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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:50 10th October 2015

Blades 3-2 Rochdale - report

United leapfrogged Rochdale and moved back into the top six thanks to a hard-earned home victory.


Che Adams netted twice in the first half and Neill Collins claimed the winner as United made it seven successive victories over Rochdale.


Scougall, Done, Adams and McEveley were all handed starting berths with the latter also reclaiming the captain's armband. The personnel on show indicated changes in the formation and at kick-off it was confirmed that Basham was in defence, Scougall, Coutts and Baxter in midfield, with Done, Sharp and Adams making up a front three.


United created a chance in the first minute with Scougall and Sharp involved before Done, against his former club, raced from left to right ahead of shooting at goalkeeper Lillis.


For the visitors, McDermott dragged a shot wide after coming out of a challenge with Coutts and Done, whilst Mendez-Laing tried his luck from distance on two occasions.


But the Blades, despite lacking a little cohesion early on, were the dominant force. A move involving McEveley, Coutts and Sharp saw Scougall unable to force home Done's low cross, whilst Sharp charged down a Lillis kick but the goalkeeper recovered.


Collins headed over United's first corner but the opening goal arrived with 29 minutes gone. Baxter's precise pass found ADAMS in space on the left and the teenager slid the ball under the advancing Lillis.


The Blades were unable to turn the screw and Rochdale were forced into a change minutes before getting back on level terms on 37 minutes. There looked little danger but Mendez-Laing nicked the ball away before going over Done's leg away from goal and referee Langford pointed to the spot. Captain Vincenti took responsibility for the penalty and drilled home at the Kop end.


Rochdale, however, were level for just three minutes. ADAMS doubled his and United's tally with a neat finish but the architect was Sharp, who held the ball up, beat his marker and then delivered a perfect cross over the head of Rafferty ahead of the subsequent celebrations.


Scougall and Collins needed treatment in the first half, leading to six minutes of added time, but it was the visitors on the attack in the closing minutes before the half-time whistle.


Scougall and McEveley picked up knocks in the first half and didn't re-appear for the second. Kieran Wallace and McGahey were the replacements, meaning a return to midfield for Basham.


The Blades started the second half well and there were appeals for a penalty when Basham's shirt was clearly pulled by Vincenti from Coutts' cross, whilst Done challenged with goalkeeper Lillis from a Baxter through ball but Lancashire cleared up the danger.


Rochdale remained a threat. A tremendous challenge from Freeman prevented Mendez-Laing from getting a shot away, whilst Howard saved from Noble-Lazarus at the front post and Vincenti headed over a Rafferty cross.


The leveller, though, did arrive on 72 minutes. A free-kick was only half cleared and after Vincenti's shot on the turn was pushed into the air by Howard, ALESSANDRA forced home at the back post, despite the efforts of Wallace.


Again, Rochdale did not stay on level terms long. With the next attack the Blades regained the lead. Done's shot was deflected wide and from Baxter's corner, COLLINS forced the ball home at the near post.


A number of United's players were feeling the pace in the closing 15 minutes as the visitors looked for a third equaliser.


Done continued to work hard as he completed his first 90 minutes of the season and the Blades held out to collect three more valuable points and could have extended the advantage in the final minute of added time but Adams was denied a hat-trick by Lillis.


Blades: Howard, Freeman, Basham, Coutts (Reed, Sharp, Baxter, Done, Collins, Scougall (McGahey 45), McEveley (K Wallace 45), Adams.
Unused: Woolford, Sammon, Campbell-Ryce, Long.


Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, McNulty, Lancashire, Vincenti, Lund, Alessandra, McDermott (Noble-Lazarus 52), Mendez-Laing, Cannon (Allen 36), Kennedy (Tanser 69).
Unused: Eastham, Barry-Murphy, Musangu, Bunney.