minute they were further behind. From a Harris throw, Basham flicked on and after the Tykes half-cleared, HOLT was waiting on the edge of the box to fire back an unstoppable volley into the bottom corner. He also headed to celebrate with the Blades fans but was booked for his displaying his joy.

United's second goal silenced three sides of Oakwell and the home players offered very little in terms of attacking threat. The Blades kept the ball well and nullified any potential threat well away from Howard's goal.

Scougall returned to first team action for the last few minutes, replacing Holt, and Doyle took over from Flynn. Four minutes of added time saw the Blades keep possession professionally and there were no dangers in the final moments before United left Oakwell with three points firmly in the bag.

Barnsley: Wildsmith, John, Nyatanga, Cranie, Scowen, Hourihane (Jennings 70), Winnall, Stewart (Smith 70), Ibehre (Hemmings 76), Holgate, Pearson.
Unused: Berry, Dibble, Cowgill, Bailey.

Blades: Howard, Harris, Brayford, Basham, Flynn (Doyle 89), Murphy, Coutts, Freeman, Kennedy, S. Davies (Done 54), Holt (Scougall 88).
Unused: Baxter, McNulty, Turner, McEveley.