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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
14:15 3rd May 2015

Blades 1-1 Chesterfield - report

In the 46th and final league game of the Sky Bet League One season, the Blades recorded a draw with local rivals Chesterfield.


The point, thanks to Marc McNulty's 13th goal of the season, earned a play-off berth against Swindon Town.


More than 26,000 were inside the Lane to see United record a third consecutive 1-1 draw at the end of the regular season.


With play-off qualification already assured, chief Clough made five changes for the final regular season fixture. Murphy was rested, whilst Basham (knee) and Coutts (hamstring) were carrying minor problems and were not risked ahead of the play-off semi-final. McEveley returned to the starting line-up, as did McNulty, Scougall, Reed and captain Doyle.


All sides of the Lane were vociferous at kick-off and the vibe was passed onto the players in a high-energy start, although the better chances fell to the Blades. Runs from Adams and Scougall earned corners in the first ten minutes, whilst Lee was forced to punch out a deflected effort from Adams - the rebound almost dropped for Scougall.


On 20 minutes, United went very close, thanks to Scougall and McNulty linking up but the latter's curling shot was turned around the left post by Lee's outstretched hand. Chesterfield's first effort came from a short free-kick routine but O'Shea was well off target. A slip from McEveley then saw O'Shea handed another shooting chance on 26 minutes but he fired straight at Howard.


Chesterfield appeared to have weathered the early Blades storm but they were hit by a blast on 34 minutes. A quick free-kick saw Brayford's long-ranger weak but, on the edge of the box, the ball was controlled and smashed into the net by McNULTY before goalkeeper Lee could react.


The remainder of the half saw United's disciplined defensive unit on their mettle as goalkeeper Howard was not tested, despite the visitors enjoying plenty of possession.


Chesterfield, however, made a bright start to the second period and were rewarded with an early goal. A corner on the left was only half cleared and from a Jones delivery, EVATT stayed forward and headed across Howard, into the bottom corner.


The start to the second half was frantic. A break by Roberts saw O'Shea cut inside Freeman and force a save out of Howard, whilst a minute later Lee, out of his goal, headed weakly to Scougall but the immediate return from the midfielder was blocked.


Harris was booked for a foul on Gardner as Chesterfield's pressure continued but the subsequent free-kick from Roberts flew over the crossbar.


Just before hour, homegrown Calvert-Lewin was introduced for a home debut, replacing Doyle as the Blades changed formation. McNulty couldn't get any power in a header from a deflected Reed cross, whilst Flynn took over from Scougall.


Chesterfield had a great chance to take the lead on 74 minutes when Morsy clipped a ball over the top of the defence and Clucas was ready to fire at Howard on the half-volley when McEveley slid in and made a vital block. Soon after, Roberts fired across goal and wide.


Steven Davies replaced the injured Reed in the final ten minutes and partnered Calvert-Lewin, with McNulty moving out wide. Calvert-Lewin had a shot blocked late on, whilst there was a late scare on 89 minutes when McEveley's back header was short but although Gnanduillet nipped in before Howard, his effort was comfortably cleared by Howard.


As four minutes of added time was announced Clucas headed over and Chesterfield had a corner but the Blades defended well and held on for a point and fifth place, held since February.


Blades: Howard, Harris, Brayford, Doyle (Calvert-Lewin 59), Scougall (Scougall 69), Baxter, McNulty, McEveley, Reed (S. Davies 83), Freeman, Adams.
Unused: Alcock, Willis, B. Davies, Holt.


Chesterfield: Lee, Darikwa, Jones, Hird, Morsy, Gardner (Ariyibi 73), Ryan, O'Shea (Gnanduillet 86), Roberts, Clucas, Evatt.
Unused: Carter, Humphreys, Raglan, Harrison, Banks.