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Blades 2-2 Atromitos - report

PUBLISHED

21:35 26th July 2013

A last minute goal from Lyle Taylor earned the Blades a deserved draw with Europa League outfit Atromitos at Bramall Lane on Friday evening.


Against the Greek side, United opened the scoring through Chris Porter and created a number of chances before a double from Italian Stefano Napoleoni put Atromitos in the driving seat.


United, who wore the new 2013-14 kit for the first time, looked to be heading for defeat until the final moments when substitute Taylor forced the ball home on his home debut.


McGinn and Brandy got their first tastes of the Lane as home players, whilst Coady, McGinty and Taylor were all on the bench as David Weir also made his home debut as Blades chief.


The Unitedites that made the trip to the Lane could not have asked for a better start. Barely 90 seconds had elapsed when Brandy beat his marker on the right, pulling back for McDonald to float a cross to the back post where PORTER was waiting to direct the ball home.


In an encouraging start, Porter thought he had claimed a second on nine minutes but he was pulled up for offside after slotting home a spill by goalkeeper Sifakis from Murphy's shot.


However, Atromitos hit back and levelled with their first attack on 11 minutes, although they were aided by a mis-placed Maguire pass. Long parried a shot from Papadopoulos but NAPOLEONI slotted home the rebound. Long then prevented a second when Karagkounis pounced on another defensive mistake.


Sifakis was forced into another save, this time from McDonald's first-timer after a square ball from Westlake before the visitors grabbed the lead on 25 minutes. A stepover from NAPOLEONI paved the way for the Italian to cut in from the left to curl beyond Long's sprawling dive.


The visitors looked particularly comfortable on the ball but the Blades did put them under pressure and created a number of efforts before the interval. Doyle's shot from distance needed touching around a post by Sifakis, whilst a free header from Collins was off target.


Long was called upon early in the second half to save from Papadopoulos but the Blades again looked bright, Brandy particularly, and he was fouled on numerous occasions by the visitors. From one such free-kick, Murphy curled just wide of the angle of post and crossbar.


Weir and his Greek counterpart both made a number of substitutes in the second half and Atromitos came close to a third with an Umbides free-kick, whilst Kallergis also fired over.


In the final ten minutes a flick by Taylor excited the crowd and set Murphy free but he was unable to pick out an unmarked McFadzean and from the resulting corner, Maguire headed straight at replacement goalkeeper Barkas.


Late on there was little urgency for the Blades to draw level - the priority being fitness levels in the build up to the league campaign - but there was late drama as the Blades claimed a 90th minute leveller.


The fourth official had just indicated two minutes of added time when McMahon's deep cross was ushered back into the danger area by McGinty and TAYLOR forced the ball over the line.


Blades: Long, Westlake (McMahon 77), Williams (McGinty 61), Maguire, Doyle (Whitehouse 77), Porter (Taylor 71), McDonald (Flynn 77), McGinn (Coady 61), Collins (Hill 77), Brandy (McFadzean 71), Murphy.
Unused: Howard.


Atromitos: Sifakis, Papoutsogiannopoulos, Tavlaridis, Brito, Napoleoni, Karagkounis, Papadopoulos, Giannoulis, Dimoutsos, Lazaridis, Garcia.
Subs: Cenamo, Jamal, Georgiou, Nastos, Kallergis, Ballas, Iglesias, Karamanos, Umbides, Gromitsaris, Barkas, Fabio.
Att: 3,331