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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:40 24th February 2015

Rochdale 1-2 Blades - report

The Blades made it five unbeaten with three very important away points at Rochdale.


Marc McNulty netted his 11th of the season to give the Blades a first half lead and John Brayford added a second after the interval before Jack O'Connell gave Rochdale hope late on.


The announcement of the teams an hour before kick-off saw boss Clough name three changes with former Rochdale favourite Done amongst the substitutes, alongside homegrown teenager, Calvert-Lewin. Kennedy, Flynn and McNulty all started at Spotland, whilst for the home side former Blade Brandy made his debut.


There was a scare inside the opening ten seconds as Henderson charged down Turner's attempted clearance, whilst at the other end, also inside the first minute, McNulty's clip almost put Coutts in the clear.


Vincenti headed over from Rose's free-kick but United stung the home team with two bits of quality to take the lead on 21 minutes. Harris threaded a ball down the left channel, dissecting the defence for McNULTY to open his body to before beat Lillis with an early, accurate shot.


Harris and Doyle started a move which resulted in an overstretching Murphy firing wide on 28 minutes but Rochdale finished the half the stronger.


Henderson flicked on Rose's near post free-kick but Turner was well-placed to save and another set-piece from Rose was drilled across the box but Brayford kicked off the line.


Murphy was booked late in the first half but United took the narrow advantage into the break, whilst for the start of the second half former home favourite Done was introduced for goalscorer McNulty, who took a hefty whack in the first period.


The early chances after the break saw Noble-Lazarus fire wide and a 30-yard free-kick from Rose was deflected nicely for Turner. However, United's first second half chance brought a goal. On the left, a number of passes kept possession before Doyle turned out, laid off for BRAYFORD, who made up a couple of yards before shooting home from 25 yards, with the help of a lapse in concentration from goalkeeper Lillis.


A Done shot was deflected wide before Rochdale showed more attacking intent, with the aid of a couple of substitutions. They reduced the arrears on 74 minutes when, after a set-piece was half-cleared, Henderson's cross to the back post was headed home by the unmarked O'CONNELL.


Freeman and Reed were introduced for tired legs but Rochdale's chances were limited as United professionally played down the clock. Turner was well-placed to hold Bell's long-range effort and the remaining minutes - plus four added - were comfortably negotiated to make it six successive wins over Rochdale.


Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, Eastham, Vincenti (Bennett 68), Brandy (Bell 55), Hery, O'Connell, Rose, Logan (Noble-Lazarus 31), Kennedy, Henderson.
Unused: Tanser, Musangu, Allen, Bunney.


Blades: Turner, Harris, Brayford, Basham, Flynn (Freeman 71), Doyle, Murphy, McNulty (Done 45), Coutts (Reed 83), McEveley, Kennedy.
Unused: Willis, Davies, Adams, Calvert-Lewin.