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16:55 31st October 2015

Crewe 1-0 Blades - report

United's Halloween nightmare was defeat at Crewe on Saturday.

Despite an encouraging start, Ryan Colclough's second half goal earned Sky Bet League One's bottom club the points at Gresty Road.

Harris made his first appearance of the season after a groin injury as boss Adkins made four changes in total. Coutts, Flynn and Baxter all returned with Freeman, Campbell-Ryce, McGahey and Kieran Wallace dropping to the bench.

Early on, amongst the chances, it was clear that Flynn and captain Basham were part of the defence with Hammond and Coutts paired together in central midfield for the first time. Within a minute, a good opportunity saw Done's shot blocked by a combination of Nugent and goalkeeper Garratt.

An unmarked Baxter headed a Harris free-kick back across goal and then Adams scuffed wide after Sharp and Done linked up as United made a bright start. Just eight minutes had elapsed when the home side only half-cleared a corner and Harris sent back a 35-yard volley, which Garrett got his body behind.

Crewe's first opportunity, on ten minutes, saw a number of ricochets and tentative challenges ahead of Haber flashing a shot wide. United were quickly back on the offensive and Garratt had to push away a 30-yard effort from Baxter, whilst Collins headed just over a Harris corner on 20 minutes.

As the half progressed, United's chances dried up and the home side showed a little attacking intent themselves. Hammond was robbed by Colclough but shot wide and Haber, under pressure from Collins, headed wide a Guthrie cross.

Close to the break, Adams failed to find the target with two opportunities and following a breakaway down the right, Done, at full stretch, was unable to attach himself to Flynn's cross.

The start of the second half saw Basham block a Saunders effort before referee Graham turned away penalty appeals at both ends. Adams was booked when he fell in the box under a challenge from Turton, who was already on a yellow card, whilst there were no sanctions when Saunders went down in the area following a clash with Collins.

Howard was forced into a save from Colclough following a corner as Crewe threatened to get on top but the Blades hit back with chances. Hammond and Baxter, both from outside the box, stung the palms of goalkeeper Garratt.

However, the next opportunity was decisive and it was the home side who opened the scoring. A diagonal delivery from the right saw Basham win the initial header but the ball dropped to the unmarked COLCLOUGH to volley home from the edge of the box.

Soon after Jones curled a free-kick wide for the hosts and Adams fired over before Adkins introduced Sammon and Scougall.

As the final five minutes approached, Hammond arrived late in the box but headed wide a deep Harris cross, whilst a couple of corners put Crewe under pressure too.

In the final minute Flynn half-volleyed over and in added time a number of balls were pumped into the home box but the Crewe rearguard held on to collect the points - even when Garratt missed a Harris cross.

Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Guthrie, Ray, Nugent, Haber, Inman (Kingsley 82), Saunders (Atkinson 85), King, Jones, Colclough (Dalla Valle 90).
Unused: Cooper, Bingham, Wilson, Nizic.

Blades: Howard, Harris, Basham, Flynn, Coutts (Scougall 77), Sharp, Baxter, Done (Sammon 77), Collins, Adams, Hammond.
Unused: Freeman, Campbell-Ryce, Long, K Wallace, McGahey.